Colts
Falcons
31 - 13 Final
  for this game

Manning throws three TDs as Colts rout Falcons

Nov 23, 2007 - 5:47 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The milestones keep on piling up in the legendary career of Peyton Manning.

Manning threw three touchdowns to lead the Indianapolis Colts to a 31-13 victory over the lowly Atlanta Falcons in Thursday's Thanksgiving night contest.

All it took to wake up the slumping Manning, who failed to record a touchdown pass in his last contest, was a visit to play the Falcons.

Facing a depleted Atlanta defense, the 31-year old Manning completed 22-of-32 passes for 272 yards and engineered three first-half scoring drives to lead the Colts (9-2) to another victory.

After spotting Atlanta a 10-0 lead, Manning passed Warren Moon for sole possession of fifth place on the all-time touchdown pass list when he found Reggie Wayne in the end zone on a 23-yard pass.

It was the 292nd TD in the reigning Super Bowl MVP's career, which cut the lead to three with 14:42 remaining in the second quarter.

Manning also eked his way into the top 10 in passing yards, finishing with 272 yards, to pass another Colts franchise legend - Johnny Unitas - with 40,407 yards. Joe Montana is ninth on the list with 40,551 yards.

"I'm a big fan of quarterbacks," Manning said. "I had big respect for Warren Moon. Unitas, I never saw him play, but it's an honor to be wearing the same uniform as Unitas."

Indianapolis was given a second chance to score on its next possession when Atlanta's Demorrio Williams was whistled for a costly running into the kicker penalty on 4th-and-1 at the Falcons' 49.

"It was a tough call," Falcons coach Bobby Petrino said. "I am not sure why it was called. It didn't seem like we did a whole lot, but sometimes you get calls like that."

Manning made them pay, connecting on three of his next four passes before finding Anthony Gonzalez for his second TD strike with 6:45 remaining in the second.

"We executed in a way that we did earlier in the season and maybe for some reason, (we) got away from that," Gonzalez said. "We executed the key plays pretty well, and that's why we got 31 points."

The opportunistic Colts took advantage of a turnover by Atlanta to extend the edge to eight points four minutes later.

Antoine Bethea leveled Atlanta wide receiver Laurent Robinson with a highlight reel hit, forcing Robinson to cough up the football, which was eventually recovered by Bob Sanders at Atlanta's 48.

Four plays later, Manning found Ben Utecht with a five-yard strike to pad Indianapolis' lead.

"We call ourselves 'The Hit Squad' out there," Bethea said. "We try to pop anybody who gets (the ball) there. It was a good hit. It changed the momentum of the game."

"There were a couple of big plays that hurt us in the first half - the fumble by Laurent Robinson and the penalty for roughing the punter," Petrino said. "It was a really big swing for us."

Manning and the Colts have struggled of late, losing two of three coming into Thursday's contest with the Falcons.

Playing without favorite receiver Marvin Harrison, who has missed six games this season with a knee injury, the 31 year-old Manning has looked pedestrian at times, failing to throw a touchdown pass in the Colts' 13-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

But Indianapolis got a boost this week when Gonzalez, the Colts' 2007 first-round pick, re-joined the offensive unit.

"Some of the injuries, they certainly weigh on the guys that are playing," Manning said. "We have no second or thirds in practice. With the short week, it felt good to get the win."

"It was nice to have some of our guys back," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "They made some plays. We came into the locker room feeling good."

Manning was not the only one adding his name to the record books.

Atlanta running back Warrick Dunn became the 22nd player in NFL history to record 10,000 yards on the ground, when he rumbled up the middle for a two yard gain just 26 seconds into the second quarter.

"10,000 yards rushing means a lot, obviously," Dunn said. "But for me, the most important thing is winning. I'm happy about rushing for 10,000 yards, but at the same time, it's not as sweet as if we had won the football game."

"It's a remarkable feat, especially when you look at his size and stature," Petrino said. "It says a lot about him, his durability, his longevity and just how good of a football player he is. I am happy to be a part of it."

The contest was supposed to be a matchup between two of the NFL's elite quarterbacks - Manning and Michael Vick.

But with the suspended Vick sitting in a jail cell this Thanksgiving after surrendering to federal officials to begin serving a sentence on dogfighting charges, the struggling Falcons turned once again to Joey Harrington.

In his third stint as the starting quarterback for the Falcons (3-8), Harrington engineered a 19-play, 63-yard drive to put his team on the board when Morten Anderson connected on a 34-yard field goal to give Atlanta a 3-0 lead.

The Falcons extended the edge to 10-0 when Harrington found Roddy White for a 48-yard TD pass with 3:44 in the first period. But then the Colts woke up.

"It was a fight, and we kind of expected it," Dungy said. "We were really not ourselves in the first quarter. We had some uncharacteristic things and penalties. We hurt ourselves and, once we got through that, we played a lot better."

Harrington finished 14-of-30 for 155 yards with one TD and two interceptions.

Joseph Addai rushed for 44 yards on 10 carries with one touchdown for the Colts, who improved to 13-1 against the Falcons all-time.






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    Colts vs. FalconsNov 24 12:14 AM
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  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    INDIANAPOLIS 0 21 10 0 31
    ATLANTA 10 3 0 0 13 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ATL - FG, MORTEN ANDERSEN 34 YD, 8:01. Drive:
    19 plays, 63 yards in 8:01. Key
    plays: Norwood 14-yard run to
    Atlanta 35; Harrington 9-yard pass
    to Jenkins on 3rd-and-6 to Atlanta
    48; Snelling

    Nov 22 11:11 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    INDIANAPOLIS 0 21 10 31
    ATLANTA 10 3 0 13 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ATL - FG, MORTEN ANDERSEN 34 YD, 8:01. Drive:
    19 plays, 63 yards in 8:01. Key
    plays: Norwood 14-yard run to
    Atlanta 35; Harrington 9-yard pass
    to Jenkins on 3rd-and-6 to Atlanta
    48; S

    Nov 22 10:43 PM


  • NFL
    FG IND
    ADAM VINATIERI 24 YD
    INDIANAPOLIS 31
    ATLANTA 13 0:32 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Colts vs. FalconsNov 22 10:40 PM


  • NFL
    TD IND
    JOSEPH ADDAI 4 YD RUN
    (ADAM VINATIERI KICK)
    INDIANAPOLIS 28
    ATLANTA 13 5:05 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Colts vs. FalconsNov 22 10:26 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    INDIANAPOLIS 0 21 21
    ATLANTA 10 3 13 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ATL - FG, MORTEN ANDERSEN 34 YD, 8:01. Drive:
    19 plays, 63 yards in 8:01. Key
    plays: Norwood 14-yard run to
    Atlanta 35; Harrington 9-yard pass
    to Jenkins on 3rd-and-6 to Atlanta
    48; Snell

    Nov 22 9:48 PM


  • NFL
    TD IND
    BEN UTECHT 5 YD PASS FROM PEYTON MANNING
    (ADAM VINATIERI KICK)
    INDIANAPOLIS 21
    ATLANTA 13 2:38 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Colts vs. FalconsNov 22 9:37 PM


  • NFL
    TD IND
    DALLAS CLARK 8 YD PASS FROM PEYTON MANNING
    (ADAM VINATIERI KICK)
    INDIANAPOLIS 14
    ATLANTA 13 6:45 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Colts vs. FalconsNov 22 9:25 PM
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  • NFL
    FG ATL
    MORTEN ANDERSEN 30 YD
    INDIANAPOLIS 7
    ATLANTA 13 11:35 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Colts vs. FalconsNov 22 9:12 PM


  • NFL
    TD IND
    REGGIE WAYNE 23 YD PASS FROM PEYTON MANNING
    (ADAM VINATIERI KICK)
    INDIANAPOLIS 7
    ATLANTA 10 14:42 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Colts vs. FalconsNov 22 9:03 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    INDIANAPOLIS 0 0
    ATLANTA 10 10 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ATL - FG, MORTEN ANDERSEN 34 YD, 8:01. Drive:
    19 plays, 63 yards in 8:01. Key
    plays: Norwood 14-yard run to
    Atlanta 35; Harrington 9-yard pass
    to Jenkins on 3rd-and-6 to Atlanta
    48; S

    Nov 22 8:56 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    RODDY WHITE 48 YD PASS FROM JOEY HARRINGTON
    (MORTEN ANDERSEN KICK)
    INDIANAPOLIS 0
    ATLANTA 10 3:44 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Colts vs. FalconsNov 22 8:45 PM


  • NFL
    FG ATL
    MORTEN ANDERSEN 34 YD
    INDIANAPOLIS 0
    ATLANTA 3 6:59 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Colts vs. FalconsNov 22 8:32 PM
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