Final

Browns 6

(1-2, 1-1 away)

Colts 13

(3-0, 2-0 home)

1:00 PM ET, September 25, 2005

 

1 2 3 4 T
CLE 0 3 0 36
IND 7 3 3 013

Top Performers

Passing: P. Manning (IND) - 228 YDS, 1 INT

Rushing: E. James (IND) - 27 CAR, 108 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: R. Wayne (IND) - 6 REC, 97 YDS

Colts win seventh straight home game

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Peyton Manning is still setting records, but the Indianapolis Colts' ground game and defense are producing the wins.

It was over when ...
The Colts used two time-consuming drives in the second half to keep the Browns from getting the ball. When the Browns got the ball, the Colts defense kept them from scoring.
Game ball goes to ...
Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison. Manning became the second-fastest QB to top 30,000 yards passing, and he and Harrison broke the previous quarterback-receiver record by combining for 9,568 yards.
ESPN's take ...
Eric Allen The only person excited and happy about the Colts in Indianapolis is Tony Dungy because the defense is finally about where he wants it. The secondary is really young, but is flying around the ball and making big plays. People need to stop calling the Colts' inability to match last year's numbers a slump. This isn't a slump, this is an offense that has faced three very good defenses so far this season. Once they get a bad defense on the field we'll see what offensive firepower is all about.
-- Eric Allen

Edgerrin James topped 100 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season Sunday while the Colts used another strong defensive effort and two time-consuming drives in the second half to hold off the Cleveland Browns 13-6.

"There's been times where we've been 2-1 and scoring a lot of points and everybody says, 'What's wrong with the defense?'" Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "I think when our offense gets into situations when we have to score and play up-tempo, I'm pretty confident we'll be able to score."

Indianapolis (3-0) followed this year's standard formula to win a record seventh straight at the RCA Dome.

With the Browns (1-2) defending the deep pass, Manning let James grind it out. He carried 27 times for 108 yards, and the Colts' suddenly impressive defense took care of the rest by pressuring Trent Dilfer and shutting down the Browns' running game.

Indianapolis has allowed 16 points in its first three games, the best start in franchise history. The previous best was in 1971, when the Colts allowed 17 points before posting a shutout in Week 4. The Colts are the sixth team since World War II to hold the first three opponents to single digits, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Only the 1962 Packers did it in the first four games.

"They're making you throw the ball in front of them and using their speed to make the plays," Browns coach Romeo Crennel said. "They're fast."

For the third straight week, an opposing defense kept Manning and the Colts' high-scoring offense from getting in sync.

Manning was 19-of-23 for 228 yards with one interception against his old nemesis, Crennel, who had won six straight against Manning since 2001 as Patriots defensive coordinator.

Still, Manning did enough to become the second-fastest quarterback to top 30,000 yards passing in his 115th game. Miami's Dan Marino did it in 114 games.

Manning also hooked up with Marvin Harrison six times for 53 yards, making the duo the most prolific in NFL history. Harrison and Manning have now combined for 9,568 yards, breaking the quarterback-receiver record previously held by Buffalo's Jim Kelly and Andre Reed. Kelly and Reed combined for 9,538 yards.

Dilfer was every bit as good as Manning, the two-time MVP. One week after outplaying three-time MVP Brett Favre in Green Bay, Dilfer stood up to the pressure and finished 22-of-29 for 208 yards.

Reuben Droughns carried 22 times for 76 yards, and after Cleveland and Indianapolis entered the game as the league's only teams that hadn't allowed a sack, the Browns allowed four in the first half. Last year's sacks champion Dwight Freeney had three of them.

Dilfer also had to shake off a couple more big hits in the third quarter, including one that appeared to be low -- a tactic opponents have complained about recently. The play didn't cause much concern for Dilfer, who appeared to limp slightly after the hit.

"I asked the ref if the hit was low and late," Dilfer said. "He said he was pushed into me. I don't get caught up in that other stuff. If you do, you can lose your focus."

The Browns had bigger issues Sunday.

Their first drive stalled after two penalties, and then they had an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown called back on Frisman Jackson's illegal block. The defense failed to stop the Colts over the final 7:40, when Indy drove to the Cleveland 6 before running out the clock.

It was pure frustration.

"I came in feeling we could score three or four touchdowns," Dilfer said. "I thought we were better than the first two teams they played. I thought our game plan was better. We just didn't make the big play, that's very discouraging."

Manning's supporting cast was the difference.

A 23-yard completion to Bryan Fletcher set up James' 2-yard TD run -- the Colts' first TD in the first half this season. Reggie Wayne's 51-yard catch-and-run set up one of Mike Vanderjagt's two field goals, and the Colts closed it out by grinding up more than 15 minutes on two second-half drives.

That was all the Colts needed.

"Our offense just is not quite on all cylinders. What our offense is doing is making clutch drives," Dungy said. "We are doing a lot of things we need to. I think we're going to be fine."

Game notes


Cleveland's Phil Dawson made field goals from 40 and 22 yards, while Vanderjagt hit from 20 and 23 yards. ... Antonio Bryant caught seven passes for 75 yards. ... Dilfer and Manning combined to complete all 11 passes in the first quarter. ... Freeney produced his fourth game with three or more sacks. ... The Browns have played the eventual Super Bowl champion every year since 1999.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
CLE
IND
1st Downs1420
Passing 1st downs
813
Rushing 1st downs
66
1st downs from penalties
01
3rd down efficiency
6-144-10
4th down efficiency
1-10-0
Total Plays5656
Total Yards263339
Yards per play4.76.1
Total Drives97
Passing188228
Comp-Att
22-2919-23
Yards per pass
5.79.9
Interceptions thrown
01
Sacks-Yards Lost
4-200-0
Rushing75111
Rushing Attempts
2333
Yards per rush
3.33.4
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-20-4
Penalties7-623-15
Turnovers01
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
01
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession28:2231:38

Passing Leaders

CLEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Dilfer22/292087.2004-20
INDC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Manning19/232289.9010-0

Rushing Leaders

CLECARYDSAVGTDLG
Droughns22763.5022
Green1-1-1.00-1
INDCARYDSAVGTDLG
James271084.0113
Carthon362.003

Receiving Leaders

CLERECYDSAVGTDLG
Bryant77510.7019
Edwards44310.8020
INDRECYDSAVGTDLG
Wayne69716.2051
Harrison6538.8016

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCLEIND
indTD4:14Edgerrin James, 2 yd run (Mike Vanderjagt kick is good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 66 yds, 3:59
07
SECOND QUARTERCLEIND
cleFG13:17Phil Dawson 32 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 53 yds, 9:11
37
indFG3:17Mike Vanderjagt 13 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 84 yds, 4:49
310
THIRD QUARTERCLEIND
indFG7:11Mike Vanderjagt 15 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 14 plays, 70 yds, 7:45
313
FOURTH QUARTERCLEIND
cleFG14:13Phil Dawson 15 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 19 plays, 86 yds, 7:12
613