Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning threw a touchdown for the 26th consecutive game

Credit: Elsa
Colts grab a play-off spot
by Andy McKenzie

The Indianapolis Colts secured their first NFL play-off place for three years and ninth win in a row by defeating the New England Patriots on December 12.

  • With three games still to play, the Colts (11-2) clinched a place in the post-season and at least a tie for the AFC East title with a 20-15 victory over the struggling Patriots. New England (7-6) have now lost four out of their last five games, with genuine hopes of a play-off spot fading fast.

  • The Colts were led by rookie Edgerrin James, quarter-back Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison. Harrison broke team records for receptions and reception yardage in a season in catching six passes for 118 yards, while James tied an NFL rookie record with his ninth 100 yard rushing game of the year. Manning enhanced his reputation as one of the league's finest quarter-backs with another impressive game in extending his streak of at least one touchdown in a game to 26 - the fifth longest in NFL history.

  • St Louis (11-2) also booked their place in the play-offs and the division title with a 30-14 win at the New Orleans Saints (2-11). The Rams, who had already clinched their first NFC West title for 14 years, moved closer to home advantage in the conference and also created NFL history by becoming the first team to go undefeated in their division a year after failing to win a game against divisional opponents.

  • The Jacksonville Jaguars (11-1) clinched their fourth straight play-off place without having to play a game over the weekend. Defeats by the Buffalo Bills (8-5) and the Seattle Seahawks (8-5) mean the Jaguars are assured of some post-season action.

  • Kansa City Chiefs (8-5) went into a tie with the Seahawks at the top of the AFC West with a thrilling 31-28 win over Minnesota (7-6). The Chiefs threw away a 21-0 lead and had to rely on a 38 yard field goal in the dying seconds from kicker Pete Stoyanovich to overcome the Vikings (7-6).

  • Tampa Bay (9-4) extended their winning streak to a team record of six games and took a step closer to the division title with a 23-16 win over their rivals for the NFC Central crown Detroit. A 22 yard touchdown pass by Shaun King to Mike Alsott with four minutes 18s left gave the Buccaneers a crucial win over the Lions (8-5).

  • Miami Dolphins' recent slump continued as the New York Jets (5-8) came from behind for a 28-20 win. The Dolphins (8-5), who opened the season 7-1, threw away a 13-6 final period lead and have now lost three straight games. Ray Lucas led the Jets to success, throwing two touchdown passes to Keyshawn Johnson as the Jets kept their play-off hopes alive.

  • The Carolina Panthers (6-7) kept their slim play-off hopes alive with a shock 33-31 win over Green Bay Packers (7-6). The Packers lost the game on the final play of the day and now face a fight for a wild card entry into the play-offs.

  • Dallas Cowboys (7-6) kept their unbeaten home record intact with a 20-10 win over the Philadelphia Eagles (3-11). However, the Cowboys lost Emmitt Smith with a groin injury and Greg Smith was lost for the season with a fractured tibia.
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© 2000 Worldsport Networks Ltd Written by Andy McKenzie

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