INDIANAPOLIS – The Buffalo Bills slowed down Indianapolis’ fast-track offense Sunday. It wasn’t quite enough to stop the NFL’s last unbeaten team from making NFL history.

A restrained Peyton Manning repeatedly threw the ball underneath, used his ground game effectively and delivered a time-consuming final drive, all the Colts needed to get past Buffalo 17-16, becoming the first team ever with back-to-back 9-0 starts.

Manning was masterful when he needed to be on a day the Bills simply refused to let the Colts play their game.

Manning rarely had the chance to go deep as the Bills (3-6) dropped extra defenders into deep coverage, and chewed up the clock by running the ball frequently.

It almost worked.

While J.P. Losman completed only 9 of 13 passes for 83 yards, Anthony Thomas, starting in place of the injured Willis McGahee, carried 28 times for 109 yards. Terrence McGee scored on a 68-yard fumble return and set up a field goal with a long kickoff return.

The Bills even appeared to be in position to defeat an unbeaten team on the road for the first time since 1980 after Nate Clements recovered a fumble at the Indy 41 with 8:58 to go. But three-time Pro Bowler Dwight Freeney sacked Losman on third-and-5 at the Colts 24, and Rian Lindell pushed the potential go-ahead 41-yard field goal wide right.

Manning responded by running out the clock.

He finished 27-of-39 for 236 yards with one touchdown, a 1-yarder to Reggie Wayne in the first half. Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai combined to rush 27 times for 150 yards, and Manning’s talented receiving tandem of Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne was limited to a combined total of six catches for 63 yards.

Ravens 27, Titans 26

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Steve McNair showed the Tennessee Titans what they gave up by not wanting to pay him.

It was an expensive lesson.

McNair threw his third touchdown with 3:35 left Sunday, and his new team, the Baltimore Ravens, rallied from a 26-7 deficit to beat the Titans 27-26 for their best start ever.

The Titans (2-7) had a last chance to send McNair back to Maryland a loser. But Trevor Pryce blocked a 43-yard field goal attempt by Rob Bironas with 33 seconds, allowing McNair to celebrate on the field where he had won so many games before.

Dolphins 13, Chiefs 10

MIAMI – The Miami Dolphins harried Damon Huard, stymied Larry Johnson and overcame their own sputtering offense. Kansas City was denied a first down until almost halftime, and a trick play set up the Dolphins’ lone touchdown to help them beat the Chiefs 13-10.

The Dolphins took an early 13-point lead, but missed chances to build an even bigger cushion because of a sputtering attack. Questionable playcalling by Miami helped keep the outcome in doubt until the final moments. With the Dolphins nursing a 13-3 lead midway through the fourth quarter, they tried a reverse, but the result was the lone turnover of the game, with receiver Chris Chambers failing to come up with the handoff from running back Ronnie Brown.

Broncos 17, Raiders 13

OAKLAND, Calif. – Jake Plummer capitalized on Denver’s one big break to overcome an otherwise poor performance.

Plummer threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Johnson early in the fourth quarter after a fumble by the Broncos was negated by a penalty, giving Denver a 17-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

Plummer threw three interceptions and had done little positive other than throwing a 39-yard touchdown pass to Javon Walker late in the first quarter. But he led the key drive that helped the Broncos (7-2) win a fourth straight in Oakland and remained tied with San Diego atop the AFC West.

The Raiders (2-7) appeared in control when they recovered a fumbled punt by David Kircus at the Denver 20. But instead of adding to a 13-7 lead, Oakland was forced to punt again when Chris Carr was called for a personal foul for running out of bounds on the coverage.

49ers 19, Lions 13

DETROIT – The San Francisco 49ers did what they could to keep the Detroit Lions in the game before making just enough plays for a rare two-game winning streak.

Frank Gore set a franchise record with 148 yards rushing in the first half and scored on a 61-yard run before leaving the game with a concussion, and Joe Nedney made all four of his field-goal attempts to give San Francisco a 19-13 victory over Detroit on Sunday.

Keith Lewis intercepted Jon Kitna’s pass at the 49ers 2 with 21/2 minutes left and San Francisco (4-5) picked up the one first down it needed to seal the game, winning consecutive games for the second time since 2003.

Texans 13, Jaguars 10

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Houston Texans might struggle against the rest of the league, but they sure match up well against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

David Carr threw for 167 yards and ran for 48 more before leaving the game with a shoulder injury, and the Texans defeated the Jaguars 13-10 on Sunday and snapped a 12-game road losing streak.

The Texans (3-6) upset their AFC South rivals for the second time in four weeks and won on the road for the first time since December 2004. Houston’s last road victory also came at Jacksonville, a 21-0 shocker that essentially knocked the Jaguars out of playoff contention.

This one was considerably closer, but still somewhat surprising.


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