Published: Friday, November 23, 2007
Manning, Colts roll over Falcons, 31-13
ATLANTA (AP) Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts looked more like themselves Thursday night.
All it took was a trip to Atlanta.
Manning threw three touchdown passes, Antonio Gonzalez had 105 yards receiving and the defending Super Bowl champions, after getting stunned with 10 quick points by the Falcons, rebounded for a 31-13 victory.
Indianapolis (9-2) had struggled the past three weeks, losing twice and pulling out a lackluster win over Kansas City at home. The Colts' malaise carried over the first quarter at the Georgia Dome, with the Falcons striking for Morten Andersen's 34-yard field goal and Joey Harrington's 48-yard touchdown pass to Roddy White.
But any thoughts the Falcons (3-8) had of pulling off a huge upset were quickly wiped out by Manning. He threw all three of his TD passes in the second quarter, going 23 yards to Reggie Wayne, 8 yards to Dallas Clark and 5 yards to Ben Utecht.
Gonzalez didn't get to the end zone, but he was Manning's favorite receiver. He hauled in a 35-yard pass that set up Wayne's TD and a 32-yarder that led to Clark's score.
After missing the past two games with a broken thumb, Gonzalez's return was a boost for a Colts' offense still plagued by injuries. Perennial Pro Bowl receiver Marvin Harrison missed his fifth straight game with an ailing left knee. Indy also was missing two starting linemen, Tony Ugoh and Ryan Diem.
Manning was 22-for-32 for 272 yards.
Atlanta running back Warrick Dunn became the 22nd player in NFL history to rush for 10,000 yards, reaching the milestone with a 2-yard run early in the second quarter.
Colts running back Joseph Addai left the game because of a neck injury with 3:09 left in the first quarter. He returned midway through the second and scored from the 4 with 5:05 left in the third quarter.
Colts linebacker Rocky Boiman returned Harrington's second interception 26 yards to the Atlanta 24 late in the third quarter to set up Adam Vinatieri's 24-yard field goal.
Harrington returned as the Falcons' starting quarterback after playing behind Byron Leftwich in Sunday's loss to Tampa Bay. Leftwich, who was listed as doubtful with a tailbone injury, was designated as the No. 3 quarterback.
Atlanta led 10-0 after the first, but the Colts answered with Manning's 23-yard touchdown pass to Wayne, who beat rookie cornerback Chris Houston.
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