Colts 31, Titans 17
-- Peyton Manning had plenty of help from the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Steve McNair didn't get the same treatment from his Tennessee Titans in the first game between the quarterbacks who shared most valuable player honors last season.
Manning threw for 254 yards and two touchdowns, and Nick Harper intercepted McNair's pass in the end zone to help Indianapolis rally for a 31-17 victory over Tennessee.
Edgerrin James also ran for two touchdowns and 124 yards as the Colts (1-1) avoided losing consecutive games in the regular season for the first time since the middle of the 2002 season -- now a span of 26 games.
"Any time you win down here, it's a good win," Colts Coach Tony Dungy said.
The Colts outscored Tennessee 28-7 in the second half, forced two turnovers and sacked McNair three times in winning their third straight game in the series.
The Titans had plenty of chances to bury the Colts in a deep hole before a record crowd of 68,932 in this early AFC South showdown between the only teams to win the division since realignment.
"We never talked about 0-2," Manning said. "Tony never said, 'We can't be 0-2.' It never came up. We just said it's an AFC South game. It's a double-dipper. We have a chance to get up in the division and give the Titans a loss."
The Colts did just that because Tennessee couldn't finish what it started despite controlling the clock for nearly 35 minutes.
The Titans turned the ball over once on downs at the Colts 4 and settled for a field goal on another deep drive into Indianapolis territory after two dropped passes in the end zone.
"We let this thing slip away in the second half," Titans Coach Jeff Fisher said. "It was frustrating. Players didn't make plays."
The low point came when Harper took the ball away from Pro Bowl wide receiver Derrick Mason in the end zone to end another possession in the fourth quarter. Mason said he was at fault for relaxing.
Harper had a different view.
"I just saw it, and I took it out of his hands," Harper said.
Manning took advantage of the turnover by leading the Colts 80 yards in 11 plays, and James finished it with a four-yard run for a 24-17 lead that was Indianapolis's first in the game.
McNair then couldn't get the Titans past midfield.
Knowing his team would need to outscore Manning and the Colts, Fisher tried to pull a trick with punter Craig Hentrich throwing to Troy Fleming on fourth down, only to be stopped after four yards when he needed 10.
The Titans finished 0 for 3 on fourth-down conversion attempts.
"We had a chance to really put this game away early," McNair said. "We didn't. Anytime we have another team like Indianapolis stay in it with Peyton at the helm, you're asking to get beat."
James, who had only 24 yards in the first half, wound up the scoring with his 30-yard touchdown run with 2 minutes 29 seconds to go.
McNair's final drive ended when he was sacked and fumbled in the last minute. He was missing two of his top four wide receivers because of injuries and was working behind a line featuring rookie Jacob Bell at left guard and backup Jason Mathews at left tackle in the fourth quarter.
He finished 25 of 39 for 273 yards and ran for a touchdown.
Manning had only 84 yards passing in the first half as Tennessee wanted to keep him off the field as much as possible.
Tennessee held the ball for nearly 21 minutes, with Chris Brown running for 104 yards on 19 carries by halftime. Brown finished with 152 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown.