JACKSONVILLE - Peyton Manning was nearly perfect, exactly what the Indianapolis Colts needed to overcome all the emotion the Jacksonville Jaguars got from Richard Collier's return.
Collier, a 6-7 offensive linemen paralyzed from the waist down following a shooting in early September, returned to the field for the first time and was recognized during pregame ceremonies. He drove onto the field, sat next to his teammates during the national anthem and then headed to midfield as an honorary team captain for the coin toss.
Manning completed his first 17 passes, picked apart Jacksonville's secondary and led the Colts to their eighth consecutive win and seventh straight playoff berth.
Manning finished 29-for-34 and threw for 364 yards and three touchdowns, and the Colts secured the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs with a 31-24 victory over the Jaguars last night.
Indianapolis (11-4) took its first lead of the game when Keiwan Ratliff intercepted a pass from David Garrard and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown and a 31-24 lead with 4:48 remaining.
The Jaguars (5-10) had two chances to tie it, but both drives ended with sacks. Garrard drove Jacksonville to the 7-yard line with 29 seconds remaining, but Maurice Jones-Drew sprained his knee on a reception, and since the Jaguars had no timeouts, there was a 10-second runoff.
Garrard misfired on first down, then got sacked by Dwight Freeney to end the game. *