Final

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

Manning, Harrison add to prolific record as Colts top Bengals

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Peyton Manning felt cuddly warm thanks to his favorite receiver.

Of course, Manning to Marvin Harrison is the surest way to get the Indianapolis Colts out of a funk.

NFL All-Time TD Passing Leaders

Peyton Manning
Manning
Peyton Manning moved into a tie with Vinny Testaverde for eighth on the all-time touchdown pass list, but he reached his number in a much shorter time.
PlayerYearsTDs
1. Dan Marino17420
2. Brett Favre*16413
3. Fran Tarkenton18342
4. John Elway16300
5. Warren Moon17291
6. Johnny Unitas18290
7. Joe Montana15273
8. Vinny Testaverde*20269
8. Peyton Manning* 9269
10. Dave Krieg19261
* -- Active.

The most prolific passing duo in NFL history tore apart the Cincinnati Bengals, combining for three touchdowns in a 34-16 victory Monday night.

"When your backs are against the wall, you go to that old blanket," Manning said. "I'm thankful for those guys every day. Without those two, Marvin and Reggie (Wayne) ...

"I watch other quarterbacks in the league and none of them have two guys like that. One great receiver, but not two great receivers. It makes my job easier."

So did the Colts' maligned defense, which woke up after Indy dropped three of its last four games and yielded an incomprehensible 375 yards rushing a week ago to Jacksonville. Cincinnati gained 278 yards overall, much of it after the outcome was decided.

"The defense felt really challenged to stop the run and get the offense back on the field," Manning said. "We did a good job of staying on the field tonight and getting into a groove."

It was vintage Manning, throwing to Harrison and dominating for the AFC South champion Colts (11-3), while the Bengals (8-6) slipped back in the wild-card race with their first loss in five weeks. They'd allowed 33 points in those four wins, one less than Indy scored Monday night.

"On some teams, it's almost like you have two different teams," Manning said. "We try to stick together."

Scouts Inc.'s take ...
Indianapolis WR Marvin Harrison had a clear advantage over Cincinnati's Jonathan Joseph and the Colts exploited it for points. Peyton Manning was deadly accurate, efficient and patient. He was continually checking down when his primary option was taken away. Cincinnati was unable to pressure Manning consistently with just its front four and he took full advantage of the time in the pocket. The Colts' stretch runs paid dividends as the game went along and allowed Manning to utilize his outstanding play-action skills to freeze the linebackers.

Carson Palmer, meanwhile, pressed and looked tight in his quest to keep up with Manning. Rudi Johnson gashed the Colts, inflicting a lot of punishment, but after Indianapolis got up on the scoreboard, Johnson's role became less prominent.

Manning, 5-0 against Cincinnati, had one of the sharpest outings of his brilliant career, although he never looked deep because the Bengals couldn't cover anyone on quick-hitting routes. He was 29-for-36 for 282 yards, a 136.3 rating, and his 15th career four-touchdown outing. In addition to bringing his total TD throws to Harrison to 103, he found Wayne on an 18-yarder and passed Vinny Testaverde for eighth place with 270 career touchdown passes.

"We have so much talent offensively, we know that at any time we can make things happen, no matter who has the ball," Wayne said. "So whenever you give him time to throw the ball, we know he'll light it up."

Manning was helped greatly by Cincinnati's inability to rush him or handle receivers coming off the line. More than half his completions came on short patterns where a Colt was wide open.

"That's just him," Bengals cornerback Tory James said of Manning. "He did what he do. He did his job, which is what he does every time."

And the Colts never let the Bengals' fourth-ranked passing attack hit stride. Dwight Freeney led the defense with three sacks and Carson Palmer was a pedestrian 14-for-28 for 176 yards.

Elias Says

Marvin Harrison
Marvin Harrison caught three of Manning's touchdown passes. It was the ninth time that Harrison scored on three or more receptions in a game, the second-highest total in NFL history. Jerry Rice had 11 such games.

All three of Harrison's TDs were on plays of less than five yards. The only other player to score on three pass receptions of four yards or less in one game was Lance Alworth (1968).

• For more Elias Says, Click here

"We went out there and proved to ourselves that we could play well," Freeney said.

The victory kept Indianapolis even with Baltimore and one game behind San Diego in the race for top record in the AFC.

"Sometimes things get escalated," Manning said. "We lost two in a row, so we must have all these problems. We knew what was at stake. ... We're playing for a lot of momentum going into the postseason and for seeding."

The game became a poke-and-probe chess match in which Manning's patience and Harrison's polish were decisive. On the first two touchdowns, Harrison beat Cincinnati's coverage to the inside for 4- and 3-yard scores. He went the other way on the third, victimizing Deltha O'Neal for a 1-yarder that made it 24-13.

The touchdowns capped clock-sapping drives that had the Bengals' strong offense anxiously awaiting its chances. Cincinnati did almost nothing with those opportunities

Indy's suspect defense made the first big play of the night. Freeney, who had only 2½ sacks coming in, slammed into Palmer from behind and knocked the ball loose for Anthony McFarland to recover at the Bengals 46.

That led to Adam Vinatieri's 30-yard field goal.

Shayne Graham tied it 3-3 with a 27-yarder set up by some poor tackling by the Colts on Rudi Johnson.

With Indy up 10-3, Terrence Wilkins unwisely fielded a well-covered punt at his 25 and dropped the ball. Cincinnati's Tony Stewart recovered, leading to Rudi Johnson's 12-yard run that tied it 10-10.

No matter as Manning calmly led a 13-play drive using up all but 13 seconds of the half. He even scrambled for 12 yards on third-and-9, and then Harrison used another slant-in for a 3-yard touchdown.

Cincinnati's passing attack managed 17 yards in the first half and couldn't protect Palmer from the inspired Freeney. And the Bengals rushed for just 133 yards.

"I'm not stunned -- disappointed," Palmer said. "I felt we had an opportunity to win, a chance to extend our season. I played terrible, I missed too many balls."

Cincinnati is tied with the Jaguars, Jets and Broncos for the two AFC wild-card berths.

Game Notes
Harrison finished with eight catches for 86 yards and Wayne had seven for 84 ... Colts rookie running back Joseph Addai left in the third quarter with an ankle injury that Dungy didn't think was serious. Bengals left tackle Willie Anderson hurt his right foot, while Chad Johnson needed an IV at halftime, but returned.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
CIN
IND
1st Downs2027
Passing 1st downs
1219
Rushing 1st downs
76
1st downs from penalties
12
3rd down efficiency
2-115-10
4th down efficiency
1-10-1
Total Plays6266
Total Yards278394
Yards per play4.56.0
Total Drives109
Passing145282
Comp-Att
14-2829-36
Yards per pass
4.57.6
Interceptions thrown
00
Sacks-Yards Lost
4-311-0
Rushing133112
Rushing Attempts
3029
Yards per rush
4.43.9
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-44-5
Penalties2-105-35
Turnovers11
Fumbles lost
11
Interceptions thrown
00
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession26:5633:04

Passing Leaders

CINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Palmer14/281766.3004-31
INDC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Manning29/362827.8401-0

Rushing Leaders

CINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson22793.6121
Watson4307.5013
INDCARYDSAVGTDLG
Rhodes19522.7016
Addai8506.3041

Receiving Leaders

CINRECYDSAVGTDLG
Watson35618.7046
Houshmandzadeh44912.3024
INDRECYDSAVGTDLG
Harrison88610.8322
Wayne78412.0120

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCININD
indFG8:03Adam Vinatieri 30 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 34 yds, 4:44
03
cinFG1:05Shayne Graham 27 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 13 plays, 66 yds, 6:55
33
SECOND QUARTERCININD
indTD10:29Marvin Harrison, 4 yd pass from Peyton Manning (Adam Vinatieri kick is good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 70 yds, 5:40
310
cinTD6:55Rudi Johnson, 12 yd run (Shayne Graham kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 25 yds, 2:07
1010
indTD0:17Marvin Harrison, 3 yd pass from Peyton Manning (Adam Vinatieri kick is good)
Drive info: 13 plays, 61 yds, 6:36
1017
THIRD QUARTERCININD
cinFG9:18Shayne Graham 30 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 43 yds, 2:51
1317
indTD6:40Marvin Harrison, 1 yd pass from Peyton Manning (Adam Vinatieri kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 75 yds, 2:38
1324
indTD2:21Reggie Wayne, 18 yd pass from Peyton Manning (Adam Vinatieri kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 57 yds, 3:18
1331
FOURTH QUARTERCININD
cinFG13:11Shayne Graham 28 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 69 yds, 4:09
1631
indFG5:30Adam Vinatieri 44 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 62 yds, 5:49
1634