Sunday, August 26, 2007
INDIANAPOLIS — Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts offense haven’t lost their touch.
The Super Bowl MVP appeared to be in midseason form Saturday night, throwing three first-half touchdowns and helping the defending champions control the ball in a 37-10 rout of the Detroit Lions. It was just Indianapolis’ second win in 13 preseason games.
In what was likely the final regular-season tuneup for Indy’s starters, Manning was flawless. He completed 23-of-27 passes for 233 yards and three TDs — all in the first half — and converted six plays for first downs when he needed at least 10 yards.
Manning and the Colts showed no signs of taking a step backward after winning their first Super Bowl title.
Manning is now 31-of-40 for 331 yards and no interceptions in three weeks, and he was so efficient against Detroit that coach Tony Dungy uncharacteristically changed the script by pulling his starters at halftime. Dungy said he intended to use them into the third quarter.
But what was the point of risking injury when virtually everything Manning did worked?
Marvin Harrison beat single coverage on a slant route for a 13-yard touchdown to give Indy a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter. There was a lobbed dump pass in the end zone that the lunging Dallas Clark scooped off the turf for a 5-yard score to make it 14-3. Then there was the nifty 1-yard TD pass to Reggie Wayne with 5 seconds left in the half, a ball Manning whizzed past the head of an unknowing Stanley Wilson, for a 21-3 halftime lead.
Jets 20, Giants 12
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — There is no doubt Eli Manning is the leader of the New York Giants offense.
The Jets can’t say the same with Kellen Clemens pushing Chad Pennington for the starting quarterback job.
Clemens came off the bench in the second half and engineered two third-quarter touchdown drives against the Giants’ backups to lead the Jets to a victory in the annual preseason game between the New York rivals.
The Jets (2-1) scored twice in a little over four minutes to take command. Danny Ware had a go-ahead 16-yard touchdown run and Clemens completed consecutive passes of 45 and 34 yards before scoring on a 1-yard sneak.
Pennington combined with halfback Leon Washington on a 79-yard catch and run for a touchdown on a stunning first play from scrimmage, but he and the offense failed to record a first down the rest of the half.