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Manning, Colts Again Manage to Come Back

October 09, 2006|From the Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Peyton Manning has mastered the great escape.

Now the Indianapolis Colts want to make things a little easier for their quarterback.

For the third straight week, the two-time most valuable player led Indianapolis on a late touchdown drive, this time throwing a two-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne with 5 minutes 10 seconds left to give the Colts a 14-13 victory -- and avoid Tennessee's improbable upset bid Sunday.

"You can't end up relying on that, falling back on it," Colts Coach Tony Dungy said. "We've just got to play better and I think we will."

Manning used an unorthodox strategy, scoring twice on touchdown runs, to beat Jacksonville and the New York Jets the previous two weeks.

Against winless Tennessee (0-5), Manning used a more conventional method. He connected with Marvin Harrison and Wayne for second-half scores that rallied the Colts from a 10-point deficit. The win kept the Colts (5-0) unbeaten and in control of the AFC South, even if it was far from perfect.

Manning finished 20 of 31 for 166 yards with one interception.

When it mattered most, Mr. Reliable pulled another one out.

Indianapolis has won seven straight in this series, 12 straight over division teams and completed another sweep of its three home division games.

"It really just comes down to execution," Manning said. "They executed better than us in the first half, and in the second half, I thought our offense did a better job."

Most expected this one to be a rout.

But with rookie quarterback Vince Young making his second start, Titans Coach Jeff Fisher decided to play it safe by attacking the Colts' porous defense the same way every opponent has this season -- running inside.

As usual, it worked.

By grinding out 214 yards rushing, Manning and Co. spent much of the game on the sideline. It also prevented Young from making any disastrous rookie mistakes.

The Titans finished with 214 yards rushing, and Young even gave fans a glimpse of his mobility on a 19-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

It was nearly perfect.

"It came down to us executing a play in the fourth quarter," Fisher said. "They did everything we asked during the week and nearly everything we asked today."

Young finished 10 of 21 for 63 yards with one interception, but Manning got the win.

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