INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Tony Dungy wanted Saturday night's preseason game to be a tuneup for the defending Super Bowl champions.
Peyton Manning was thinking more about cleaning up.
The Super Bowl MVP threw three first-half touchdowns and was nearly perfect as the Indianapolis Colts routed Detroit 37-10 for Indy's second win in 13 preseason games.
"Detroit was pretty active in their blitzes, and when they're doing that, it's going to give you some chances to throw the ball," Manning said. "Our execution in the passing game was pretty good."
Manning made it look easy.
When he last faced the Lions on Thanksgiving in 2004, Manning threw six TDs, a number he might have matched Saturday had he not been replaced at halftime of a meaningless game.
But in what was likely to be the final preseason appearance for most of Indy's starters, Manning appeared to be in midseason form. He completed 23-of-27 for 233 yards and three TDs and made the unlikely seem routine by converting six first downs of 10 yards or longer.
Manning is now 31-of-40 for 331 yards with no interceptions in three weeks, and the offense played well enough against Detroit that coach Tony Dungy uncharacteristically changed the script by pulling his starters at halftime. Dungy had intended to use them into the third quarter.
"We were shooting for 35 to 40 plays but we ran 45 in the first half, so we decided to pull them out," Dungy said. "We did see some good things tonight, and that's what we wanted."
Besides, why risk injury when virtually everything worked?
Marvin Harrison beat single coverage on a slant route for a 13-yard touchdown to give Indy a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter. There was a lobbed dump pass in the end zone that the lunging Dallas Clark scooped off the turf for a 5-yard score to make it 14-3. Then came the nifty 1-yard TD pass to Reggie Wayne with 5 seconds left in the half, a ball Manning whizzed past the head of an unknowing Stanley Wilson, for a 21-3 halftime lead.
For Detroit, it was nothing short of a nightmare.
Not only did the Lions look overmatched, they also lost three starters to injuries. Running back Tatum Bell, acquired in a March trade with Denver, left in the first quarter after hurting what appeared to be his right leg. Linebacker Boss Bailey left with a slight concussion, and safety Daniel Bullocks will have an MRI on his injured knee Sunday. None of the three returned.
"I think we need to learn what we can't do versus a good team like this," Bailey said. "We were playing hard, playing fast. We've just got to make the plays."
Worse yet, the offense that led the league in yardage this preseason was stuck in neutral.
Detroit started J.T. O'Sullivan at quarterback because Jon Kitna had a twinge in his back, and the result was a mess. The Lions ran only seven plays in the first quarter and managed six first downs the entire half -- compared with the Colts' 17.
O'Sullivan finished 24-of-34 for 232 yards with one TD and two interceptions. Calvin Johnson, the second overall pick in April's draft, had three catches for 25 yards.
It wasn't anywhere near what coach Rod Marinelli wanted.
"We have to work on turnovers and ball security," Marinelli said. "The only red flags were to make sure we don't take penalties, tackle better and take care of the ball."
The Colts also had two potentially significant injuries.
Clark, Indy's top tight end, emerged from the locker room after halftime with an ice pack wrapped around his right thigh.
And three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney went to the locker room before halftime with what was believed to be a quadriceps injury. He watched the second half from the sidelines in street clothes. Dungy downplayed the injury, saying Freeney could have played if it was a regular-season game.
Judging from Manning's performance, it wasn't far off.
"That's what we expect to do every time we go out there -- move the ball, make big plays, score touchdowns," Wayne said. "Offensively, we've been together for a while, so you shouldn't expect anything less."
The Colts matched their highest point total in a preseason game since a 37-7 win at New Orleans in 1999. They haven't scored more than 37 in a preseason game since 1965 against Pittsburgh. ... T.J. Duckett led the Lions in rushing with five carries for 16 yards. ... Sorgi was 16-of-23 for 171 yards with two TDs and no interceptions. ... All-but-declared Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson attended the game.
There was no ruling in the Deflategate case Tuesday. Late in the afternoon, the federal judge hearing the case said he "anticipates" issuing his decision by the end of the week.
In thanking fans for their support over his nine-year career, ex-Bills running back Fred Jackson also took a parting shot at general manager Doug Whaley in an interview with The Buffalo News.
According to Russell Wilson, it wasn't until an April trip to Hawaii that Seahawks players finally put last season's Super Bowl loss behind them.
Texans owner Bob McNair said J.J. Watt would not have destroyed his cellphone if faced with the same situation as the Patriots' Tom Brady in his dispute with the NFL over deflated footballs.
Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas will have surgery on Wednesday to repair ligament damage in his right hand.
Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel says he's had to manage elbow soreness since his freshman year in college, and that he does not need surgery.