COLTS 49

TEXANS 14 Peyton Manning is making the touchdowns look easy. When he gets a little help, he's almost unbeatable.

Manning shredded sloppy Houston for 320 yards and five more touchdowns, and the Colts scored twice on defense to rout the Texans, 49-14, on Sunday.

"For us, just the total points is what I'm happy about," Manning said. "It's not something we're being conscious of as far as throwing touchdowns."

It was another efficient performance for the league's defending co-MVP.

Manning was 18 of 27 and threw five touchdowns for the third time this year to tie an NFL record. He now has 31 scoring passes, two more than he had all last year, and remains on pace to shatter Dan Marino's record of 48 set in 1984.

He led Indianapolis (6-3) to its second straight victory and kept it tied with Jacksonville atop the AFC South.

Houston (4-5), which has never won in five games against the Colts, matched the worst margin of defeat in franchise history. The Texans lost 38-3 to Cincinnati in their inaugural season of 2002.

The 35-point margin of victory was the Colts' most lopsided since a 41-0 win over Miami in 1997.

The only player in NFL history to throw five touchdowns four times in a 12-month span, Manning engineered three touchdown drives that used a total of 2 minutes 6 seconds. After three quarters, Manning had just one more incompletion (six) than he did touchdown passes.

In contrast, Houston's David Carr struggled. He finished 22 of 41 for 215 yards with three interceptions and was sacked five times. That wasn't the only big discrepancy yesterday.

The Colts' maligned defense played like a bunch of Pro Bowlers. Robert Mathis had three sacks and forced three fumbles, and the Colts finished with a season-high five sacks and two touchdown returns.

The Texans, meantime, endured mistake after mistake.

"I guess it was just one of those games in the NFL," said rookie cornerback Dunta Robinson. "It starts out terrible and ends up in disaster."

"You kind of come to expect it," Colts Coach Tony Dungy said of quarterback Peyton Manning, above.