John Elway, forced to scramble by an aggressive Indianapolis defense, rushed for a career-high 49 yards on six carries to help the Denver Broncos beat the Colts, 15-10, in an NFL game today.

Elway completed 17 of 36 passes for 239 yards and set up a touchdown with a 45-yard completion. He kept two third-quarter scoring drives going with runs of 22 and 15 yards.

"Defensively, we made it as hard as we possibly could against a good offense and a good passer," said Indianapolis Coach Rod Dowhower.

"Scrambling destroys everything. He has a knack for that," said Dowhower, who recruited Elway as a coach at Cal. "I've watched him for a long time. He keeps doing it (scrambling), time and time again."

A lucky bounce on the Hoosier Dome artificial turf allowed Denver to take a 6-0 lead on Sammy Winder's two-yard run. Vance Johnson returned a punt 38 yards and, on the next play, a 45-yard pass from Elway to Clint Sampson gave the Broncos (4-2) a first down at the one.

Running back Gene Lang fumbled on the next play. The ball bounced about five yards to left tackle Dave Studdard, who was attempting to make a block, and Denver maintained possession on the two.

After Winder's score, Rich Karlis' conversion attempt was wide, but he gave the Broncos a 9-3 halftime lead with a 32-yard field goal as the second quarter ended. He kicked two field goals in the second half.

The Colts moved from their 43 to the Denver 11 to set up Raul Allegre's 28-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Mike Pagel ran for 29 yards on a third and four to get a first down at the Denver 32. Four plays later, Pagel threw to Matt Bouza for a 19-yard touchdown to make it 15-10.

The Colts (2-4) had two more chances to score. The first ended when Pagel was sacked for a 10-yard loss on a fourth-and-one play that began at the Denver 41.

The final threat began when Indianapolis took over on its 20 after Karlis missed a 28-yard field goal with two minutes to play. The Colts drove to their 48, then threw four consecutive incompletions.

Denver stopped Indianapolis 11 times on third-down plays and twice on fourth downs.