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September 23, 2009

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Manning leads Colts recovery

PEYTON Manning engineered a fourth-quarter rally to lead Indianapolis over the Miami Dolphins 27-23 on Monday and break the record for the most wins by a Colts' quarterback.

Manning, returning to Miami for the first time since the Colts' Super Bowl triumph over the Chicago Bears in February 2007, threw for 303 yards and two touchdowns in guiding his team to their second successive win.

The victory was Manning's 119th with the Colts, surpassing Johnny Unitas' record of 118 when the franchise was based in Baltimore.

"That is because he can do things like he did tonight. He can lead you on drives with just enough time left, he is very, very smart," said Colts head coach Jim Caldwell.

Miami (0-2) had the ball for a remarkable 45 minutes and seven seconds - the longest time of possession for a losing team since 1977 when the statistic started being recorded.

Manning was quick to show his star quality, faking a hand-off on the first play of the game and finding tight end Dallas Clark down the middle for an 80-yard touchdown.

Miami responded swiftly with Ronnie Brown charging home from 14 yards on a direct snap to bring the Dolphins level. The teams exchanged field goals in the second quarter to go in level 13-13 at half-time and took that score into the fourth quarter after a scoreless third.

The Dolphins got their noses in front when Brown burst over from three yards, but the Colts (2-0) were again level after Donald Brown shook off two tackles to power home from 15 yards.

A Dan Carpenter field goal got Miami back in front with just under four minutes to play, but that was more than enough time for Manning, who took just 32 seconds to put the Colts ahead.

Manning's short pass to the right found Pierre Garcon and the receiver sprinted home for a 48-yard touchdown. Miami had a late chance to snatch victory but Ted Ginn was unable to haul in Chad Pennington's deep ball into the end zone.

Dolphins coach Tony Sparano, whose team rushed for more yards than the Colts and converted 71 percent of third downs, said his plan to concentrate on the running game had almost worked.

"It is really disheartening, how many times have you seen a game like that? It is exactly the formula to beat that team, exactly the formula, but we cannot give up big plays on the other side, we know that," he said.


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