Dec. 26, 2010RAIDERS PAGE RAIDERS VIDEO
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OAKLAND,Calif. (AP) Peyton Manning put Indianapolis in the lead with his armand sealed the game with his legs. No matter what happened against theOakland Raiders, Manning knew he'd need one more big game to get theColts back into the postseason.Manning threw three touchdown passesand iced the game with a 27-yard keeper to help the Colts beat theOakland Raiders 31-26 Sunday in a game that turned out to have littleplayoff meaning."All we did was win today," Manning said. "We have to find a way to win again next week."The Colts (9-6) allowed Jacoby Fordto return the opening kick for a touchdown, overcame a pair ofinterceptions by Manning in the second half and survived four fieldgoals from Sebastian Janikowski, including two from more than 50 yards,to move within a win of clinching the AFC South title for their ninthstraight playoff berth.But when Jacksonville lost 20-17 inovertime to Washington in the early game Sunday, the Colts knew that nomatter what happened in this game they could clinch the division with awin at home next week against the Titans or a Jaguars loss at Houston."I don't know what the coaches do orwhat everybody else does, but I didn't know who won the morning games,"Manning said. "All we knew was the time of our kickoff and the defensesand offensive plays that Oakland was going to run. That's really waswhere our focus was."The results in the early games alsorobbed this game of any real meaning for the Raiders (7-8), who wereeliminated from playoff contention when Kansas City wrapped up a 34-14win against Tennessee early in the first quarter of this game.The Chiefs had long been in controlof that game so any Oakland player who had caught wind of the score inpregame warmups knew there was only pride on the line."The guys were trying not to payattention to it," quarterback Jason Campbell said. "We were just reallytrying to focus on our game. That's the situation you're in when youhave to count on other teams. It's a tough situation to be in."The Raiders hung close with theColts for much of this game but were unable to score an offensivetouchdown until Campbell's 6-yard pass to Zach Miller with 1:51 toplay.Manning took advantage of a 31-yardpass interference call against Stanford Routt to throw a 4-yard TD passto Blair White to give the Colts a 24-16 lead late in the thirdquarter. But little came easy for Manning against Oakland's defense. Hethrew a pair of interceptions in the second half, giving him 17 for theseason, which is his most since 2002.He responded from the secondinterception by leading the Colts on a 68-yard drive that was capped bya 7-yard TD pass to Pierre Garcon on third down to give Indianapolis a31-19 lead.After the Colts recovered a lateonside kick, Manning ran out the clock with a 27-yard keeper onthird-and-2. He faked the ball to Dominic Rhodes and then ran aroundthe left side before sliding down at the 4, instead of scoring, toallow the Colts to run out the clock."That was just a great call by him,"Rhodes said. "They had been biting, they were trying to stop me fromrunning the football. Even I thought I had the football, along witheverybody else. The whole defense converged on me. It was just a greatplay all around, he made it happen and we pulled out a great victory."Manning completed 16 of 30 passesfor 179 yards as he struggled at times against Oakland's aggressivecornerbacks. But the Colts managed to gain 191 yards on the ground,including 98 from Rhodes, who returned to Indianapolis earlier thismonth.Joseph Addai added a 6-yardtouchdown run in the first quarter in his first game since hurting anerve in his left shoulder Oct. 17."We went out and out-physicaled aphysical team," Rhodes said. "For the last few weeks, we've done that.We're gearing up for playoff football. And this is what you have to doin the playoffs."Indianapolis' much-maligned rundefense once again stepped up to the challenge a week after holdingMaurice Jones-Drew and Jacksonville to 67 yards in last week's key win.Oakland's second-ranked rushing attach was held to 80 yards."There's no magic to it," coach JimCaldwell said. "We're running the same plays, running the same defense.We were just playing what we do, and doing it a little better."Ford's team-record third kickoffreturn for a TD got the Raiders started. Oakland went ahead 13-10 afterJanikowski made field goals of 59 and 38 yards. The 59-yarder was thesecond longest in team history.But Manning led a late touchdowndrive helped by a personal foul on Lamarr Houston for poking Kyle DeVanin the eye and a 25-yard pass interference call on Chris Johnson.Manning found Jacob Tamme on a 14-yard pass on the next play to make it17-13 at the break."There's not a quarterback that I'veplayed against that controls the game the way that he does, and handlesevery situation and is basically the coordinator on the fly," Raiderscornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said.Notes: Manning tied former RaidersOL Gene Upshaw for the most consecutive starts to begin a career with207. ... Raiders DT Richard Seymour missed the game with a hamstringinjury.