Colts overcome mistakes, beat Redskins, 27-24
AP Sports Writer
LANDOVER, Md. – After Peyton Manning threw three first-half passes that should have been intercepted, his teammates made up for it by losing three fumbles in the second half. The defense did its part by missing too many tackles to count, and an attempt by the offense to kill the clock turned into more football follies.
The Indianapolis Colts aren’t supposed to bumble around like that, but it’s been that kind of year.
Give Manning and his team credit, however: He was able to complete enough passes, and Joseph Addai also made enough would-be tacklers whiff as he plowed through the NFL’s most generous defense. The Colts made up for their mistakes Sunday night by piling up 469 yards in a 27-24 victory over Washington.
“It’s one of these games where you just got to keep your poise,” said Colts cornerback Jerraud Powers, whose first-half interception of Donovan McNabb’s pass led to a touchdown.
“The standards and expectations of our team are so high that whenever we have a few bumps in the road, people seem to panic. ‘The Colts are going to have a bad year.’ Well, we’re going through the same stuff, if you look around the league, it’s pretty balanced right now, there’s no real dominant team out there. We’re working on being more consistent and finding our identity.”
Manning completed 25 of 38 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns to help the Colts (4-2) keep pace with Houston atop the AFC South. Addai ran 17 times for 128 yards and a 13-yard score, giving a boost for a largely dormant running game, before leaving in the second half because of a shoulder injury.
Mike Hart added 43 yards, helping Indianapolis to a season-high 170 on the ground. Pierre Garcon caught four passes for 103 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown reception, injuring his right ring finger along the way. Garcon said his finger wasn’t broken and that he should be fine after taking some painkillers..0
McNabb went 29 for 45 for 246 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for the Redskins (3-3), who fell a game behind Philadelphia and New York Giants in the NFC East. Ryan Torain ran for 100 yards, his first 100-yard game as he subs for the injured Clinton Portis.
But the Redskins, who seem to make every game suspenseful down to the final whistle despite a defense that gives up well over 400 yards per game, made it a tight one once again. McNabb went 10 for 11 on a 92-yard fourth-quarter drive that cut the Colts’ lead to three, hitting Keiland Williams for a 5-yard touchdown pass with 2:46 remaining.
Then the Colts, who live by the pass, nearly died by the pass. Starting at his own 20 with 2:42 to play, Manning had two passes broken up by Phillip Buchanon and one by LaRon Landry.
“We got looks that required us to throw the ball,” Colts coach Jim Caldwell. “We certainly know the situation there … but we needed to get a first down in that situation.”
After a punt, the Redskins got the ball back at their own 38 with 2:13 to go and all three timeouts – but McNabb threw long and incomplete on fourth-and-10. There was even time for Washington to get the ball again with under a minute to go, but McNabb’s long pass was picked off – one-handed – by Aaron Francisco.
The Colts had 294 yards at halftime but led only 17-7 in part because the usually reliable Adam Vinatieri was off the mark, missing two field goal attempts after an 8-for-8 start to the season.
Manning’s day would have been much worse if the Redskins secondary could catch the ball. Carlos Rogers dropped two would-be interceptions, including one in which he took three stumbling steps before the ball popped out when his backside hit the ground. Safety Kareem Moore later had one go through his hands, Manning’s only incompletion in a drive in which he went 7 for 8 for 64 yards with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Austin Collie.
“We just didn’t make the plays,” Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall said.
When the Colts had interceptions in their hands, they held on. After Powers picked off McNabb’s pass in the first quarter, Garcon outran the Redskins secondary on the very next play to haul in the 57-yarder for the game’s first touchdown.
The catch of the day also belonged to Garcon, who somehow made a backhanded, one-handed grab with his right hand while falling down for a 21-yard reception. The play set up a 43-yard field goal in the second quarter.
“Man, it was just really luck, man,” Garcon said. “I raised my hand and I tried to grab it and it really stuck to my gloves.”
The second-half fumbles kept the Redskins in the game. Brian Orakpo stripped Manning on a sack, and Torain scored four plays later to cut the Colts’ lead to 17-14.
Addai accounted for 63 of 66 yards on the next drive and bounced off would-be tacklers like a pinball on a 13-yard run that put Indianapolis ahead 24-14.
But Kenny Moore fumbled on a punt return, giving Washington another turnover with excellent field position. The Redskins recovered at the Colts 39, but could only get a field goal out of it.
The Colts were driving again when London Fletcher crashed into Addai, forcing a fumble and injuring the running back on the play. Landry recovered for the Redskins at their own 17, but Washington went three-and-out. Vinatieri made a 33-yard field goal on Indianapolis’ next possession to make it 27-17.
Notes: Redskins TE Chris Cooley left with a concussion. … Colts LB Gary Brackett was inactive with a groin injury. … The Redskins played without DL Albert Haynesworth, who was away from practice for nearly a week following the death of his half brother.