Tue, Nov 13, 2007 - Page 18 News List

NFL: Colts come back against Chargers only to blow it

AFP , LOS ANGELES

The San Diego Chargers amassed a 23-point first-half lead then fought off a robust rally by defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts to win 23-21 on Sunday.

The Chargers (5-4) intercepted Peyton Manning a career-high six times and sent Indianapolis (7-2) to its second consecutive National Football League defeat.

Adam Vinatieri, who won two Super Bowls for New England with last-second kicks, missed a 29-yard field goal attempt with 1:31 left.

It was only the second time in his career that Vinatieri has missed a field goal under 30 yards in the fourth quarter.

"The defense set us up in first half to get some scores," said Chargers LaDanian Tomlinson. "We know that if we keep on battling and keep on playing then good things are going to happen.

"It did when Adam missed the field goal. I didn't expect him to miss it, but he did and I am happy he did."

Darren Sproles ran both a kick return and a punt return for touchdowns as the Chargers seemingly had the game in hand.

San Diego took a 16-0 lead after one quarter and padding the advantage to 23-0 on Tomlinson's four-yard touchdown run with 8:47 left in the first half.

"Great teams know how to fight and come back and win," San Diego's Shawne Merriman said.

The Colts replied in rainy conditions by scoring two quick fourth-quarter touchdowns in a span of 32 seconds and then got an interception from linebacker Clint Sessions -- his second of the game.

Manning started the comeback in the third quarter. He led a 90-yard drive by completing five-of-six passes, capped off by a seven-yard pass to Kenton Keith with 14:51 remaining. A two-point conversion shaved the Chargers lead to 23-15.

After San Diego took over on its own eight-yard line, quarterback Philip Rivers threw two incompletions before fumbling the third-down play into the end zone, where Gary Brackett recovered for a score.

Running back Joseph Addai was stopped short of the end zone on the two-point try, pulling the Colts with 23-21 with 14:27.

"This is one of the most disappointing games we've had since I have been here," said Colts' coach Tony Dungy.

Sproles ran back the opening kickoff 89 yards and added a 46-yard punt return for a touchdown for San Diego.

The Dallas Cowboys seized control of the NFC East by sweeping the season series from the New York Giants and snapping their six-game win streak with a 31-20 win on Sunday.

Terrell Owens made six catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns -- including a 50-yard catch and touchdown run that sealed the win.

Tony Romo threw four touchdown passes, including a pair of second-half strikes to Owens. Romo finished 20-of-28 for 247 yards with one interception.

Ben Roethlisberger rallied the Pittsburgh Steelers with two touchdown passes and a run for another in a 31-29 win over the Cleveland Browns.

In other games on Sunday:

* Atlanta 20, Carolina 13

* Green Bay 34, Minnesota 0

* Denver 27, Kansas City 11

* Buffalo 13, Miami 10

* St.Louis 37, New Orleans 29

* Jacksonville 28, Tennessee 13

* Philadelphia 33, Washington 25

* Cincinnati 21, Baltimore 7

* Arizona 31, Detroit 21

* Chicago 17, Oakland 6

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