The Indianapolis Colts reached the midway point of the season as one of the surprise teams in the NFL, even to their own coach.
Peyton Manning passed for 290 yards, extended his streak of touchdown passes to 21 games and scored on a seven-yard scramble early in the fourth quarter, giving the Colts a 25-17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs today.
It was the fourth straight victory for the Colts (6-2), off to the franchise's best start since the Baltimore Colts opened 9-1 in 1977. They already have as many victories as the last two years combined.
"If you had asked me if this team could be 6-2, I'd have said it would be really tough," Coach Jim Mora said. "I think 6-2 realistically would be beyond anybody's expectations. But I'll take it."
Kansas City (5-3) set up the go-ahead Indianapolis touchdown when Larry Parker fumbled a punt return and Tito Wooten recovered at the Colts 46-yard line early in the final period. Rookie Edgerrin James, who rushed for 109 yards, carried 27 yards on the next play and caught a 21-yard pass three plays later to the Chiefs 10.
Manning ran three yards and then put the Colts up 22-17 with his seven-yard scoring run, becoming the first Colts quarterback with two rushing touchdowns in a season since Jim Harbaugh in 1995.
"It was a dropback passing play," Manning said. "Marvin [Harrison] was my first look and the corner kind of pressed him. I was looking that way and saw there was nobody to account for me. I kept my arm in a throwing position, which froze the defense, and got a good block.
"I think I have decent speed," he said. "I'm not going to outrun any defensive backs, but it is something I work on because it's nice to escape the pocket when you have to."
Mike Vanderjagt kicked his fourth field goal, a 37-yarder with 1 minute 10 seconds to go, and the Chiefs reached the Indianapolis 39 before Tony Blevins batted down a desperation pass to the end zone by backup Warren Moon as the game ended.
"That might have been the hardest game we've had all year," Mora said. "Kansas City is a very good football team and did a heck of a job. We had to battle our tails off. Thank God we were playing them at home. When you can win a game like this and come from behind like we did, you appreciate it even more."