Tue, Dec 28, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Peyton Manning sets record and wins

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE The cardiac Colts, led by their record-setting quarterback, tied up the Chargers in the final minute of play, and then drove for the OT win

AP , INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANAAP, HUNTERSVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

Jerome Bettis of the Steelers carries the ball against the Ravens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Sunday. Pittsburgh won 20-7.

PHOTO: AFP

Peyton Manning got both the win and the season record for touchdown passes.

He rallied the Indianapolis Colts from a 15-point deficit in the final quarter, throwing his record-breaking 49th touchdown pass of the season to help tie the game in the last minute of regulation, then leading the winning drive in overtime as the Colts defeated San Diego 34-31 Sunday.

The victory was the eighth straight for the Colts (12-3) and gave Indianapolis the No. 3 seed in the playoffs. San Diego's winning streak ended at eight games. The Chargers (11-4) will still host a first-round game as the No. 4 seed.

Manning, who tied Dan Marino's record on a 3-yard shovel pass to James Mungro, threw a 21-yard TD pass to a wide open Brandon Stokley with 56 seconds left in regulation to break the record. Edgerrin James then ran for the 2-point conversion to tie the game at 31, a play Manning called at the line.

In overtime, Manning hooked up with Stokley on a 23-yard gain, then found Reggie Wayne on a 35-yard catch-and-run, setting up Mike Vanderjagt's winning field goal from 30 yards with 12:13 to go.

Steelers 20, Ravens 7

In Pittsburgh, the Steelers wrapped up home-field advantage in the AFC as Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes before being pulled with a rib injury.

The Steelers (14-1) won't have a meaningful game until Jan. 15 or 16. But a team that has been playing without six injured regulars sustained two more injuries, as both Roethlisberger and cornerback Deshea Townsend (wrist) were pulled in the fourth quarter.

After being leveled by Terrell Suggs while throwing a 2-yard scoring pass to Jerame Tuman that put Pittsburgh up 17-7 late in the third quarter, Roethlisberger was assisted off the field -- a large clump of grass sticking out of the left side of his face mask. Roethlisberger returned on Pittsburgh's next drive, but was replaced by Tommy Maddox. The loss all but eliminated the Ravens (8-7) from playoff contention.

Seahawks 24, Cardinals 21

In Seattle, Shaun Alexander rushed 30 times for 154 yards with three touchdowns and Darrell Jackson caught six passes for 101 yards as Seattle clinched a playoff berth.

The Seahawks (8-7) will clinch the NFC West if Philadelphia beats St. Louis on Monday night. It's the first time Seattle has made the playoffs in consecutive years since 1983-1984.

Josh McCown threw a pair of 29-yard TD strikes to Larry Fitzgerald in the fourth quarter, pulling the Cardinals (5-10) to 24-21 with 2:30 to play. He also found Fitzgerald for a score with 11:32 remaining.

Patriots 23, Jets 7

In East Rutherford, New Jersey, Tom Brady and New England dominated division rival New York to clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Jets (10-5) must win their finale at St. Louis next week to be assured of making the AFC playoffs as a wild card.

Brady threw two touchdown passes and went 21-of-32 for 264 yards after tying a career high with four picks against Miami. The Patriots defense, which surrendered an 11-point lead with 4 minutes remaining in the Miami game, harassed Chad Pennington all day and stopped NFL leading rusher Curtis Martin.

Panthers 37, Buccaneers 20

In Tampa, Florida, Jake Delhomme threw for 214 yards and four touchdowns, helping the defending NFC champions move within a victory of clinching a playoff berth.

The Panthers (7-8) won for the sixth time in seven games after a 1-7 start, and can earn a wild-card spot by beating New Orleans at home next Sunday.

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