Colts’ Manning pounces to tame Jaguars

PEYTON MANNING threw for four touchdowns and the Indianapolis Colts edged Jacksonville 28-25 to deny the Jaguars a share of the NFL AFC South division lead.

Manning completed 20-of-29 passes for 288 yards, giving him 23 touchdown passes for the season — his 10th consecutive year with at least 20 touchdown throws — as the Colts improved to 10-2 with their third triumph in a row.

The Jaguars fell to 8-4 and saw their three-game win streak snapped. The Colts also own a tie-break edge on Jacksonville, aiding their title hopes.

“It was a big game and we knew that, we knew what the division standings looked like and we knew it was going to be tough,” Colts coach Tony Dungy said. “It was a complete team effort and that’s what it takes this time of the year.”

Dungy challenged two early calls to instant replay and was successful in overturning both, setting up a pair of first-quarter touchdowns for the Colts and setting the tone for the day.

The Colts opened a 14-0 lead after 13 minutes and have won 69 of 70 games under Dungy when ahead by 14 at any stage.

Jaguar quarterback David Garrard completed 24-of-29 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns but suffered his first pick-off in 231 throws this season and could not rally Jacksonville into the lead late on.

“We’re excited heading into the fourth quarter of the season and we have a lead in the division so we have to finish off December right,” Dungy said. “We just did things right and moved the ball when we had to.”

Division leaders Seattle, San Diego and Tampa Bay improved their playoff chances with victories on Sunday, the Seahawks defeating Philadelphia 28-24, San Diego outlasting 24-10 and Tampa Bay edging New Orleans 27-23.

AJ Feeley, starting in place of Donovan McNabb for the second week in a row, threw four interceptions — three to Lofa Tatupu and two of them to set up Seattle touchdowns.

Lofa Tatupu had one of the great games I’ve ever seen a linebacker have,” Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said.

LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 177 yards and two second-half touchdowns to spark the Chargers to a sixth victory in eight games. San Diego avenged a September loss to the Chiefs after losing nine-of-10 prior games at Kansas.

“My mindset is that we have to run the ball effectively no matter what,” Tomlinson said. “We want to run the ball so everything will open up on offense.”

Luke McCown threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Jerramy Stevens with 14 seconds remaining to give Tampa Bay a 27-23 victory over the Saints.

Buffalo’s Rian Lindell kicked a 31-yard field goal with four seconds to play to give the Bills a 17-16 victory at Washington, a disappointing end to a tough day of remembrances for the Redskins five days after the death of Sean Taylor.

The Washington star died a day after being shot by intruders in his home.

The team honoured him by using only 10 men on its first defensive play, leaving his spot unfilled to symbolise their belief he was with them in spirit.

Carolina beat San Francisco 31-14, Minnesota routed Detroit 42-10, the New York Jets dropped winless Miami to 0-12 with a 40-13 romp, St Louis beat Atlanta 28-16, Tennessee defeated Houston 28-20, Oakland ripped Denver 34-20, Arizona dumped Cleveland 27-21, New York Giants edged Chicago 21-16 and Pittsburgh defeated Cincinnati 24-10.

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