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Colts last remaining unbeaten team

Nov 8, 2006 - 11:34 AM Buffalo (3-5) at Indianapolis (8-0) Sunday 1:00 pm EST

INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Once again, the Indianapolis Colts are the last unbeaten team standing.

A perfect first half of the season for the Colts has been highlighted by road wins against three first-place teams - the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and New York Giants.

On Sunday, the Colts will begin the second half of the season with a meeting against the Buffalo Bills.

Indianapolis is just the second team in NFL history to begin consecutive seasons at 8-0. The Green Bay Packers went at least 8-0 three consecutive years from 1929-31 under Curly Lambeau.

Last season, the Colts were 13-0 before they lost at home to San Diego on December 18. That was the first of three losses in four games for Indianapolis, culminating in a stunning playoff loss to Pittsburgh.

The Chicago Bears nearly made it to the midway point unbeaten, but they lost at home to Miami, 31-13, leaving the Colts as the lone remaining undefeated team.

"I was hoping they (the Bears) would continue to win, so they would get all the focus," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "But we're just happy to go through the first half like that."

The Colts finished the first half with back-to-back wins over the Broncos and Patriots.

Two-time MVP Peyton Manning completed 32-of-39 passes for 345 yards and three touchdowns - all to Reggie Wayne - in a 34-31 victory at Denver on October 29.

Then last week, Manning threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns - both to Marvin Harrison - in a 27-20 triumph at New England.

While Manning dissected the Patriots' defense, the Colts intercepted two-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady four times, including two by linebacker Cato June.

"The coverage is going to increase (as the only unbeaten team left), but coach Dungy doesn't want us to get caught up in the hype," Manning said.

Manning is the NFL's passing leader with a 106.0 rating, completing 65 percent of his passes (183-of-281) for 2,291 yards and 17 touchdowns with three interceptions.

The potent tandem of Harrison and Wayne have been too much for secondaries to handle. Harrison has 52 catches for 698 yards and five touchdowns and Wayne has 44 receptions for 732 yards and five scores.

On Sunday, Harrison and Wayne will match up against cornerbacks Nate Clements and Terrence McGee.

Look for Manning to go over the middle with his receivers and use his tight ends Dallas Clark and Ben Utecht against rookie safeties Donte Whitner and Ko Simpson.

The loss of two-time rushing champion Edgerrin James and a run defense that ranks last in the league have not prevented the Colts from winning all of their games.

Rookie Joseph Addai, the Colts' first-round pick, has produced 490 yards on 105 carries. James, who left Indianapolis to sign a four-year, $30 million contract with Arizona, has rushed for 516 yards, but is averaging just 2.8 yards per carry.

Willis McGahee will not get a crack at the Colts' porous run defense. McGahee, who has rushed for 579 yards this season, suffered three broken ribs in the Bills' 24-10 win over Green Bay last week.

Anthony Thomas replaced McGahee last week and produced 95 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

Buffalo forced four turnovers, including a 17-yard interception return for a touchdown by linebacker London Fletcher-Baker.

The Colts have won the last five meetings, although the last one took place in 2003.

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