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Colts score 38 unanswered points in easy victory over Texans

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Indianapolis Colts are playoff ready.

Just ask the Houston Texans.

Peyton Manning looked sharp, Indy's running game was efficient, the defense forced three turnovers and there was no letdown Sunday in what's likely to be the Colts final postseason tuneup. Indy scored on six of its first eight possessions and had 38 consecutive points in a 38-15 rout.

"I think it says a lot about guys taking their jobs seriously and being professional by coming out and getting a win today," Manning said.

The result had little significance to the Colts (13-2), who had already clinched their fifth straight AFC South title, the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. Instead, Indy was more concerned about working out kinks before it starts defense of its Super Bowl title.

Did they ever.

The Colts had a season-high 458 yards, tied the second-most
first downs in a game in franchise history with 33 and three
running backs helped produce Indy's first 100-yard rushing day
since Thanksgiving night.

All that was accomplished without perennial Pro Bowl receiver Marvin Harrison, who was our for the ninth straight game, and with most of the starters pulled after three quarters.

Manning was his typical self, finishing 28-of-35 for 311 yards with three TDs and a rating of 132.3. Joseph Addai, Kenton Keith and Clifton Dawson finally got the Colts' sagging ground game back in sync. Indy ran 31 times for 120 yards, its highest total since Oct. 28.

Reggie Wayne caught 10 passes for 143 yards, and Dallas Clark broke two franchise records. With six catches, two for TDs, Clark surpassed John Mackey's single-season marks for tight ends in both categories. Clark has 57 catches and 11 TDs. Mackey's bests were 55 receptions and nine TDs.

"I made the announcement to the team after the game, and I
don't think many of them know who John Mackey was," coach Tony
Dungy said. "But I remember him, and to me, he's the gold
standard, so that's something special."

It wasn't just the Colts offense dominating, either.

Bob Sanders, Matt Giordano and Melvin Bullitt all had interceptions. The Colts defense, playing for the second straight week without any of this season's projected starters on the defensive line, allowed Houston to drive as deep as the Colts 40 only once the first three quarters.

For Houston (7-8), trying to win a franchise record eighth game, it was downright ugly.

"We were dominated," coach Gary Kubiak said. "We had been playing some pretty good football, and we came in here expecting to continue to play well. We got outplayed, outcoached; we got our butts kicked big time."

Sage Rosenfels was 22-of-36 for 233 yards with two TDs and three interceptions, including one in the Colts' end zone. He closed out the scoring with a 6-yard TD pass to Andre Johnson with 1:07 left.

There were some flaws for the Colts, however.

They lost tight end Ben Utecht with a shoulder injury and receiver Anthony Gonzalez with a bruised foot in the first half. Defensive back Tim Jennings also left in the final minute of the game with an undisclosed injury. None of the three returned, and Dungy had no immediate updates.

Addai played sparingly after the first quarter when he reportedly sustained back and shoulder injuries. The report was later denied by Colts spokesman Craig Kelley who said Addai was out because of a coach's decision.

After the game, Dungy said Addai and Gonzalez could have returned.

"Those guys are not nicked up too bad," Dungy said.

Manning led the Colts on first-half drives of 54, 92, 92 and 26 yards setting up a short field goal, Addai's 2-yard TD run and Clark's TD receptions of 6 and 11 yards to make it 24-7 at the half.

Dawson scored on a 4-yard run to open the second half, and
Manning threw a 27-yard TD pass to Wayne in the third quarter,
prompting Dungy to pull most of his starters, a situation that
likely would have been replayed next week against Tennessee --
except the Titans need a win to secure an AFC wild-card berth. That
game has been switched from afternoon to prime time under the NFL's
flex TV schedule.

This game, though, was just what the Colts needed.

"More than anything, I was just really impressed by the way our team came out and played and the level of precision we had," Dungy said. "We talked this week about what we wanted to accomplish. Winning the game was No. 1, but we also wanted to do some things a little better and I think we did."

Game notes
Mario Williams sacked Manning in the second quarter, his sixth straight game with a sack. ... Houston defensive end Anthony Weaver injured his right shoulder in the first half but returned in the second half. Texans right tackle Eric Winston also got kicked in the back but was expected to be OK. ... Manning topped 30 TD passes for the fourth time in his career. ... The Colts have now won 10 straight home games against division foes.

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