<
>

Colts improve to 7-0 all-time vs. Texans

HOUSTON (AP) -- The Indianapolis Colts want their fast start to
pave the way to a big finish.


Peyton Manning was uncharacteristically sloppy at times, fumbled
for the first time this season and was intercepted on a poorly
thrown pass but he did enough to lead Indianapolis to a 38-20
victory Sunday over the winless Houston Texans that gave the Colts
their first 7-0 record.

The Colts, who gave coach Tony Dungy his 100th NFL victory, will
have a bye next week before a showdown with New England on Nov. 7.

"It's a good start, but that's all it is," Manning said. "It
doesn't guarantee anything. I'm just glad we've taken care of
business these first seven weeks. It was important to have some
momentum heading into the bye week."

The Colts remained perfect despite two first-half turnovers.
They broke a 14-14 halftime tie with 24 straight second-half points
and held the hapless Texans to minus-4 yards after the break.

"I'm so proud of them for being able to get in that situation,
pick up the tempo and make things happen and pull away," Dungy
said. "But the disappointing thing is that we allow ourselves to
get in there."

It was the Colts' second straight slow start after coming back
from a 17-0 deficit for a 45-28 win on Monday against St. Louis.

The Texans (0-6) are off to the worst start in their four-season
history and dropped to 0-7 against the Colts.

"There is nothing you can say to describe this," said Texans
receiver Jabar Gaffney, who caught a touchdown pass in the first
half. "It's terrible. This is the lowest point of my career. It
was just really depressing out there."

Manning rebounded from his first-half interception that allowed
Houston to be tied at the break and finished 21-of-27 for 237 yards
and two touchdowns.

Edgerrin James scored on a 9-yard run on the Colts' first
possession of the second half that put them ahead 21-14. The AFC
rushing leader finished with 139 yards and two touchdowns.

The Colts scored on their next two possessions to stretch the
lead to 31-14, and defensive end Montae Reagor -- a Texas native --
scooped up a fumble and ran 37 yards for their final score.

"We haven't always played our best, but we've stayed the course
and continued to fight throughout all 60 minutes of every game,"
Reagor said.

Houston used a steady dose of running back Domanick Davis in the
first half to eat up the clock. He had 85 of his 98 yards and a
touchdown before halftime.

Players seemed much more excited about Dungy's milestone than
the team's record mark.

"Every player on every team would like to have a coach like
Coach Dungy," James said. "It's hard to describe. But if every
player around the league got to work for Coach Dungy, they'd
probably enjoy it a lot more."

Dungy is the 34th coach to reach 100 wins.

"It gives you a sense of consistency," Dungy said. "That's
the biggest thing it means to me."

The Texans attempted five passes in the first half and David
Carr was sacked just once. With Davis bottled up in the second
half, Houston tried to pass more but found little success.

At one stretch, Carr was sacked three times in a row and fumbled
twice, but the Texans recovered both times. On the next drive,
Robert Mathis got to Carr and forced the fumble that Reagor
returned all the way.

With that sack, Mathis -- the NFL leader -- set a franchise record
by recording one in his seventh straight game.

That touchdown prompted a small group of Texans fans to don
paper bags with eye holes, and it elicited streams of boos from the
restless crowd.

Carr was 6-of-9 for 48 yards with one touchdown and one
interception. He lost 42 yards on five sacks to bring his season
total to 35 and called the outing "embarrassing."

Houston, last in the league in offense, had 143 yards at
halftime and finished with a miserable 139 -- compared to 437 by
Indianapolis.

The Texans got their only points of the second half in the
fourth quarter when rookie Jerome Mathis, a former track star,
returned a kickoff 89 yards for the TD. It was the first kickoff
return for a touchdown in Texans history.

Game notes
Colts TE Dallas Clark had a season-high 51 yards receiving
and his first touchdown of the year. ... Mathis' kickoff return TD
was the first against Indianapolis since November 2003 when New
England's Bethel Johnson scored on a 92-yard return. ... LB DaShon
Polk, who started his first game of the season in place of injured
Kailee Wong, led Houston with 10 tackles.