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Colts' One Good Half in Victory Is Partly Pleasing

October 30, 2000|From Associated Press

Indianapolis Coach Jim Mora thought he'd seen all this before. A dominant first half, an unsatisfactory second half, and an opponent rallying late.

This time, though, the Colts staved off the rally and beat the Detroit Lions, 30-18, to gain a share of first place in the AFC East.

In Week 2, the Colts lost, 38-31, to the Oakland Raiders after leading, 21-0.

"I don't see this as Oakland revisited," Mora said. "That day I was the losing coach and today I'm the winning coach. But I sure thought about it when we were out there."

For 30 minutes, everything went right for the Colts (6-2) as they opened up a 23-0 lead.

Peyton Manning completed 16 passes and threw for three touchdowns, but he only completed six passes in the second half. Tight end Marcus Pollard had three first-quarter receptions for a career-high 74 yards and nothing else after that. And the defense allowed the Lions to gain yardage on only seven of their first 19 plays.

It looked easy.

"It was a disastrous first half," Lion Coach Bobby Ross said. "We just didn't do very much and our pass protection was very, very poor."

After Manning already had thrown touchdown passes to Marvin Harrison--who had nine catches for 109 yards--and Pollard, Colt defensive end Josh Williams sacked Charlie Batch for a safety to make the score 16-0 with 2:55 left in the half.

Then the Colts marched downfield for Manning's 12-yard touchdown pass to Ken Dilger for a 23-0 lead.

Detroit (5-3) finally moved into scoring position at the end of the first half, but Jason Hanson's 29-yard field goal attempt caromed off the right goal post then the left and missed.

"I don't know what the problem was. We did not have any intensity, we did not have any fire," said Detroit wide receiver Johnnie Morton, who caught one pass for seven yards. "At the half, the feeling was, 'We've got to stop this. This is embarrassing.' "

Six minutes after halftime, Mario Bates ran nine yards for a touchdown, and James Stewart ran in for the two-point conversion to make it 23-8. Detroit then recovered a fumble by Terrence Wilkins on the ensuing kickoff.

"The turnovers are unexcusable," Mora said. "You ain't going to win much when you turn it over. We were just fortunate today."

Four plays after the kickoff, Stewart fumbled at the Indianapolis 2. Later, the Lions again reached the Colts 2 but settled for a 21-yard field goal by Hanson.

"We had our chances," said Batch, who was 18 of 39 for 190 yards. "We should have scored 14 points in the third quarter. That's frustrating."

With under three minutes left, Batch connected with Herman Moore on a five-yard touchdown pass to make it 23-18, and four plays later the Lions had the ball back again.

But Batch threw an interception, leading to Edgerrin James' 24-yard touchdown run to seal the victory. James had 139 yards in 31 carries.

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