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Colts keep winning, regular as clockwork

Colts' 27-17 win over Tennessee takes them to 12-0 and is their 21st consecutive regular-season victory, tying an NFL record.

December 07, 2009|By Kevin Baxter
  • Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has tight end Dallas Clark open in the flat against Tennessee on Sunday.
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has tight end Dallas Clark open in the… (Andy Lyons / Getty Images )

Reporting from Indianapolis — Peyton Manning can't remember the last time he won 21 consecutive times at anything.

"Usually you don't play that many games in a row in youth basketball or whatnot," he said. "So that's a lot of wins."

It's also the number of consecutive regular-season games Manning's Indianapolis Colts have won after equaling the NFL record Sunday with a 27-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans.

Indianapolis (12-0), whose last regular-season loss came in October 2008 at Tennessee, can break the record by beating the Denver Broncos next weekend at home.

That, however, will mean absolutely nothing unless the Colts win their last game this season, which linebacker Clint Session hopes will take place Feb. 7, at the Super Bowl in Miami.

"It will mean a lot then," he said. "Right now, it really means nothing to us."

There's a good chance the Colts will find that meaning at the end of the season if they keep playing like they did Sunday, when they turned two Tennessee mistakes into 10 points in the final six minutes of the first half, changing a tight game into a comfortable victory.

The first came when Titans receiver Kenny Britt appeared to slip going after a Vince Young pass, allowing cornerback Jacob Lacey to step in front for the interception. Nine plays later Manning hooked up with Austin Collie on a four-yard scoring pass that gave Indianapolis a 21-3 lead.

The Titans answered quickly, as Young hit Britt on a six-yard touchdown pass 20 seconds before halftime. But two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Titans defensive lineman Tony Brown tried to poke a Colts lineman in the face, drawing a 15-yard penalty and setting up a 43-yard Matt Stover field goal on the final play of the half that pushed the Colts in front, 24-10.

"You could argue that changed the outcome of the game," Manning said.

The three-time league MVP completed 24 of 37 passes for 270 yards. And with the second-quarter scoring pass to Collie, he extended to 12 his NFL record for consecutive seasons with at least 25 touchdown passes while helping the Colts extend their record of consecutive 12-win seasons to seven.

"You try to tell these guys . . . it is not normal to win 10, 11, 12 games every year," Manning said. "These guys that have been here for five years look at me and say it is normal for us."

The Titans (5-7), meanwhile, saw one streak end and another continue. The loss snapped Tennessee's win streak at five but running back Chris Johnson, with 113 yards in 27 carries, topped 100 yards rushing for the seventh game in a row.

Johnson has run for 1,509 yards this season and, if he averages 123 yards in Tennessee's final four games, will become the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.

By then Indianapolis could be celebrating some history of its own should it finish the regular season unbeaten.

Expect it to be a quiet celebration, though, since the Colts won't consider their job done unless they're still winning in February.

"It's how we look when the season's over," Coach Jim Caldwell said. "We've still got a lot of work to do."

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