Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning accomplished a lot today – he threw 4 touchdown passes, earned another trip to the playoffs and etched his name into the record books. The Colts held a 30-point lead going into halftime, then cruised to an easy win over the Baltimore Ravens 44-20 Sunday night.
The game, as you could well imagine was over quite early as Baltimore’s first possession ended when Ravens running back Willis McGahee lost a fumble; Colts cornerback Marlin Jackson scooped up the ball and took it 21 yards to the Baltimore 12. Two plays later, Colts RB Joseph Addai scored from the Baltimore 1 to make it 14-0 Indianapolis and the route was on. Manning also did something he hasn’t done in a very long time – he took the night off early in the 3rd quarter, being replaced by Jim Sorgi.
On the Baltimore side, QB Kyle Boller was replaced by rookie Troy Smith. Smith took the Ravens on a 41-yard drive capped by Smith’s first professional touchdown, a 6-yard run. In the Colts’ win tonight, Manning became only the fifth NFL QB to throw 300 touchdown passes. Manning didn’t throw the ball as much as he usually does, going 13-of-17 for 249 yards with 4 TD’s. Addai rushed for only 32 yards on 13 carries and caught 3 balls for 49 yards and a score; but to be fair, neither team had much of a ground game. Wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez led all Colts receivers with 6 receptions for 134 yards – easily his best game as a pro so far. Reggie Wayne caught 2 for 42 yards and a TD.
Baltimore’s Boller had a poor game, going 19-of-25 for 132 with a TD and 3 interceptions. McGahee led all Ravens rushers with only 45 yards on 17 carries. WR Mark Clayton led all Ravens receivers with 7 receptions for 90 yards, while Derrick Mason caught 3 passes for 30 yards; Mason finished the game with a franchise-record 88 receptions for the season. Indianapolis (11-2) are much closer to winning the AFC South and are also looking to gain the coveted 2nd seed, which would give them a home game and a bye. Next week, they travel to Oakland to face the Raiders Sunday afternoon; Baltimore, losers of 7 straight, travel to Miami to face the winless Dolphins, also on Sunday.