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Manning Is on Track for Record

From Associated Press

Peyton Manning shredded the Houston defense for 320 yards and five touchdowns, tying an NFL record set by Minnesota’s Daunte Culpepper, three games in a season with five touchdown passes.

That’s not the record, however, that everyone is talking about.

Through nine games, the Indianapolis quarterback has 31 touchdown passes, two more than he had all last season, and remains on pace to break Dan Marino’s NFL record of 48 set in 1984.

Manning is averaging 3.44 touchdown passes per game, a pace that would give him 55 for the regular season.

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“We’re the kind of offense that’s score, score, score; attack, attack, attack,” Manning said. “We’re hitting on all cylinders.”

The only player in NFL history to throw five touchdowns four times in a 12-month span, Manning engineered three touchdown drives that took a combined 2:06. After three quarters, Manning had one more incompletion (six) than touchdown passes.

Think the Colt fans might be getting spoiled?

“You kind of come to expect it,” Indianapolis Coach Tony Dungy said of his quarterback.

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Speaking of Marino, the Packers’ Brett Favre had his 18th game with four or more touchdowns. That’s second only to the former Miami Dolphin quarterback’s 21.

By the way, the Packers have won four straight in their quest to become the ninth team to overcome a 1-4 start to reach the playoffs.

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Good thing for Jacksonville it didn’t have to punt in overtime.

Detroit’s Eddie Drummond returned two punts for touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the second with 46 seconds remaining to force overtime. Heck, Jacksonville probably didn’t want to risk kicking off, either.

When the Jaguars won the overtime coin toss, Jacksonville fans were thinking, “Please score”; Detroit fans were praying, “Please punt.” Well, the Jaguars overcame two third downs and drove 76 yards to win, 23-17.

Here’s why “When in doubt, punt” is not a popular expression in Jacksonville: Drummond’s first touchdown was a 55-yard return through the gut of a perplexed coverage unit for the visitors’ first points. The return came after two Jacksonville players touched the ball but failed to down it.

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The second was a gut-wrenching, and arm-flailing, 83-yarder. It came after the Jaguars failed to pick up a first down that would have allowed them to run out the clock and keep their special teams off the field.

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Chicago’s victory over Tennessee marked the second time an NFL game ended in overtime on a safety. The first was Nov. 5, 1989, when Minnesota beat the Los Angeles Rams, 23-21, on a punt block that bounced out of the end zone.

Take a look at Chicago’s passing statistics, and it’s no wonder the defense had to win the game. Quarterback Craig Krenzel finished with a 19.3 passer rating after sitting at 1.3 at halftime. Yikes!

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Arizona running back Emmitt Smith surpassed 18,000 yards rushing, the first player to do so. The former Dallas Cowboy also ran for two touchdowns in a game for the first time in two seasons, helping Arizona upset the New York Giants, 17-14.

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The Jaguars’ Jimmy Smith had seven catches for 109 yards, passing James Lofton for 12th on the NFL all-time receptions list with 767 catches.

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St. Louis offensive tackle Orlando Pace was ejected against Seattle for making contact with an official.... Cleveland’s Phil Dawson has made 27 straight field goals, the league’s longest current streak.... New Orleans has been outscored, 54-0, in the first quarter in its last seven games.

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Kordell Stewart was forced to punt for the Ravens when Dave Zastudil left with a left shoulder injury in the second quarter. Stewart, who hadn’t punted since high school except for one 41-yard kick with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1995, finished with a 35.4 average.

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Other injuries reported Sunday:

* Bear cornerback Alfonso Marshall sprained his left knee in the third quarter against Tennessee and did not return.

* Tennessee offensive tackle Brad Hopkins will need surgery to repair several broken bones in his right hand.

* Houston backup cornerback Jason Bell broke his right arm against Indianapolis.

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* Washington defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (hip) and linebacker Khary Campbell (knee) will have MRIs to determine the extent of their injuries.


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