Manning’s TD pass with 13 seconds left gives Colts 35-34 win after Patriots’ 4th-down gamble

Monday, November 16, 2009

Manning rallies Colts after Patriots’ late gamble

With his team trailing by six points and approaching the 2-minute warning, Peyton Manning was on the sideline getting ready to lead the Indianapolis Colts’ offense back onto the field.

Expecting to need a long drive to win the game, Manning’s task was made easier when the New England Patriots fell short on Bill Belichick’s stunning gamble on fourth-and-2 from their own 28.

Manning took advantage by throwing a 1-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne with 13 seconds left to rally unbeaten Indianapolis to a 35-34 victory over the Patriots for the Colts’ 18th straight regular-season victory.

“We were preparing to go 60, 70 yards,” Manning said. “It was a great play by the defense, shortened our field.”

Indianapolis (9-0), which trailed by 17 in the second quarter and 34-21 with 4 minutes left, got its most improbable win during the streak, which tied the Patriots for the second-longest in league history.

When Belichick decided to go for it instead of punting with 2:08 to go, Tom Brady threw to Kevin Faulk, who made a juggling catch but was pushed backward and came up just short.

“We tried to win the game on that play,” Belichick explained. “I thought we could make the yard. We had a good play, we completed it. I don’t know how we couldn’t get a yard.”

Manning needed just four plays before hooking up with Wayne for the winning score. Manning finished with four touchdown passes and Brady had three in the matchup of AFC division leaders.

While it was another magical comeback for Manning, this one was set up by Belichick’s bungled play-calling. Belichick called two timeouts on that key series, the second to set up the fourth-down play.

The Patriots (6-3) have now lost five of the last six in this series.

“It’s a bummer,” Brady said.

Bengals 18, Steelers 12

At Pittsburgh, Bernard Scott had a 96-yard kickoff return in the first quarter and Shayne Graham kicked four field goals in the second half to put Cincinnati in control of the AFC North.

The Bengals (7-2) smothered Ben Roethlisberger and the defending Super Bowl champions, holding them to four field goals.

Despite playing the second half without running back Cedric Benson and failing to convert on the extra point after Scott’s score, Cincinnati swept the season series against Pittsburgh (6-3) for the first time since 1998.

Dolphins 25, Bucs 23

At Miami, Chad Henne directed a 77-yard scoring drive in the final 1:10, and Dan Carpenter kicked a 25-yard field goal with 10 seconds left to lift the Dolphins.

Henne spoiled Tampa Bay’s comeback bid led by Josh Freeman, who rallied his team in the fourth quarter for the second time in two NFL starts. The rookie shook off an awful first half and led his team to a pair of late touchdowns.

The Dolphins (4-5) won despite losing running back Ronnie Brown to a right ankle injury in the third quarter. The Bucs (1-8) were unable to build momentum after beating Green Bay a week earlier.

Henne’s ill-advised pass late in the fourth was intercepted to set up the Bucs’ go-ahead score with 1:14 left. The second-year pro finished 17 for 31 for 175 yards and improved to 4-2 as a starter.

Saints 28, Rams 23

At St. Louis, Reggie Bush scored twice for the first time in more than a year, Drew Brees compensated for two interceptions with two TD passes and New Orleans overcame another bundle of mistakes to remain unbeaten.

Courtney Roby opened the second half with a 97-yard kickoff return and Robert Meachem’s 27-yard grab early in the fourth quarter gave the Saints (9-0) just enough breathing room to tie the franchise record with nine straight wins.

Marc Bulger’s 19-yard pass to Donnie Avery shaved the deficit to five with 2:44 to go and the Rams (1-8) made it to the New Orleans 32 before Bulger threw incomplete into the end zone on the final play.

Panthers 28, Falcons 19

At Charlotte, N.C., Jake Delhomme went turnover-free for the third straight game, finding Steve Smith for two touchdowns to lift Carolina.

The Panthers (4-5) built a 21-10 halftime lead, but the win wasn’t sealed until Richard Marshall picked off Matt Ryan, setting up Jonathan Stewart’s 45-yard touchdown run with 2:07 left. Earlier, Jason Elam missed a 34-yard field goal that would have given Atlanta (5-4) the lead.

Vikings 27, Lions 10

At Minneapolis, Brett Favre passed for a season-high 344 yards, 201 to Sidney Rice, and Minnesota handed Detroit its 31st loss in 33 games.

Adrian Peterson lost a fumble but turned 18 carries into 133 yards and two touchdowns for Minnesota (8-1).

The Lions (1-8) joined the Houston Oilers, from Nov. 21, 1982, through Nov. 4, 1984, as the only teams to lose 31 of 33 games, according to STATS LLC.

Redskins 27, Broncos 17

At Landover, Md., LaDell Betts ran for 144 yards and a touchdown, Jason Campbell completed 17 of 26 passes for 193 yards and Washington topped 17 points for the first time this season.

Betts, making his first start since 2006 in place of the injured Clinton Portis, scored on a 1-yard run with 2:44 to play to help the Redskins (3-6) end a four-game losing streak.

The Broncos (6-3) lost their third straight and had to play the second half with Chris Simms at quarterback after Kyle Orton left with an ankle injury.

Titans 41, Bills 17

At Nashville, Tenn., Chris Johnson ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns, and he caught nine passes for 100 more to help the Titans to their third straight win.

The Titans (3-6) are on a roll since opening the season 0-6, and they can thank Johnson, the NFL’s leading rusher and the league’s first back to top 1,000 yards this season.

Vince Young also threw for a touchdown and finished with 210 yards passing in winning his seventh straight start. He also ran five times for 29 yards.

Buffalo (3-6) lost its second straight.

Jaguars 24, Jets 22

At East Rutherford, N.J., Josh Scobee kicked a 21-yard field goal as time expired after the Jaguars passed up a touchdown in order to drain the clock.

With the Jaguars facing second-and-6 from the 10, Maurice Jones-Drew took a handoff up the middle and went to a knee at the 1 to give Jacksonville first and goal with just over a minute left. New York had no timeouts left.

David Garrard knelt the ball twice, giving Scobee the opportunity to kick the game winner for the Jaguars (5-4).

The Jets (4-5) lost for the fifth time in six games.

Chargers 31, Eagles 23

At San Diego, LaDainian Tomlinson scored twice to continue his climb up the career rushing and scoring lists, and San Diego (6-3) pulled into a tie with Denver atop the AFC West.

Tomlinson gained a season-high 96 yards on 24 carries to pass Thurman Thomas and Franco Harris and move into 12th place all-time with 12,145 yards. His two touchdowns gave him 146 and moved him past Marcus Allen and into third place on the all-time list.

Donovan McNabb threw for a season-high 450 yards, completing 35 of 55 passes, and two late touchdowns for Philadelphia (4-5).

Chiefs 16, Raiders 10

At Oakland, Calif., Jamaal Charles scored on a 44-yard run for Kansas City’s first rushing touchdown of the season and the Chiefs used a late interception to win their seventh straight game in Oakland.

The Chiefs (2-7) have managed to win just five of their past 35 games. But three of those wins have come at the Oakland Coliseum, where Kansas City has the longest winning streak ever by a visiting team.

Ryan Succop kicked three field goals and Kansas City once again pulled out a close one against the Raiders (2-7) in the Chiefs’ first game since releasing running back Larry Johnson.

Cardinals 31, Seahawks 20

At Glendale, Ariz., rookie Beanie Wells had second-half touchdown runs of 10 and 13 yards and Arizona rallied from an early two-touchdown deficit for its second home win in five tries.

Kurt Warner completed 29 of 38 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns as the Cardinals (6-3) stayed two games up on San Francisco in the NFC West. Warner also became the 29th player in NFL history to throw 200 touchdown passes, and had his 51st 300-yard passing game, tying Dan Fouts for fourth on the NFL career list.

Justin Forsett rushed for a career-high 123 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown run, for the Seahawks (3-6).

Packers 17, Cowboys 7

At Green Bay, Wis., Charles Woodson helped Green Bay’s defense finally play up to its potential against a big-time opponent, forcing two fumbles and picking off a pass by Tony Romo on the goal line.

The Packers (5-4) sacked Romo five times and held him to 251 yards passing in a momentum- killer for the Cowboys (6-3), who had won four straight. Dallas also lost starting right tackle Marc Colombo to a broken left leg.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers scored on a sneak and threw a touchdown pass to tight end Spencer Havner.

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