Bengals 16

(8-6, 4-3 away)

Colts 34

(11-3, 7-0 home)

Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

8:30 PM ET, December 18, 2006


1 2 3 4 T
CIN 3 7 3 316
IND 3 14 14 334

Top Performers

Passing: P. Manning (IND) - 282 YDS, 4 TD

Rushing: R. Johnson (CIN) - 22 CAR, 79 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: M. Harrison (IND) - 8 REC, 86 YDS, 3 TD

Cincinnati (8-5) at Indianapolis (10-3)

Cincinnati (8-5) at Indianapolis (10-3) Monday 8:30 pm EST

INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer engaged in quite a shootout less than 13 months ago. The rematch takes place on Monday night when the Indianapolis Colts host the Cincinnati Bengals.

The first-place Colts have lost three of their last four games after a 9-0 start while the Bengals have won four in a row to move into a tie for the lead with Jacksonville in the AFC wild-card race.

Indianapolis can clinch a playoff berth with a win or a loss by Denver, which plays at Arizona. The Colts can also seal their fourth straight AFC South title with a win and a loss by Jacksonville, which plays at Tennessee.

A two-time NFL MVP, Manning has passed for an AFC-high 3,628 yards and 22 touchdowns with nine interceptions for a quarterback rating of 95.9.

Palmer leads the conference with a passer rating of 98.7, completing 65 percent of his passes for 3,399 yards and 24 touchdowns with 11 interceptions.

Manning got the best of Palmer in the Colts' 45-37 win at Cincinnati in November 2005.

Manning threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns while Palmer threw for 335 yards and two scores with an interception.

"I remember it was a lot of fun," Palmer said. "It was a shootout and that's what we expected."

The game featured 943 yards - 492 by the Bengals and 451 by the Colts.

Manning was nearly flawless on Indianapolis' first five possessions which all resulted in touchdowns, completing 16-of-20 passes for 272 yards and three scores as the Colts built a 35-17 lead.

The Bengals scored 10 points in the last 1:29 of the first half and opened the second half with a touchdown to pull within 35-34.

Chad Johnson caught eight passes for 189 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown for Cincinnati.

Reggie Wayne had five receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown for the Colts.

Last week, Indianapolis' Marvin Harrison became just the fourth player in NFL history to reach 1,000 career receptions (1,001), joining Jerry Rice, Cris Carter and Tim Brown.

But the talk in Indianapolis is not about the explosive offense. Instead, the focus is on a run defense which is the worst in the league and hit rock bottom with 375 rushing yards allowed in last week's 44-17 loss at Jacksonville.

The 375 yards is tied for the third most in the NFL since the Super Bowl era began in 1966.

"It's fixable," Colts coach Tony Dungy said of his team's run defense.

It may not. The Colts yielded 251 rushing yards in the first half alone against the Jaguars.

"We know what the problem is and now the country knows what our problem is," said Colts defensive tackle Anthony McFarland, who was acquired from Tampa Bay to help shore up the run defense.

The previous week, Indianapolis yielded 219 yards on the ground in a 20-17 loss at Tennessee.

On Monday, the Colts will not be able to stack the box because of Cincinnati's dangerous passing game. So it will be up to the front seven to try and contain Rudi Johnson, who is fifth in the AFC with 1,054 rushing yards.

Last week, Rudi Johnson ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries in the Bengals' 27-10 win over Oakland.

While Indianapolis' defense is struggling, the Bengals' defense is improving under coach Marvin Lewis. Cincinnati has allowed a total of 17 points in its last three games. The Bengals recorded four sacks, including two by end Robert Geathers, in their win at Oakland.

The Colts will play the rest of the season without third receiver Brandon Stokley, who tore his Achilles in the loss at Jacksonville.


Passing Leaders

A. Dalton63.531541715
M. Sanu100.07910
A. Luck61.746013816
M. Hasselbeck68.014610

Rushing Leaders

J. Hill19910245.19
G. Bernard1656724.15
T. Richardson1535083.33
A. Bradshaw904254.72

Receiving Leaders

A. Green6195915.76
M. Sanu5577414.15
T. Hilton82134516.47
C. Fleener4671815.66

Team Averages & NFL Ranks

Total YardsCIN
Yards PassingCIN
Yards RushingCIN
Yards AllowedCIN
Pass Yds AllowedCIN
Rush Yds AllowedCIN

Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)

Indianapolis leads 3-0
Nov 20, 2005CIN 37, IND 45
Oct 6, 2002CIN 21, @IND 28