INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Four-time MVP Peyton Manning threw three
touchdown passes and the Indianapolis Colts rallied from an
11-point, first-half deficit to beat the New York Jets 30-17 in the
AFC championship game.
The 15-and-2 Colts are now headed back to Miami for the second time in four years and their fourth Super Bowl in franchise
Manning finished 26 of 39 for 377 yards. He became the first
player in league history with seven 300-yard postseason games. That
broke a tie with Kurt Warner and Joe Montana.
After falling behind late in the first half, Manning finally
responded. He took the Colts 80 yards in four plays, hooking three
straight times with rookie Austin Collie including the 16-yard TD
pass that made it 17-13 with 1:13 to go in the half.
Manning was just getting started.
The next time he got the ball, he took the Colts 57 yards in
eight plays, connecting with Pierre Garcon (gahr-SOHN') in the back
corner of the end zone to make it 20-17 with 8:03 left in the third
He sealed it midway through the fourth when Dallas Clark caught
a 15-yard TD pass to make it 27-17.
The Jets' magical run ended with their first road loss in six
New York built a 17-6 lead and took advantage of trick plays.
But rookie Mark Sanchez and the Jets were shut out in the second
half. The Jets finished a magical season under rookie coach Rex
Ryan with an 11-and-8 record. The Colts torched Ryan's top-ranked
defense for 461 yards - 360 passing and 101 on the ground.
After the game, Ryan was philosphical about the loss.
"With Peyton Manning, if you don't disrupt his rhythym, he's
going to kill you," Ryan said. "And we didn't disrupt him
Colts coach Jim Caldwell became only the fifth rookie coach to
reach the Super Bowl. Only two others - San Francisco's George
Seifert and Don McCafferty, of the Baltimore Colts - have won it.
The Colts will play the winner of tonight's Minnesota-New
Orleans NFC championship in Super Bowl 44 on Feb. 7 in Miami.