No comeback, no overtime and almost no Jim Harbaugh.
The Indianapolis quarterback has been the main reason the Colts are 5-3 this season. On Sunday, he ran for one touchdown, then had to plead to get back into the game after straining his groin in the second quarter of a 17-10 victory over the New York Jets.
"The doctors felt I could hurt it worse by going back in," Harbaugh said. "I just took a lot of Tylenol and iced it and felt I could take the snaps. . . . I had to fight to get back in."
Eugene Daniel also scored for the Colts on a team-record 97-yard interception return at the end of the first half that turned the game around.
The Colts (5-3) had to rally from a 21-point deficit to beat New York in overtime in their first meeting this season. This time, the two second-quarter touchdowns put Indianapolis up 17-3 before the Jets (2-7) threatened a comeback of their own.
The Jets reached the Indianapolis nine-yard line on their final possession before a pass to Charles Wilson in the end zone was deflected and the Colts took over on downs with 1:03 to go.
"The first half, we played well," Harbaugh said. "We had the ball only two times, but moved the ball and got points both times. The second half, we just couldn't make the big play."
The Colts had a net 52 yards rushing against the second-worst rushing defense in the NFL. Marshall Faulk was held to 30 yards in 15 carries. And Harbaugh, the league's top-rated passer, was nine for 14 for 87 yards
"I felt things were there passing," Harbaugh said. "We were in a rhythm, spreading the ball out. I just wish I could have played more in the second half, because I really felt good throwing the ball."
He didn't know how serious the groin injury was, although, he said, "Historically, I'm a pretty quick healer."
Bubby Brister, starting his third consecutive game in place of injured Boomer Esiason, was 19 for 31 for 154 yards and gave the Jets their only touchdown early in the fourth quarter on a 13-yard pass to Johnny Mitchell.
But he also was victimized on Daniel's crucial interception.
"It was a blitz and I threw it out to the flat and the guy came underneath and made the play," Brister said of the only turnover of the game. "I wish I had it back, but that's just the way it is.
"They're hard-hitting. They played tough," he said of the Colt defense. "They played aggressive once we got inside the 20. We knew that coming in."
"What really got us was the last play before halftime," Jet Coach Rich Kotite said of Daniel's interception. "That stopped our momentum. We came out in the second half and responded both offensively and defensively . . . but unfortunately we didn't come up with the big plays."