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Manning outguns Culpepper

The Colts QB throws four TDs and Mike Vanderjagt kicks a late field goal in a 31-28 win over the Vikings.

By Associated Press
Published November 9, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS - Peyton Manning provided the expected fireworks. Mike Vanderjagt's leg sealed the win for the Colts.

Manning threw four touchdowns and Vanderjagt kicked a 35-yard field goal with two seconds left to give the Colts a 31-28 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night. The kick capped a late duel between Manning and Daunte Culpepper: The teams scored on five straight possessions after an unexpectedly low-scoring start between offense-minded, relatively defenseless teams.

Manning, last season's co-MVP, also used his legs on the nine-play, 55-yard drive for the winning score, scrambling for 15 yards and getting 15 more when Lance Johnstone was penalized for landing on him after he slid. Manning even had a left-handed shovel pass to Edgerrin James to pick up a first down on the winning series.

"That's one of those you work on in practice with the running backs when you're screwing around and have some free time," he said.

The Colts ended a two-game skid and tied Jacksonville for the AFC South lead. The Vikings lost their second straight.

With the score tied at 21, Manning threw a 19-yard TD to Marcus Pollard with 7:24 left.

But Culpepper, playing without injured star receiver Randy Moss, took the Vikings 65 yards on seven plays, with Onterrio Smith scoring on a 32-yard run with 2:54 left. Culpepper set it up by rolling out for 9 yards on fourth and 1 from the Colts 43, then scrambling another 10 yards on the next play.

Manning finished with two TD passes to Pollard and one each to Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. Marvin Harrison got to 800 catches quicker than any receiver in history and set another record when he caught his 664th pass from Manning early in the third quarter, the most by any passer-receiver combination.

The Colts looked as if they would run away early after scoring on their first two possessions, while the Vikings, playing without Moss for the first time, struggled to move the ball.

Culpepper fumbled the opening snap, and the ball rolled 28 yards to the Vikings 6 before tackle Bryant McKinnie fell on it. Before their third play, the Vikings used a timeout, then Darren Bennett's punt went off the side of his foot.

The Colts took advantage by marching 51 yards in eight plays, forcing Minnesota to call its second timeout in the first five minutes. Finally, on fourth and 1, Manning hooked up with Wayne for the score to make it 7-0.

The Vikings stalled again on their second possession, and again the Colts took advantage. This time, Manning hooked up with Pollard on a 10-yard TD, making it 14-0 just six seconds into the second quarter.

Minnesota countered with a 51-yard kickoff return by Kelly Campbell, who was hit out of bounds by Colts kicker Hunter Smith. That drew a 15-yard penalty and set up the Vikings at the Colts 30, but they settled for Morten Anderson's 42-yard field goal to make it 14-3 with 12:43 left in the half.

[Last modified November 9, 2004, 00:32:10]


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