Tue, Jan 11, 2005 - Page 20 News List

Colts fly past Broncos as Vikes win

AP , INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANAAP, NEW YORK

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning prepares to pass as tackle Jake Scott, left, tries to block the Broncos' Ellis Johnson during the second half in Indianapolis on Sunday.

PHOTO: EPA

Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning threw four touchdown passes and ran one in to lead the Colts' 49-24 rout of the Denver Broncos in the NFL playoffs on Sunday.

Manning displayed exactly how he broke Dan Marino's 20-year-old NFL mark by throwing for 49 touchdowns this season. By hitting 27 of 33 passes, he threw for 457 yards, the second most in playoffs history.

Only Bernie Kosar in 1986 had more yards in a playoff game, and he needed double overtime to get 489.

The Colts (13-4) go to the defending champion New England Patriots next Sunday for a rematch of last year's AFC title game, and they bring with them an even more diversified attack.

Against the overmatched Broncos (10-7), Reggie Wayne finished with 221 yards, the third most in playoff history, on 10 catches, with two touchdowns. Dallas Clark, who was concussed in last week's regular-season loss at Denver, had 112 yards and a score.

Manning had a record 360 yards and three touchdowns by halftime, and for good measure, he sneaked in from the 1 with 6 seconds left in the half, making it 35-3 and drawing handshakes from nearly every teammate for his first rushing TD in more than two years.

To its credit, Denver came back with Jake Plummer's TD passes of 9 yards to Rod Smith and 35 to Jeb Putzier in the third period. But Manning hit Wayne with a screen pass and the receiver did the rest for a 43-yard score and a 42-17 lead.

Dominic Rhodes' 2-yard run finished the scoring and set a Colts playoff record of 49 points.

Vikings 31, Packers 17

At Green Bay, Wisconsin, the Minnesota Vikings got the last laugh on the stunned Green Bay Packers.

Randy Moss caught two touchdown passes, making good on his promise to atone for walking off the field last week while his teammates were trying to win their regular season finale.

The Vikings, joining the St. Louis Rams as the only 8-8 teams ever to win in the playoffs, will travel to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday after dominating the first postseason meeting with their bitter border rivals.

Green Bay had swept the season series, including a last-second win at the Metrodome two weeks ago to clinch the NFC North crown and the home field for Sunday's showdown at Lambeau Field, where the Packers have lost two playoff games in the last three years.

Daunte Culpepper threw four touchdown passes -- giving him 11 TD passes and no interceptions against Green Bay this season -- and the Vikings picked off four Brett Favre passes after managing just 11 interceptions all season.

Minnesota scored on its first three possessions, jumping out to a 17-0 lead in avenging two 34-31 losses to the Packers, who entered the playoffs as the NFC's hottest team.

The Packers, who lost Pro Bowl receiver Javon Walker to a shin injury in the first half and left tackle Chad Clifton in the third quarter, pulled to 24-17 on Najeh Davenport's 1-yard plunge with 13:37 left.

But penalty-prone rookie cornerback Ahmad Carroll committed two costly infractions that set up Culpepper's 34-yard touchdown toss to Moss.

The Indianapolis Colts' joy at beating the flawed Denver Broncos 49-24 inside their home dome on Sunday was tempered by the caliber of their opponent next week: The defending champion New England Patriots.

The Colts' Peyton Manning is the best active NFL quarterback and moving up the list of the best ever, but its one thing to win in a climate-controled stadium and another to go into frigid Foxboro, Massachusetts against the winner of two of the last three Super Bowls.

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