Colts 39, Bengals 26STEVE HERMAN , Associated Press
Dec. 13, 1998 5:32 PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Peyton Manning now holds every major NFL rookie passing record.
Manning passed for 210 yards and three touchdowns Sunday as the Indianapolis Colts handed Cincinnati its ninth straight loss, 39-26. In the process, he set three more rookie records, including one for touchdown passes in a season that had stood for a half-century.
``I've never been big on individual records, but the fact that record was held so long by Charlie Conerly, that's a special thing,'' Manning said. ``I'd still trade it all for some more wins this season, but it's a nice honor.''
The victory snapped a three-game slide for Indianapolis (3-11), which blew double-digit leads in its previous two games. This time, with Manning and Marshall Faulk providing the offense, the Colts never let up.
Faulk, the NFL leader in yards from scrimmage, had a pair of first-half touchdown runs, and his 115 yards rushing and 39 yards receiving pushed his total this season to a Colts-record 2,090.
Manning, meanwhile, was 17-for-26 and set NFL rookie records with 502 attempts and 286 completions for the season. The top pick in this year's draft also extended his own rookie records to 3,179 yards passing and 11 straight games with at least one touchdown pass.
``Marshall's presence back there opens up a lot of holes for the passing game,'' Manning said. ``They have to account for Marshall on every play. So, he was a big factor today.''
Manning's 11-yard TD pass to E.G. Green with 48 seconds left in the first half and 16-yard scoring toss to Torrance Small with 6:32 left in the third quarter gave him 23 for the season, breaking the rookie mark set by Conerly in 1948 for the New York Giants.
``We made it easy on him,'' Bengals coach Bruce Coslet said of Manning. ``He threw a lot of slants and we missed tackles.''
Manning, who got his 24th TD pass on another 16-yarder to Small early in the fourth quarter, became the first Colts quarterback with more than 3,000 yards passing in a season since Bert Jones in 1981.
``Peyton's had a heck of a year. He's been very productive,'' Colts coach Jim Mora said. ``That's pretty incredible, and he has two games to go.''
Faulk, on pace to become only the second NFL player with 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season, set up his first touchdown run with a 23-yard reception on the Colts' second possession. Two plays later, he ran 16 yards for the score and a 7-0 lead.
``I'm sure it will sink in, but right now we have two games to go to try to improve this record,'' Faulk said. ``As a team, we played the game from start to finish. ... Everything happened good throughout the whole game.''
The Bengals (2-12) managed only a pair of field goals by Doug Pelfrey in the first half, and the Colts stretched their lead to 24-6 with a 1-yard TD run by Faulk and Manning's scoring pass to Green.
Jeff Blake, demoted to backup late last season, started for Cincinnati because of an injury to Neil O'Donnell. He gave the Bengals their first touchdown on a 6-yard pass to Carl Pickens on the first series of the second half and was 16-of-29 for 180 yards for the game.
``The guys were coming up inside,'' he said of the Colts defense. ``We had to push them to the outside, which is what we did in the second half. I can play this game, there's no doubt about that. But we need to come together as a team. That's not what we're doing right now.''
The touchdown by Pickens cut the Indianapolis lead to 24-12, but the Colts got that back on the next series with Manning's first TD pass to Small. The second to Small came six plays after a failed fourth-down try by Cincinnati gave Indianapolis possession at the Bengals 32.
Cincinnati finished the scoring in the final period on a 5-yard run by Brandon Bennett and a 19-yard pass to Stepfret Williams from Eric Kresser, who replaced Blake.
Notes: In his NFL debut, Brad Costello set a Bengals record with a 73-yard punt, breaking the former mark of 70 yards by Lee Johnson, who was cut earlier in the week. Costello averaged 51.5 yards for four punts. ... Faulk's 2,090 yards from scrimmage is 13th best in NFL history. Barry Sanders holds the league record of 2,358. ... The Colts' victory was only the second by the home team in the last 13 games between the two teams. ... Mike Vanderjagt tied a Colts season record with his sixth field goal of at least 50 yards.