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Colts Do a Rush Job in Victory Over Jets

September 10, 2001|From Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Peyton Manning couldn't wait to get into the NFL season. So he didn't even bother to huddle.

The Indianapolis Colts, using a hurry-up offense for much of Sunday's game, routed the New York Jets, 45-24. Manning wasn't at his sharpest, but he was plenty productive with 22 completions and two touchdowns, and Edgerrin James rushed for 135 yards.

"It really felt like we were setting the tempo out there offensively," said Manning, who threw for 231 yards. "We had a good rhythm going. We had a good plan offensively.

"I think it worked well as a change of pace. In the second half we sort of changed it to a controlled no-huddle. It could keep the Jets defense from regaining their composure."

Rarely were the Jets composed in the debut of Herman Edwards as coach. At times, they were comically inept and seemed to wilt in the 80-degree heat.

Most absurd was the play that clinched the Colt victory, a lumbering 95-yard fumble return by defensive end Chukie Nwokorie with 5:17 to go.

Guard David Loverne, playing fullback on fourth and one from the Indianapolis two-yard line, collided with Vinny Testaverde as the quarterback turned with the snap. The ball ricocheted directly to Nwokorie, and the only Jet who pursued him was Testaverde. Twice, Nwokorie eluded Testaverde as the rest of the Jets watched.

Another strange play came on Marvin Jones' first-half interception. Manning's pass into the end zone deflected off James' hands directly to the linebacker. He started up field with the interception, but fumbled the ball back to Manning at the New York 22.

The Colts, who won their final three games last season to steal a playoff berth from the Jets, put the game away with a 28-point second quarter.

James, the NFL's leading rusher the last two seasons, had touchdown runs of one and 29 yards, and Terrence Wilkins broke a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown with 20 seconds left in the first half.

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