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Addai, Colts run over McNabb-less Eagles

Nov 27, 2006 - 4:32 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Rookie Joseph Addai is giving the Indianapolis Colts' high-powered offense another weapon.

Addai rushed for a season-high 171 yards and four touchdowns as the Colts cruised to a 45-21 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, who began life without quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Peyton Manning completed an efficient 14-of-20 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown for the Colts (10-1), who were impressive in rebounding from last week's loss to Dallas. Indianapolis could clinch its fourth straight AFC South title with a win at Tennessee next week.

"We had a good week of practice," Manning said. "Guys were disappointed after last week. You always want to get a win and get that taste out of your mouth."

Manning also reached another milestone in his illustrious career, becoming the fastest player in league history to reach 3,000 completions. The two-time MVP set the mark in his 139th game, surpassing Hall of Famer Dan Marino and Drew Bledsoe, who shared the mark at 146 games.

Becoming more involved in the offensive game plan each week, Addai carried 24 times and shredded the Eagles from the outset, scoring on runs of 15, 10 and 15 yards on the Colts' first three possessions.

Addai, who took advantage of a nickel defense scheme by coordinator Jim Johnson, rushed for 91 of his yards in the first half on 10 carries, when the Colts built a 24-7 lead. The 30th pick in April's draft added a four-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

"We thought we were going to give them something a little different," Johnson said. "We felt we could still play the run with our nickel package and when we got to third down we would still have some nickel people on the field."

Addai's four touchdowns matched the franchise record previously set by Lenny Moore, Lydell Mitchell and Eric Dickerson.

"Joseph is a very, very good player," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "And he's played well for us all year. He got some opportunities. We rode the hot hand a little bit."

Despite his night, Addai thinks there's room for improvement.

"A lot of running backs come in and do good the first year and after that they go into the tank," he said. "I've got to become more consistent."

"He's done a great job for us," Manning said. "Any rookie that's playing in this offense has gotten a season's worth of experience."

Dominic Rhodes added 68 rushing yards for the Colts, who piled up 237 yards on the ground against an Eagles defense, whose struggles have been overshadowed by the loss of McNabb due to a torn ACL in his right knee.

"Joseph ran well, Dom ran well," Manning said. "The offensive line did a great job creating some holes. There were some real big holes out there."

"They came to play ball and run it, and that's what they did," Eagles defensive end Trent Cole said. "We tried to go from the nickel to the 4-3 to mix it up for Manning."

Manning also was his usual self, relying more on a short passing game. He tossed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne on the Colts' first possession of the third quarter to extend the lead to 31-7.

Manning did lose one of his weapons late in the first half when tight end Dallas Clark suffered a right knee injury. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday.

McNabb never got the chance to duel Manning for a third time in his career after the five-time Pro Bowler suffered his second straight season-ending injury in last week's loss to Tennessee.

Veteran Jeff Garcia played well in place of McNabb, completing 19-of-23 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

"I was pleased with the way he handled himself," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "He made some nice throws when he needed to out there."

Brian Westbrook also did his best to keep the Eagles (5-6) in it as he rushed for a career-high 124 yards and a touchdown. His six-yard TD run with 10:17 remaining pulled the Eagles within 31-21.

However, the Colts answered by grinding out a 13-play, 73-yard drive, a march that featured all runs and lasted nearly seven minutes. Addai capped it with a four-yard run with 3:38 left.

On the Eagles' next offensive play, Garcia lost a fumble that was returned 26 yards for a touchdown by cornerback Kelvin Hayden.

The Eagles lost for the fifth time in six games following a 4-1 start.

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