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INDIANAPOLIS 17, BUFFALO 14

James Caps Comeback

November 24, 2003|From Associated Press

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Edgerrin James carried the Indianapolis Colts' banged-up offense to a comeback victory.

James scored twice, including the winner on a fourth-down plunge from inside the one-yard line with 1 minute 38 seconds remaining, sparking the Colts to a 17-14 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Peyton Manning was credited with his 15th career fourth-quarter comeback, and second of the season. He completed 26 of 42 passes for 229 yards, 70 of them coming in the final 15 minutes in which the Colts overcame a 14-3 deficit.

The Colts (9-2) won with leading receiver Marvin Harrison playing little because of a hamstring injury. And they were without backup receivers Troy Walters and Brandon Stokley, and starting tight end Marcus Pollard, because of injuries.

James, who also scored on a 14-yard run, had 28 carries for 108 yards, his fourth 100-yard performance of the season, and third since he sat out three games because of a back injury.

The Bills (4-7) lost their fourth in a row and dropped to 2-5 in their last seven games while squandering their best offensive performance in a month.

Quarterback Drew Bledsoe, on a one-yard plunge, and Sammy Morris on a seven-yard run, scored for the Bills, who had gone three games without a touchdown.

Bledsoe's score, coming with 2:07 left in the first half, was the Bills' first touchdown since Travis Henry's 14-yarder in the fourth quarter of a 24-7 win over Washington on Oct. 19 -- a span of 218 minutes 24 seconds of game time.

Sunday's game was decided in the final 15 minutes.

James capped a nine-play, 61-yard drive with 10:40 remaining, cutting the Bills' lead to 14-9 before Dominic Rhodes failed on a two-point conversion attempt.

The Colts marched back on their ensuing possession, which began on their 17.

Manning was efficient, hitting Aaron Moorehead for an 18-yard gain, and then, on third and six, hitting Harrison for an eight-yard gain, eventually helping the Colts to a first and goal from the three-yard line.

James got all four cracks at running it in, finally breaking through from about two inches out. Manning then hit James Mungro to complete a two-point conversion.

The Bills' last-gasp drive ended when Bledsoe was hit by a blitzing Chad Bratzke. Bledsoe got off a weak pass, which was intercepted by David Thornton at the Colt 40.

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