As for Peyton Manning? He was mostly along for the ride.
Rookie running back Joseph Addai rushed for 171 yards and tied a
franchise record with four touchdowns, and the Colts' defense never
let Philadelphia get close as Indianapolis routed the Eagles 45-21
on Sunday night.
The Colts (10-1) rebounded from their first loss of the season
last week, and can clinch their 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."
Philadelphia (5-6) played its first game without Donovan McNabb,
who will miss the rest of the season with a torn knee ligament. But
the Eagles couldn't blame this one on McNabb's absence.
Jeff Garcia, McNabb's replacement, was 19-of-23 for 140 yards
and two TDs. Brian Westbrook ran 20 times for 124 yards and one
touchdown, becoming the first Eagles player since Wilbert
Montgomery in 1981 to produce three straight 100-yard games.
But the Eagles made mistakes all night, and the Colts took
Addai set an NFL rookie record for scoring with a late 4-yard
run. The previous high for points scored by a rookie in a game was
18, a mark reached in 1956, 1994 and 1996.
Lenny Moore, Lydell Mitchell and Eric Dickerson are the only
other Colts players with four TDs in one game. Addai was the first
Colts rookie to achieve that feat, and produced the fourth-highest
rushing total by a rookie in franchise history.
Addai still didn't think it was good enough.
"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
Manning wasted little time in putting the game away early in the
second half. He threw a 15-yard TD pass to Reggie Wayne to make it
Manning's first complete pass, a 17-yarder to Wayne on the
opening series, made him the fastest player in league history to
reach 3,000. The two-time MVP reached the mark in 139 games,
breaking a record previously shared by Dan Marino and Drew Bledsoe
of 146, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
He finished 14-of-20 for 183 yards, giving him 3,013 career
completions but was more content with the win.
But it was Addai who stole the show. His slashing runs produced
huge chunks of yardage and when he wasn't cutting to open spots, he
was overpowering defenders. Addai, who entered this week as the
NFL's leading rookie runner, carried 24 times and caught two passes
for 37 yards.
"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."
In contrast, the Eagles did little right.
From a poor early decision to challenge Wayne's one-handed,
38-yard catch to Hank Baskett's botched pass that was picked off by
Nick Harper to David Akers' missed 36-yard field goal, the game was
filled with errors -- none of which were attributed to the absence
The first time Philadelphia did score, on L.J. Smith's 1-yard TD
catch with 1:19 left in the half, it gave Manning too much time. He
closed out the half by setting up Adam Vinatieri's 44-yard field
Manning led Indy on a 79-yard opening drive, capped by Addai's
15-yard run to make it 7-0. Addai followed that with a 10-yard run
on the first play of the second quarter to give Indy a 14-0 lead,
then extended the margin to 21-0 when he made two terrific cuts on
another 15-yard TD run.
The second half wasn't much better for Philly. Indianapolis
forced a quick punt and Manning led the Colts on an 89-yard drive,
capped by a 15-yard TD pass to Wayne for a 31-7 lead.
Philadelphia got closer when Garcia threw a 3-yard TD pass to
Reggie Brown late in the third quarter, and when Westbrook scored
on a 6-yard run with 10:13 left, the Eagles were within 31-21.
But they never seriously threatened the Colts, who used a
time-consuming drive to seal the victory.
^Notes: Indianapolis lost tight end Dallas Clark with a sprained
right knee late in the first half, but the team gave no additional
details on his injury. ... Garcia sat out the final series with a
right forearm strain. Garcia said he could have played, but decided
against risking further any injury.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck tried his hand at auto racing on Wednesday, doing a few laps with former Indy 500 champion Mario Andretti.
Broncos offensive lineman Ty Sambrailo will get a shot at guard this season, but the coaches know he also has the ability to play tackle.
New York Jets DT Sheldon Richardson is keeping a positive attitude regarding his offseason workouts and possible discipline from the NFL.
ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini says that with Ryan Fitzpatrick still unsigned, Geno Smith led the first-team offense and looked sharp on Wednesday and Smith said he sees this as an opportunity.
ESPN NFL analyst Herm Edwards explains that kicker Blair Walsh will be able to put last year's wild-card field goal miss behind him because the Vikings will provide the opportunity for him to get back in similar situations over and over again.
Undrafted rookie Claudell Louis relishes the chance to play for Buffalo, an opportunity he didn't think possible on his accidental path to football.