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(Sunday, November 14th)
Final Score: Indianapolis 23, Cincinnati 17
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Peyton Manning threw for 185 yards, and the Indianapolis defense produced five turnovers in a 23-17 decision over Cincinnati at Lucas Oil Field.
Manning completed 20-of-36 throws without a touchdown or an interception, and seven of his passes went to tight end Jacob Tamme for 73 yards for the Colts (6-3), who bounced back from a loss at Philadelphia last week to win for a fourth time in their last five games.
"Certainly we would have liked to have played better," Manning said about a banged-up offensive unit that struggled at times throughout the game. "There wasn't a whole lot of flow or rhythm to it, especially in the second half. We just have to keep working and find a way to score some more points and keep our defense out of those pressure situations. They came up big all day and we have to try to do our part no matter who is in there."
Adam Vinatieri kicked three field goals in the victory for Indianapolis, which turned three of its forced turnovers into 17 points.
Carson Palmer connected on 31-of-42 throws for 292 yards and two scores but was intercepted three times for the Bengals (2-7), who have dropped six in a row since winning back-to-back games September 19-26.
Jermaine Gresham caught nine passes for 85 yards -- both career-highs -- and a touchdown, while Chad Ochocinco hauled in seven passes for 86 yards and a score, his franchise-best 65th receiving TD.
Aaron Francisco intercepted Palmer with just under six minutes to play with the Colts leading 23-10. However, the hosts were forced to punt after picking up one first down, giving the Bengals a chance to fashion a comeback.
Palmer found Gresham from 19 yards out for a touchdown that finished off an eight-play, 73-yard drive to pull Cincinnati to within 23-17 with 2:35 to play.
The Bengals recovered the ensuing onside kick and benefitted from a 15-yard penalty to Pierre Garcon for removing his helmet. Garcon appeared to have recovered the kick, but lost it on the way to the ground.
Starting from the Colts' 40, Palmer hit Gresham on the first play, but the rookie tight end coughed up the ball at the 34, where it was recovered by Indianapolis' Mike Newton.
Indy was forced to punt with 53 seconds left, and the Bengals started their final drive at their own 21 -- with no timeouts -- seven seconds later.
Robert Mathis recorded a sack on the first play before Dwight Freeney sacked Palmer on the next play, effectively ending the game.
"It changes your game plan," Palmer said when falling behind the Colts early in the game. "The advantage is in their hands when you have Freeney and Mathis on the edge. If you have to throw the ball a lot than you are playing into one of their strengths. We did a good job against them all day until the very last couple of plays when they just teed off on us. The offensive line couldn't have done a better job against their front five."
Vinatieri's 28-yard field goal capped off a 14-play, 82-yard drive to give the Colts a 3-0 lead with 3:25 left in the first quarter.
On the Bengals' second play of the ensuing possession, Kelvin Hayden picked off Palmer and raced untouched 31 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown that pushed the hosts' advantage to 10-0 just 57 seconds later.
Cedric Benson's fumble on the visitors' next play from scrimmage was recovered by Antonio Johnson at the Bengals 25 to give the Colts a short field with which to work. Indianapolis cashed in seven plays later.
Javarris James carried on the final three plays, the last of which resulted in a three-yard TD run that boosted the lead to 17-0 just 41 seconds into the second quarter.
Cincinnati finally got on the board just over five minutes into the period on Mike Nugent's 27-yard boot that polished off an eight-play, 55-yard march.
On the Bengals' next possession, Ochocinco made a leaping grab in the end zone for a 34-yard score but it was wiped out when he was ruled to have lined up illegally before the snap.
However, the Bengals were able to overcome the mistake and move to the Colts' five before Palmer rolled to his left and found Ochocinco, who kept both feet in bounds while making the catch and falling out of the end zone, to cut the deficit to seven 1:06 before the intermission.
The Colts used a 17-yard completion to Brandon James and a pass interference call on linebacker Brandon Johnson to move to the Bengals' 25 before a Carlos Dunlap sack resulted in a four-yard loss. Vinatieri then came on to connect on a 47-yard field goal that split the uprights to end the first half with Indianapolis leading, 20-10.
Cincinnati advanced into Colts territory on each of its three third-quarter drives, though it couldn't get inside the 40, and was forced to punt all three times. Meanwhile, the hosts didn't advance past their 40, and all three of their drives in period resulted in punts.
The Bengals' first possession into the final quarter ended when Indy's Tyjuan Hagler undercut an attempted pass to Greshman at the Cincinnati 45 and was ruled down by contact at the 10-yard line. The Colts had to settle for a 23- yard field goal by Vinatieri that made it 23-10 with 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Manning was also held without TD pass in a 19-9 Week 5 win over KC...Garcon made five catches for 37 yards while Reggie Wayne was limited to 34 yards on three grabs...Wayne now has 10,005 career receiving yards, all amassed from Manning, who is the only quarterback to throw for more than 10,000 yards to two different receivers. Marvin Harrison racked up 12,766 yards on throws from Manning during his career...Vinatieri has made 355 field goals during his career, moving past Eddie Murray into 11th place on the all-time list...He is also the 12th kicker to accumulate 1,600 kicking points...Donald Brown paced the Colts' ground attack with 50 yards on 12 totes...Javarris James ran for 26 yards on 10 carries...Hayden has nine career regular season interceptioins, three of which he has returned for touchdowns...He has brought back two picks for a score this season, the first Colts player to do so since Cato June did against Baltimore and San Francisco during the 2005 campaign...Cincinnati's Terrell Owens made four grabs for 64 yards and was held without a touchdown catch for the first time in six games...Benson carried 14 times for 24 yards and made five receptions for 27 in the loss...The Colts have won 16 of the 24 all-time meetings.
11/14 18:32:23 ET