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(Sunday, December 19th)
Final Score: Indianapolis 34, Jacksonville 24
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Donald Brown rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown and Peyton Manning and the Colts showed why the AFC South still goes through Indianapolis with a 34-24 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Manning threw for 229 yards with two touchdowns passes to Austin Collie, and the defense held Jacksonville's stout running attack to a mere 67 yards.
Indianapolis (8-6) spoiled the Jaguars' chance to clinch the division, and now it's the Colts who control their own postseason fate. They visit the Oakland Raiders next Sunday before hosting Tennessee to finish the regular season.
"This is one win," Manning said. "It is all about Oakland this week. You can take a step back and you feel like these last two wins don't mean as much. Hopefully we can feed off of a little momentum of two wins in a row and play well on the road."
David Garrard, dealing with a hamstring injury that limited him at practice this week, had 294 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for Jacksonville (8-6), which had won five of six coming in.
"We have two games ahead of us," Garrard said. "We don't hold our destiny in our hands, but we can go out and make the plays and win some ballgames and give ourselves a chance."
Mike Thomas returned a punt for a touchdown but also lost a key fumble in the defeat.
Despite only trailing 14-10, the Jaguars went for it on 4th-and-1 from their own 39-yard line on the first touch of the second half. The decision backfired as Maurice Jones-Drew fumbled a pitch, resulting in a turnover on downs.
After a false start penalty, Brown took a stretch handoff to the left and went up the sideline for a 43-yard touchdown with 12:19 remaining in the third.
Thomas' muffed punt, caused by the Colts' Taj Smith getting blocked into the returner just as the ball arrived, led to an Adam Vinatieri 34-yard field goal at the 8:47 mark.
Thomas had a 39-yard catch to move into Colts territory on the next drive, and Marcedes Lewis made a sensational one-handed grab to gain the six. From there, Garrard found Mike Sims-Walker with 3:54 left in the third.
On the final play of the frame, Antoine Bethea intercepted a Garrard pass at his own 13 and returned the pick 31 yards. Vinatieri's 37-yard kick made it a two-possession game, 27-17, with 9:57 to play.
Sims-Walker's one-yard TD reception with 1:54 showing made things interesting, but Tyjuan Hagler scooped up Josh Scobee's onsides kick and went 41 yards the other way for the score, clinching the Colts' second straight win.
Brown's 49-yard jaunt on the game's opening drive preceded Collie's seven- yard touchdown just 3:39 into the game.
Jones-Drew was stuffed twice at the one-yard line on the Jaguars' second possession, forcing Scobee to come out for a 22-yard field goal in the opening minute of the second quarter.
The Colts countered with an 11-play, 92-yard drive that culminated in Manning hitting Collie on a seam route in the middle of the field for a 27-yard TD at the 9:51 mark.
Jacksonville made it 14-10 going into the break thanks to its special teams. Thomas, fielding a punt at his own 22, appeared to signal for a fair catch but never fully extended his arm over his head. As a result, the Colts were caught flat-footed as Thomas raced down the right sideline for a 78-yard score.
In somber news for the Colts, Collie suffered his second concussion of the season after taking a big hit late in the first half...The Jags had rushed for 200-plus yards in three straight games coming in...The Colts came in allowing the fourth most yards on the ground...Thomas' return was Jacksonville's first since October 6, 2002 against Philadelphia...Jones-Drew was held to 46 yards on 15 carries, snapping a string of six-straight 100-yard games...Garrard connected on 24-of-38 passes, while Manning was 29-of-39...Manning tied Johnny Unitas for most games played in franchise history (206)...Jacksonville has never swept a home-and-home set from the Colts since the clubs became divisional foes in 2002...The Colts finish the schedule at Oakland and home with Tennessee, while Jacksonville visits Washington and hosts Houston.
12/19 23:11:25 ET