FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Peyton Manning didn't have to be
perfect for the Colts to remain the only team with a perfect
He had plenty of help from a defense that had been far from
perfect all season. With four interceptions -- the last ending the
Patriots' final chance with 1:18 left -- Indianapolis beat New
England 27-20 Sunday night to improve to 8-0.
With the loss by Chicago and coach Lovie Smith to Miami earlier
Sunday, the Colts are the NFL's only unbeaten team.
"Lovie let me down," Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy said. "I
was hoping they'd win so they would get all the focus."
Sunday's win capped an impressive two-game road stretch against
two of the best teams in the AFC. On Sunday, he threw for 328 yards
and tossed two touchdown passes to Marvin Harrison one week after
throwing for 345 yards and three scores in a 34-31 win at Denver.
"Those are two very tough places to play," Dungy said. "We're
finding a lot of different ways to win. We still aren't playing our
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady certainly didn't on Sunday.
Two of his interceptions came on tipped balls against a defense
that had just five picks in its first seven games. The Patriots'
running game did gain 148 yards against the NFL's worst rush
"We ran successfully and made some passes," Brady said, "but
it all gets negated when you turn the ball over."
His 201 yards passing were just 56 more than Harrison had on his
The Patriots (6-2) ended a four-game winning streak and dropped
a second straight to Indianapolis after winning six in a row.
They also were victimized for the first time by Adam Vinatieri,
who signed as a free agent after kicking two Super Bowl winning
field goals for New England in the final seconds. But he also
missed twice in the second half as his once adoring fans booed.
"They are trying to get loud and make it hard on the opposing
team and that totally makes sense," he said. "I wish I had played
a little bit better."
The Colts became the only team to start consecutive seasons at
8-0 since the Green Bay Packers did it three straight years from
1929-31. And for the first time in his brilliant career, Manning
has thrown for 300 yards in three consecutive games.
"All anybody wants to talk about with this team is, 'what are
you guys going to do in the playoffs,' " said Manning, who took
the team to the AFC title game just once while reaching the
postseason the last four years. "I will enjoy this one for a
Manning won his second straight game against the Patriots and is
4-10 against them.
The Patriots had one last chance after Vinatieri missed from 37
yards with 1:55 left. But on the Patriots' second play, Brady was
intercepted by Cato June.
"That was a tough night all the way around," Brady said. "The
defense really kept us in there with as many turnovers as there
The Colts never trailed as Manning threw the first of his two
touchdown passes to Harrison, a 5-yarder, on their opening
Patriots safety Rodney Harrison didn't return after hurting his
arm in the first quarter.
"We had to adjust," cornerback Ellis Hobbs said. "The ship
gets rocked a little bit and you make it steady."
The Patriots defense did that better than the offense.
The Colts began the day tied for 21st in points allowed. But the
first sign the defense would be a positive factor came when Antoine
Bethea ended the Patriots' first drive with an interception in the
end zone. Manning then drove the Colts 68 yards to his first
scoring pass to Marvin Harrison.
The Patriots tied the game on Dillon's 1-yard run on the second
play of the second quarter. Indianapolis countered with an 82-yard
drive capped by Joseph Addai's 2-yard touchdown run, before New
England tied it again on Dillon's 4-yard run.
Then Terrence Wilkins returned the kickoff 70 yards to the
Patriots 29 and Vinatieri put the Colts ahead for good 17-14 with a
33-yard field goal with 1:46 left in the half. New England's final
possession before intermission ended on Bob Sanders' interception
at the Indianapolis 3.
"We're not going to win many games that way, giving up big
plays on special teams, defense," Patriots coach Bill Belichick
Vinatieri's miss on a 37-yarder early in the third quarter was
his first failure in 16 attempts this season and ended a string of
12 possessions in which the Colts scored 10 times. The only two
times they failed in that stretch were at the end of their last two
first halves, when Manning knelt down with the ball.
Harrison's 4-yard scoring catch made it 24-14 midway through the
third quarter. Gostkowski then kicked a 49-yard field goal,
Vinatieri connected from 31 and Gostkowski was good again from 26.
Harrison's TD was a twisting, diving one-handed catch in the right
edge of the end zone on which he barely dragged both feet in
"Peyton and Marvin have that connection," Hobbs said. "Peyton
put it right there."
Troy Brown broke Stanley Morgan's team record for career
receptions with the Patriots with 538 after making five catches.
Morgan caught 534. ... Harrison broke a tie with Lenny Moore for
most touchdowns by a Colt. He has 115, two more than Moore, who
played when the team was in Baltimore. ... For the first time this
season, the Colts scored fewer than 30 points and the Patriots
allowed more than 17.
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