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Game 3

 Sept 25 2005

13 - 6 WIN


















There were no TD passes in The Colts victory Sunday - September 25, 2005,
 but Manning and offense are starting to regain form.

It wasn't the most offensively explosive performance of the season, but it was an improvement over the last two games. The Colts muffled offense showed more signs of life today as the Colts beat the visiting Cleveland Browns 13-6.

Coming off a career low performance last week versus Jacksonsville, Manning was almost back to form today as he completed 19 of 23 passes for 228 yards yet 1 interception.

(AP Photo/Tom Strattman)

"Our offense just is not quite on all cylinders. What our offense is doing is making clutch drives," head coach Dungy said. "We are doing a lot of things we need to. I think we're going to be fine."

Lack of finding the end zone against the Browns didn't stop the Colts from the consistent play of the defense and the outstanding rushing attack of Edgerrin James.

 (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Indianapolis Colts running back Edgerrin James (32) eludes Cleveland Browns linebacker Chaun Thompson during the first quarter.

Edgerrin James keeps doing his job, slicing through opponents and chalking up gains of 5 yards here, 7 yards there, until he gets worn out and takes himself out for a few plays. Today he ran for 108 yards on 27 carries (4.0 average) and scored the only touchdown of the day. He also caught two passes for 29 yards. Wide receivers Reggie Wayne (97 yards) and Marvin Harrison (53 yards) each had six catches.

James has went over the 100 yard mark the past two games, carrying a sputtering Colts offense and pounding away at defenses. His outstanding play and willingness to shoulder the load, combined with the revamped defense has secured victories in the past two games when the high-powered aerial attack couldn't get off the ground.

Three weeks into the season, the Colts defense has shown it is for real, yielding just sixteen points over twelve quarters of play -- the best start in franchise history by a defense. And seven of those points, the only touchdown of the year so far, was in bullshit time with only seconds left in the opener against Baltimore.

The Colts Defense added four more sacks today to drive their season total to thirteen, three by defensive end Dwight Freeney and one by Robert Mathis.

And oh yeah, the hitting was ferocious. 


"They're making you throw the ball in front of them and using their speed to make the plays," Browns head coach Romeo Crennel said. "They're fast."


Both safeties, Bob Sanders (6 tackles) and Mike Doss (3 tackles, 2 assists), punished the Browns runners and receivers. The defensive line and linebackers swarmed to the ball carriers. And Freeney delivered a tremendous blindside hit on Browns quarterback Trent Dilfer that forced a fumble before halftime.

The Colts, who have surrendered a total of 16 points in three games, limited the Browns (1-2) to just 263 total yards offensively.

Dilfer, who had not been sacked in the first two games of the year, was sacked four times in Sundays game.

Dwight Freeney turned in a spectacular performance today as he led the Colts with 3 sacks. Robert Mathis also contributed a sack as the Colts defense kept Browns QB Trent Dilfer on his heels and only allowed 75 yards rushing from the Browns.

Freeney celebrate a first-half sack of Cleveland quarterback Trent Dilfer.

The Colts have only allowed 1 TD this season, proof that this season's new defense might be the final key in a SuperBowl run.

 Dilfer, completed 22 of 29 attempts, but only managed 208 yards passing and no touchdowns after tossing three last week at Green Bay.. Running back Reuben Droughns carried the ball 22 times for 76 yards for a 3.5 yards per carry average. But 40 of those yards came on three carries. On his 19 other attempts he gained just 36 yards, an average of just 1.9 yards on 86 percent of his carries.

(AP Photo/Tom Strattman)
Cleveland Browns running back Reuben Droughns (34) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts cornerback Jason David (42) and linebacker David Thornton during the first quarter in Indianapolis, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2005.

And despite not turning the ball over once to kill any of their own drives, the Browns only managed to put two field goals on the scoreboard.

The Browns had an early touchdown negated by a penalty, as Dennis Northcutt returned a punt 82 yards for a score, but an illegal block wiped it out and they never reached the end zone again.

Cleveland then punted and the Colts marched 66 yards in seven plays for the first score of the game. James did most of the work, starting the drive with a 13-yard run and catching a pass for 20 more. He also finished it with a two- yard run for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 4:11 left in the opening period.

Dilfer then guided the Browns to a field goal, as Phil Dawson booted a 40- yarder early in the second quarter.

Manning tried to go deep on the first play after the kickoff, but threw into triple coverage and Daylon McCutcheon picked off the overthrown pass at the Cleveland 29.

The Browns crossed midfield before being forced to punt and pinned the Colts at their own 13, but Manning directed a 10-play, 84-yard series that ended with a 20-yard field goal by Mike Vanderjagt to make it 10-3 with 3:14 to play in the half.

 A 51-yard pass from Manning to Reggie Wayne keyed the drive.

Indianapolis took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched from its own 25 to the Cleveland five, but Ran Carthon was stopped short of a first down on 3rd-and-2 and Vanderjagt came on to boot a 23-yard field to make it 13-3.

Cleveland responded to the nearly eight-minute Indy possession with one of nearly eight minutes, but also came away with only three points to again pull within seven. Dilfer led the Browns to the Colt six with a first down, but the Indianapolis defense forced a pair of incomplete passes and stuffed a running play to force a 22-yard field goal by Dawson in the first minute of the fourth quarter.

The Browns got the ball back after a punt at their own 16, but managed just one first down and kicked it away. The offense would not return to the field, as the Colts ran out the final 7:40 with a steady diet of James rushing seven times for 34 yards then Peyton taking a knee in the last few minutes of the game.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Trent Dilfer, left, talks with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning following the game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2005. The Colts won, 13-6. Manning passed for 228 yards while Dilfer passes for 208 yards. (AP Photo/Tom Strattman)

Game Notes 

Dwight Freeney had three of the four Colt sacks and Indianapolis has 13 sacks this season . . .
Wayne had six catches for 97 yards, while Marvin Harrison hauled in six passes for 53 yards . . .

Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison broke the NFL record for most yards passing between a quarterback and receiver in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against Cleveland making the duo the most prolific in NFL history

The duo entered the game needing 24 yards to pass Buffalo's Jim Kelly and Andre Reed.

Throughout the game, Manning and Harrison connected five times for 37 yards. The record was broke when Manning connected with Harrison on a 16-yard pass with 13:58 left in the game. That gave them 717 completions and 9,568 yards -- both NFL records.

 Kelly and Reed had 9,538.

"I appreciate it a lot," Harrison said. "It's always good when you can stick with one quarterback and one team. You know each other's ins and outs, it's a great thing to be a part of. I look forward to a lot more yards and touchdowns."

They are also closing in on the NFL record for touchdown passes between a quarterback and receiver. Manning and Harrison have hooked up for 83 TDs, two short of the record held by San Francisco's Steve Young and Jerry Rice.

Manning also became the second fastest quarterback to reach 30,000 yards passing, doing it in 115 games. Only Miami's Dan Marino achieved the milestone in fewer games. He did it in one less game.

A few moments later, Manning became the second fastest to reach 30,000 yards passing, doing it in 115 games. Only Miami's Dan Marino achieved the milestone in fewer games. He did it in one less game.

Manning, the two-time NFL MVP, and Harrison, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, have connected on an NFL record 716 completions. They broke that record, which was held by Kelly and Reed, last season.

They are also closing in on the NFL record for touchdown passes between a quarterback and receiver. Manning and Harrison have hooked up for 83 TDs, two short of the record held by San Francisco's Steve Young and Jerry Rice.



4:11 INDIANAPOLIS: TD, E. James 2-yard run (M. Vanderjagt kick)
7 plays, 66 yards in 4:02. 



13:13 CLEVELAND: FG, Phil Dawson 40 Yards 
Drive: 11 plays, 53 yards in 5:58. 


3:14 INDIANAPOLIS: FG, Mike Vanderjagt 20 Yards
Drive: 10 plays, 84 yards in 4:52. 



7:07 INDIANAPOLIS: FG, Mike Vanderjagt 23 Yards
Drive: 14 plays, 70 yards in 7:53. 



14:09  CLEVELAND: FG, Phil Dawson 22 Yards 
Drive: 19 plays, 86 yards in 7:58. 


The Colts (3-0) return to action next Sunday at Tennessee.


Personal note from the Webmaster:

Don't get me wrong, a win is a win, and we probably would have won no matter if certain calls were called and not called.

But this is why I despise the New England Patriots. You can pretty much count on playing against the Refs when playing against a Patriots game - read more -

You have to admit, the unsportsmanlike behavior call early in the game on The Browns was a little much,

And then there was a hit to Dilfer after he had passed the ball and no call was made.

 Dilfer also had to shake off a couple more big hits in the third quarter, including one that appeared to be low -- a tactic opponents have complained about recently. The play didn't cause much concern for Dilfer, who appeared to limp slightly after the hit.

"I asked the ref if the hit was low and late," Dilfer said. "He said he was pushed into me. I don't get caught up in that other stuff. If you do, you can lose your focus."

That could be true - I don't know.

I would just hate to revert to Patriot's tactics.


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