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Game 4

 Oct 10, 2005

He's back

Manning passes for four touchdowns
to lead Colts past Titans


DATE: Sunday, October 2, 2005
SITE: The Coliseum
KICKOFF: 12:00 p.m.(EST)/(CDT)
CAPACITY: 68,809

THE GREEN DECAL: The green decal on the helmets of players for both teams was in recognition of Sunday night's Arizona-San Francisco game in Mexico City, the first NFL regular-season game played outside the United States. Players in all games showcased the decal.

31 at 10



















In The Colts first three games of the season, they played some enthused defense on their way to a 3-0 start.

The defense entered the game with three consecutive games of holding their opponents to 10 points or less. And when the clock ticked off on this one, they joined the 1962 Packers as the only teams since World War II that accomplished that feat over their first four games of the regular season.

 Despite that, the offense couldn't find its way in the first three games of the 2005 season.

On October 2, 2005 the rest of the league has now been put on notice that the Colts offense is back after their stomping of the hapless Tennessee Titans.

 Indianapolis piled up 360 yards of offense and defeated the Titans 31-10 to improve its record to 4-0.


The Colts got off to a quick start, as they recieved the kickoff and Peyton took over.

In 7 plays, Manning was perfect on four throws and Edgerrin James ran three times during the 81-yard march in 3:29 minutes, which ended with a 25-yard strike from Manning to Reggie Wayne who was wide open with Titans safety Tank Williams late sliding over to cover in the back left corner of the end zone for a 7-0 lead.

Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne is congratulated by center Jeff Saturday (63) after Wayne scored a touchdown against the Titans on a 25-yard pass play in the first quarter. The Colts defeated the Titans 31-10. (AP)

Peyton Manning threw for 264 yards and added to his TD total with four touchdowns, including the one to Reggie Wayne for a 25-yard TD on their opening drive, an 11-yarder to Marvin Harrison in the second quarter, an 8-yarder to Edgerrin James in the third, and a 24-yarder to Harrison in the fourth. James finished with 90 yards rushing, while Manning completed 20 of 27 passes for 264 yards and four TDs. "I guess we won't have to answer the question what is wrong with the offense now," Colts coach Tony Dungy said.

Marvin Harrison caught nine passes for 109 yards, and Edgerrin James also ran for 90 yards in helping the Colts improve to 4-0 with their highest point total this season.

The conservative Colts offense we've seen the past few weeks so far has been put aside. Peyton Manning and that incredible passing attack is likely to continue to be as aggressive as it has so far against the Titans' shaky secondary.

The Titans chose to spend most of the game in their basic defense instead of filling up the secondary to guard against the pass. They did stop James three times inside the Tennessee 7, forcing the Colts to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Mike Vanderjagt in the second quarter.

That was the only big stop from a defense that watched the Colts convert seven of 10 third downs.


Manning finally connected with Harrison on an 11-yard TD pass for a 17-3 lead just before halftime for Harrison's 100th career TD catch. They tied Steve Young and Jerry Rice for most touchdowns between a quarterback and receiver with 85 career TDs on a 24-yard pass with 13:09 left in the game and a 31-3 lead.

Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison tied Steve Young and Jerry Rice for the NFL record of most touchdown passes between a quarterback and a receiver with their 85th connection Sunday.

The only question left now for the Indianapolis duo is what the final records will be when they quit playing.

"It kind of hits me knowing the fact it's still early in both our careers," Harrison said after the Colts beat Tennessee 31-10.

"You just never know when it's going to end or what it's going to be when it's done. But the main focus is that we stay together and win football games and put that under our belts as well as a lot of wins, and hopefully some championships."

Young and Rice combined for 85 touchdown passes between 1987 and 1999 with San Francisco.

Manning is in his eighth season with the Colts and has six years left on his $98 million contract. Harrison is in his 10th and signed a seven-year deal last December. Last week, they passed Buffalo's Jim Kelly and Andre Reed for most yards passing.

"It's an honor and privilege to be able to call Marvin a teammate," Manning said. "He's an outstanding player. He and I have combined for a lot of touchdowns and a lot of wins, but it's because of a lot of hard work. He has a tremendous work ethic, and I feel privileged to call him teammate."

Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy isn't going to answer the question of whether Manning and Harrison are the greatest combination ever.

"I guess the numbers will speak for themselves. Those guys should get to play together for a lot more time. They may put up some numbers that will be hard to reach," Dungy said.

Manning and Harrison had been stuck on 83 touchdown passes with Manning not throwing a TD in the past two games.

But Manning found Harrison for an 11-yard score just before halftime for No. 84, and he threw a short pass to Harrison on the right sideline. Harrison ran up the sideline 24 yards for the TD with 13:09 left for No. 85 and a 31-3 lead.

Harrison also caught his 100th and 101st touchdown passes and notched the 48th 100-yard receiving game of his career.

"You don't come into your career hoping it happens. When it happens, you look back and you have a great appreciation for getting it and for the guys that have done it," Harrison said.

Dynamic duos


The Colts defense came up with their share of big playes, including sacks by Robert Mathis and Josh Thomas.

One the Colts biggest defense play came on this one in the second quarter. Tennessee looked like it might have a chance to rally at the end of the first half. Trailing 17-3, McNair found Drew Bennett on a 28-yard toss to the Colts 2 yard line as Bennett lost control of the ball and it went into the hands of safety Bob Sanders for an interception.

Officials initially ruled the play a Titans reception and a first down at the Colts 2.

The Colts called timeout to allow officials time to review the play. Because the play occurred after the two-minute warning, Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy could not throw the red flag to call for a coach's-challenge review.

"It's an easy rule, really," Dungy said. "If you go up for a ball and don't get both feet down, you have to finish the catch. The ball can't come out. It came out and we didn't think it hit the ground, so I thought at the every worst it should be an incomplete pass and I thought we should have the ball.

We called timeout. I was a ittle surprised they didn't review it right away, then even after the timeout, it took a while. But they got the right call, so we were happy about it."

"I thought Tennessee was going to come out and go quick before they (the officials in the replay booth) could get involved. That's why we called timeout."

 After review, referee Walt Anderson overturned the ruling, giving the Colts possession going into the locker room.

"It was a big play at that time," Dungy said

Sanders led the team with 10 tackles (8 solo, 2 assists). 


Mathis, a third-year veteran from Alabama A&M, tied Freeney for the team lead in sacks early in the second half with a 6-yard sack of McNair on 3rd-and-3 from the Titans 46.

The Indianapolis defense forced a quick punt to start the second half and Manning followed with an eight-play drive for another touchdown. He completed all four of his passes following it with his fourth touchdown pass, an 8-yarder to Edgerrin James giving the Colts a 24-3 cushion midway through the third quarter. Peyton finished 20-of-27 passes.

Manning and the Colts were numbingly efficient and had fans streaming to the exits midway through the third quarter.

The Titans answered with a drive of more than seven minutes, but the tough Indy defense stiffened inside its own 20 and forced a 38-yard field goal attempt that Bironas missed wide left in the final minute of the third quarter.

Fourth Quarter

Back came the Colts with a 72-yard touchdown drive. Manning completed just three passes during the eight-play series, but they went for 23 yards to Wayne - who made an acrobatic catch along the sideline, 24 yards to Dallas Clark and 24 yards to Harrison, who tiptoed along the right sideline before knocking over the pylon for the score.

As The Indinapolis Colts And The tennessee Titans are two of the youngest teams in the NFL, The Titans (1-3) are the NFL's youngest team, and their inexperience showed. Drives ended repeatedly with dropped passes, including one that turned into an interception, costly penalties and two timeouts wasted in a march that finished with a missed field goal.

Steve McNair did his best to carry the Titans as he scrambled four times for 40 yards, but he was the Titans' leading rusher. He was 28-of-37 for 220 yards, and his only touchdown pass came on a 6-yarder to rookie Bo Scaife with 4:31 left in the game.

Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said he was disappointed by the lack of execution. Center Justin Hartwig was much more succinct.

"Today they just blew us out of the water. When we didn't come out in the second half and put points on the board right away, it was pretty much over," Hartwig said.

"It's tough," Titans linebacker Peter Sirmon said. "You can't stop it. Peyton Manning knows what he's doing with the ball every time, and you've got to give him credit."

The Colts now won five straight over the Titans, including three in a row at the Coliseum, and lead the division by two games over Jacksonville (2-2), which lost at home to Denver 20-7.

Peyton Manning completed his first five passes on the day after ending last week's game with 12 straight completions. The 17 straight completed passes tied a Colts record set previously by Bert Jones in a December 15, 1974 game against the New York Jets

Marvin Harrison notched his 48th career 100-yard receiving game, surpassing Michael Irvin for third place on the all-time list

Edgerrin James finished with 90 yards on 21 carries

The Colts remain the only NFL team not to allow a sack.


Tennessee was flagged nine times for 76 yards, including a 15-yarder against rookie cornerback Adam "Pac Man" who made his first NFL start and was flagged three times in the first half, played like a rookie in his debut as a starter while trying to keep pace with the seasoned Colts receivers. He also fumbled once on a kickoff return when linebacker Keith O'Neil reached in and ripped the ball out of his hands. But the Titans recovered the loose ball.

The game also featured the pro debut of Jarrett Payton, son of the late NFL great Walter Payton. The younger Payton carried four times for 37 yards in the closing minutes. 

Sunday was a big day for the Manning clan. 

Peyton and younger brother Eli, the starting quarterback for the New York Giants, each had four touchdown passes. Eli's came in a 44-24 win over St. Louis.

As reporters pressed around his locker after the win over the Titans, Peyton asked, "Did the Giants win?"

A reporter informed him the New England Patriots lost.

Manning didn't care.

"Family first," he said.

Peyton smiled when told that Eli matched him touchdown for touchdown.

"He threw four? Did he really? Golly," he said. "After the game is the only time I usually check it. That's how I have to keep up with his career, through highlights and through scoreboard scores. I never get to see him play."


The Colts play at the 49ers next Sunday.

Their first trip to San Francisco since Oct. 18, 1998, on Sunday. That was the seventh game of Manning's rookie season and represented a breakout of sorts. The Colts lost 34-31, but Manning completed 18-of-30 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns.

Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Washington and Tampa Bay are heading into week five as the only undefeated teams in the NFL.

Ya gotta love this . . .

Patriots coach Bill Belichick paces the sidelines in the fourth quarter during the New England's 41-17 loss to the San Diego Chargers. (AP)

Tom Brady at end of Patriots 41 - 17 loss to Chargers

Colts on Pace For Super Bowl

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