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The vast interior of the house Peyton built ran the emotional gamut Sunday night.
In the end, a football game that could go a long way toward determining AFC playoff seeding was played with the Indianapolis Colts producing a 39-33 victory against previously unbeaten Denver.
Quarterback Andrew Luck passed for 228 yards and three touchdowns. His 10-yard TD run around the right side with 5:00 to play in the third quarter initially looked as though it would end the suspense.
Luck’s score also proved memorable because of the way receiver Reggie Wayne shielded Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from pursuing Luck as the QB began his sprint toward the end zone.
Indianapolis improved its record to 5-2 entering its bye week. The Colts, who now lead the AFC South by two games over Tennessee, return to action Nov. 3 when they travel to Houston.
The Colts had to withstand a furious fourth-quarter rally staged by Denver.
Knowshon Moreno’s 1-yard TD with 8:44 remaining in the fourth took what had been a 36-17 advantage and trimmed it to 36-30.
Denver with 7:07 left had the ball at its own 15 looking for the go-ahead points.
It’s here, Indy linebacker Erik Walden stepped up, deflecting Manning’s first-down pass attempt into the arms of linebacker Pat Angerer at the 20. The Colts settled for Adam Vinatieri’s 42-yard field goal at 5:57.
Manning then marched the Broncos deep inside Colts territory. But on first and goal from the 2, Walden’s hit on Ronnie Hillman forced a fumble that was covered by Indianapolis safety Antoine Bethea at the 3.
Denver added a 47-yard Matt Prater field goal with 12 ticks remaining for the final count. The Colts recovered the onsides kick.
Indy scored 16 consecutive points in the second quarter to lead 26-14 at halftime. The swing in momentum began the instant linebacker Robert Mathis sacked Manning for a 9-yard loss, the football rolling into the end zone and smothered by Walden. Colts fans sought a touchdown on the play with 8:52 remaining in the second, but replays showed Walden failed to have total control of the ball while still in the field of play, giving Indy a safety.
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