Colts Overpower Cowboys

Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts were patient Sunday afternoon in the RCA Dome. They stuck to their running game, waited for their opportunities, and then finally seized control in the 4th quarter to pick up a 20-3 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Manning threw two late touchdown passes to Marvin Harrison, Mike Vanderjagt made two field goals and the Colts forced two late turnovers to seal a 20-3 victory over Dallas.

The Cowboys lost their fourth straight even though Indianapolis didn't play with its usual efficiency.

The Colts, who stayed atop the AFC South with the win, struggled to score against a stingy Dallas defense that allowed only 35 points in its previous three games and was coming off a bye.

Still, there were indications the Colts' offense was getting back to normal after a sluggish first half of the season.

Edgerrin James rushed for 106 yards on 24 carries, his second 100-yard game of the season. He missed the previous two games with hamstring and rib injuries and left in the fourth quarter Sunday with an ankle injury.

Manning completed 29-of-38 for 252 yards and two touchdowns.

And Harrison had his customary big day. The NFL's leading receiver caught 14 passes for 138 yards, becoming the first player in the league to top 1,000 yards this season, and caught his 600th career pass. Harrison reached that mark in 102 games, 16 games faster than anyone in NFL history. Detroit's Herman Moore held the previous record.

Harrison's first touchdown catch, a 31-yarder, also broke Raymond Berry's team record for touchdowns receiving, a mark that stood since 1967. His second TD catch, a 1-yarder, sealed the victory and gave Harrison 70 for his career.

But it was not as if the Colts were perfect.

Manning threw an interception at the Dallas 10 in the first half, and Vanderjagt, the NFL's most accurate kicker, struggled. He had a 23-yard field goal attempt hit the right upright in the first half and missed a 42-yarder wide right midway through the third quarter.

Vanderjagt still managed to hit a 48-yarder that tied the score at 3 with 1:54 left in the first half and a 32-yarder early in the fourth quarter to give the Colts a 6-3 lead.

The Cowboys had an all-too-familiar problem: an almost nonexistent offense.

Dallas managed only 178 yards and mounted one serious drive. The Cowboys capitalized with a 21-yard field goal from Billy Cundiff that made it 3-0 midway through the second quarter. It was the first points Dallas scored in a first half since October 6th.

Twice in the closing minutes, Chad Hutchinson was sacked and fumbled, giving the Colts an opportunity to take control.

Manning converted one by connecting with Harrison for a 1-yard TD pass with 2:24 left and took a knee following the other one.

Emmitt Smith, the NFL's career rushing leader, gained just 22 yards on eight carries. Hutchinson was 11-of-23 for 131 yards.

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