Dallas turns Peyton's miscues into OT win
INDIANAPOLIS - Suddenly, Peyton Manning is getting it all wrong. Miscommunications. Errant throws. Poor decisions. Dallas returned two of Manning's four interceptions for scores and used the last one to set up David Buehler's 38-yard field goal for a 38-35 overtime win.
INDIANAPOLIS - Suddenly, Peyton Manning is getting it all wrong.
Miscommunications. Errant throws. Poor decisions.
Dallas returned two of Manning's four interceptions for scores and used the last one to set up David Buehler's 38-yard field goal for a 38-35 overtime win.
Just another bad day for the Colts and their franchise quarterback.
"It isn't good when you're having to ask which one is it," Manning joked in the postgame news conference. "I don't make any excuses. I'm continuing to throw, I'll keep throwing. I hope I throw it to our guys."
Manning has never been through anything like this in his NFL career.
For the first time, he's thrown 11 interceptions in a 3-week span. Four of those have been returned for scores, and he's thrown four picks in back-to-back weeks for the first time ever. He threw three in each of his first two NFL games.
And though Manning's other numbers, 36-for-48 for 365 yards and two TDs, seemed more in line with his reputation, the interceptions are causing alarm.
With three straight losses, Indy (6-6) has fallen one game behind AFC South-leading Jacksonville, and the Jags already have beaten Indy once this season. Plus, the Colts visit struggling Tennessee on Thursday night.
"We certainly have put ourselves in a hole," Manning said. "Unfortunately, we have to scoreboard watch a little bit and that's not a situation you want to be in. I'm disappointed that I've put our team in a hole, but we do have some division games left."
Even getting back in sync with his favorite target, four-time Pro Bowler Reggie Wayne didn't break Manning out of his funk. Wayne caught 14 passes for 200 yards, both career highs, scored one TD and along with Manning almost willed the Colts into OT.
But the miscues were too much to overcome.
Manning's first interception led to a Dallas field goal. Orlando Scandrick, who suffered a concussion later in the game, broke underneath the route of Blair White and took the second back 40 yards to make it 17-0 early in the second quarter.
Backup linebacker Sean Lee, a rookie out of Penn State, joined the club by stepping in front of White again late in the third quarter and scored on a 31-yard return.
And Lee took advantage in overtime, too, intercepting a third-and-1 pass intended for Jacob Tamme. Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins deflected it to Lee, who took it back 13 yards to the Colts 36. Six plays later, Buehler won it.
"He's probably the best quarterback to ever play the game and to have four interceptions on him is unbelievable for us," Lee said. "It just shows the type of work we've been putting in in practice."
Dallas (4-8) rushed for a season-high 217 yards and scored 20 points off the turnovers - enough to give interim coach Jason Garrett his third win in four games. Tashard Choice finished with 100 yards on 19 carries.
Manning did rally the Colts twice, though.
After Scandrick's interception put Indy in a 17-0 deficit, Manning hooked up with Pierre Garcon on a 13-yard TD pass and opened the second half with a 34-yard TD pass to Wayne that made it 17-14.
Dallas took a 27-14 lead on Buehler's 46-yard field goal and Lee's 31-yard interception return.
But Javarris James scored on a 1-yard run and Taj Smith scored off a blocked punt, giving the Colts their first lead, 28-27, with 12:56 to go.
Jon Kitna then took Dallas on its most time-consuming drive of the season, 10 minutes and 18 seconds, and got a big break when Colts defensive lineman Eric Foster was called for leverage when Buehler kicked the go-ahead field goal. Dallas got a first-and-goal, and Kitna eventually connected with Jason Witten for a 2-yard TD pass and hooked up with Roy Williams on the 2-point conversion to make it 35-28.
Manning still had some magic left in his right arm. He went to Wayne seven times on Indy's final drive of regulation, and James tied it on a 2-yard run with 21 seconds to go.
In overtime, Manning had two chances to win it. But after the teams traded punts, Lee grabbed the deflection that set up Buehler's field goal.
Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant's rookie season is over because of a fractured right ankle.
According to multiple sources, Bryant will have surgery today to repair the fracture.
The wide receiver suffered the injury on a 21-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter. He declined comment after the game.