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Manning gets second win at Meadowlands in dramatic fashion

Oct 1, 2006 - 8:35 PM EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Peyton Manning returned to the Meadowlands and had a tougher time than he did against his younger brother. But he walked away with another victory.

Three weeks after beating Eli Manning here, Peyton Manning passed for a touchdown and ran for another score in the last 2:34 to lift the unbeaten Indianapolis Colts to a thrilling 31-28 win over the New York Jets.

Peyton threw for 276 yards and a score in the Colts' season-opening 26-21 win here on September 10. The elder Manning needed an even better effort against the Jets in a victory that seemed to leave the Colts more relieved than elated.

"We expect that (from Peyton)," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "We practice those situations (two-minute drills) all the time. It doesn't surprise us, but we shouldn't have to do it twice."

Manning flipped a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Bryan Fletcher to cap a 12-play, 61-yard drive, giving the Colts (4-0) a 24-21 advantage.

But Justin Miller, who was penalized for pass interference on Indianapolis' previous drive, returned the ensuing kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown, eclipsing the club record of 101 yards by Leon Johnson in 1997.

"I put that penalty (pushing off Reggie Wayne near the goal line) behind me right after I made it," Miller said.

With the sellout crowd at the Meadowlands in a frenzy, Manning kept his composure and engineered the winning drive, completing 6-of-8 passes for 60 yards before scoring on a one-yard run with 50 seconds left.

"There wasn't any panic after that kickoff (touchdown). We didn't even have time to get angry," Manning said. "That kickoff can be deflating if it's the last play of the game. We were real patient."

The Colts had no timeouts left on the final drive, but that did not faze Manning, who calmly completed passes of 19 yards to Marvin Harrison and 15 yards to Reggie Wayne before scoring on a one-yard run quarterback sneak.

"That's why Peyton is who he is," said Jets quarterback Chad Pennington, who tried to keep pace with Manning all afternoon, even trying a no-huddle offense that Manning has employed to perfection. "It's no secret who they are and why they are so successful."

Manning had his first rushing touchdown since the 2002 season last week against Jacksonville.

"The sneak is (center) Jeff Saturday's favorite play," Manning joked. "I wanted to keep my rushing TD streak alive."

A two-time MVP, Manning completed 21-of-30 passes for 217 yards and one touchdown.

The game ended with a wild, multiple-lateral play that ended with Colts cornerback Jason David recovering a fumble.

"I was thinking Tennessee-Buffalo," said Fletcher in reference to the famed "Music City Miracle" playoff game. "I was a lot more excited since it ended with a victory."

Manning no longer has two-time rushing champion Edgerrin James in his backfield, but the Colts had no problems running against the Jets (2-2). Rookie Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes combined for 159 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

"It was awesome to have the running game working,' said Rhodes, who scored the first touchdown of the game in the first quarter following a fumble by Pennington. "It was nice to go out and knock some people around."

Pennington was 17-of-23 for 207 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown to Jerricho Cotchery in the first half.

The Jets already have road wins at Tennessee and Buffalo this season under rookie coach Eric Mangini, but have two less wins at Giants Stadium this year than the Colts. The Jets lost a close game to New England in their home opener two weeks ago and came up short again despite a strong effort.

"It's a heartbreaker for us," admitted Cotchery, who caught three passes for 65 yards,

The Jets had a chance to get ahead late in the third quarter, but Mangini elected to go for a touchdown on a 4th-and-goal from the 2. Linebacker Rocky Boiman intercepted Pennington in the end zone, keeping the score at 14-14.

"The plan was to put the ball in the end zone," Mangini said. "I've seen Peyton go up and down the field and score touchdowns and we wanted to match touchdowns with touchdowns."

Martin Gramatica, filling in for the injured Adam Vinatieri, put the Colts in front 20-17 with a 20-yard field goal before the Jets answered with a five-yard touchdown run by Kevan Barlow.

The Colts overcame numerous mistakes, including the special teams breakdown and 10 penalties.

"That's absurd," Dungy said of the penalties. "We did a lot of things that gave momentum swings."

The Jets played aggressively, recovering an onside kick in the second quarter that ended with a one-yard TD run by Barlow.

Manning, however, responded quickly with a 41-yard pass to Wayne that led to a two-yard TD run by Addai just before halftime that tied it at 14-14.

Wayne, playing despite the death of his brother in an automobile accident last week, caught four passes for 74 yards.

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