BALTIMORE (AP) – Here’s a twist: The Indianapolis Colts won a game on the strength of their defense.

The Colts barely missed their first shutout since 1997, Peyton Manning threw two touchdown passes, and Indianapolis cruised past the Baltimore Ravens 24-7 Sunday night.

The Ravens lost quarterback Kyle Boller, who hyperextended a right toe while being sacked by Larry Triplett in the third quarter with Baltimore trailing 17-0. Boller finished 15-for-23 for 141 yards and an interception.

His replacement, Anthony Wright, completed 19 of 31 passes for 214 yards and two interceptions in his first game since 2003. His 17-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Wilcox with 13 seconds left ruined the Colts’ bid for their first shutout since a 41-0 rout of Miami on Dec. 14, 1997.

Manning went 21-for-36 for 254 yards and no interceptions, and Marvin Harrison had six catches for 69 yards. But the real story was the marvelous play of the Indianapolis defense, which received few headlines last year while Manning threw an NFL-record 49 touchdown passes for an offense that amassed a league-leading 522 points.

Cato June returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown with 2:39 left. And the Colts limited Jamal Lewis to 48 yards rushing, making the 2003 NFL rushing leader a non-factor in a game that was close until Indianapolis scored two third-quarter touchdowns.

Baltimore’s Matt Stover missed field goals of 38, 47 and 45 yards. He missed three all last year.

The Colts took advantage of a key penalty during a 63-yard drive that ended in a 28-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Harrison, who got behind Chris McAlister in the right corner of the end zone. The penalty, against Dale Carter for putting a hand to the face of receiver Brandon Stokley, occurred on a third-and-8 from the Indianapolis 39.

Instead of punting, Indianapolis kept moving.

It was the 83rd time Manning and Harrison have hooked up for a touchdown, two behind Steve Young and Jerry Rice as the most prolific TD duo in NFL history.

On their next series, the Colts covered 71 yards in four plays, going up 17-0 on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Ben Utecht. It was Utecht’s first catch in the pros.

Held in check by an aggressive Baltimore defense for much of the first half, the Colts took a 3-0 halftime lead on a 20-yard field goal by Mike Vanderjagt with 15 seconds left. The 54-yard drive appeared stopped when Will Demps made an end zone interception, but Terrell Suggs was offside on the play.

McAlister also dropped a potential interception on the play before the field goal.

AP-ES-09-11-05 2354EDT


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