Colts keep rolling, Packers, Bills stumble

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Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison kept the Indianapolis Colts on pace toward their first AFC East title in 13 seasons.

Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison kept the Indianapolis Colts on pace toward their first AFC East title in 13 seasons.

James ran for 101 yards and a touchdown, and Harrison set up two TD passes by Peyton Manning as the Colts (11-2) beat New England 20-15 on Sunday for their ninth straight victory.

The victory put Indianapolis on the brink of the AFC title a year after finishing 3-13.

The Colts got additional help from the New York Giants, who knocked off second-place Buffalo 19-17, keeping their own playoff hopes alive in the process.

In other early games Sunday, Washington held on to its lead in the NFC East with a 28-3 win over Arizona; St Louis beat New Orleans 30-14, and Carolina upset Green Bay 33-31 behind Steve Beuerlein's heroics.

It was Baltimore 31, Pittsburgh 24; Cincinnati 44, Cleveland 28; Dallas 20, Philadelphia 10; and St. Louis 30, New Orleans 14. .

Minnesota was at Kansas City on Sunday night.

Denver is at Jacksonville on Monday night.

Tennessee opened the weekend with a 21-14 victory over Oakland on Thursday night.

This wasn't Indianapolis' most efficient game in its nine-game winning streak.

But on a day Manning threw for just 186 yards, it highlighted the skills of Harrison and James, who have helped Indianapolis move toward the biggest one-season turnaround in NFL history, a game away from the record of nine.

"It makes it so easy for me when the defense is concentrating on Marvin. I get 3, 4, 5 yards but Marvin hits them for 15, 20, 25," said James, who tied an NFL rookie record with his ninth 100-yard rushing game and broke Marshall Faulk's Colts record for rushing yards by a rookie.

Harrison's 118 yards came on six catches, including one for 52 yards on the Colts' first play, breaking team season records for receptions and reception yardage.

The loss was critical for New England (7-6), which fell further behind in the AFC wild-card race.


Giants 19, Bills 17

Kerry Blanchard's 48-yard field goal with 40 seconds left, his fourth of the game, gave the Giants (7-6) the win and kept them a game behind Washington in the NFC East. Blanchard, signed after Brad Daluiso was hurt Oct. 18, is 13-of-14 for the season.

Kerry Collins had a 14-yard TD pass to Amani Toomer for New York. Buffalo (8-5) scored on a 23-yard screen pass from Doug Flutie to Thurman Thomas, back from an opening-day injury, and a 2-yard run by Jonathan Linton.


Panthers 33, Packers 31

Steve Beuerlein completed a magnificent day by rushing for a 5-yard touchdown as time expired for Carolina (6-7).

Beuerlein threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns in a duel with Brett Favre, converting a desperation 18-yard fourth-down pass to tight end Wesley Walls.

The loss was the third at home this season for Green Bay (7-6) which fell further behind the NFC Central leaders.


Redskins 28, Cardinals 3

Stephen Davis ran for 189 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown, and Brad Johnson threw two touchdown passes as the Redskins (8-5) stayed alone in first place in the NFC East. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Cardinals (6-7), who had three offensive starters leave the game with injuries.

The Redskins, whose offense has struggled recently, gained 406 yards. Coach Norv Turner, criticized for abandoning the running game in last week's loss in Detroit, made up for it by giving Davis 37 carries.


Cowboys 20, Eagles 10

Chris Warren had a 4-yard touchdown run and Troy Aikman threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to David LaFleur for the Cowboys (7-6).

Dallas, 1-6 on the road but seeking its first perfect home record since 1981, remained tied with the Giants a game behind Washington in the NFC East. But Dallas lost defensive end Greg Ellis with a broken leg, and Emmitt Smith left the game early with a strained groin.

Philadelphia (3-11) lost rookie quarterback Donovan McNabb to a knee injury.


Rams 30, Saints 14

The Rams (11-2) became the first team in NFL history to go undefeated in their division a year after going winless in division play.

For the second straight week, St. Louis also had a 300-yard passer in Kurt Warner, a 100-yard rusher in Marshall Faulk and two 100-yard receivers in Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. The Saints fell to 2-11.


Bengals 44, Browns 28

Corey Dillon ran for 192 yards and three touchdowns in less than three quarters in the final game at Cinergy Field. The Bengals (4-10) are scheduled to move a few blocks away to Paul Brown Stadium in 2000. Dillon gave the old place a sendoff to remember.

Playing on the same field where he broke Jim Brown's rookie record with 246 yards in 1997, Dillon baffled the Browns (2-12) with his cutbacks on the slick artificial turf.


Ravens 31, Steelers 24

Tony Banks, only 3-of-17 in the first half, hit Qadry Ismail on three touchdown passes of 54 yards or longer in a 9-minute span of the third quarter.

It was the fifth straight loss for Pittsburgh (5-8) and the first win ever after three losses in Three Rivers Stadium for Baltimore (6-7). Ismail finished with six catches for 258 yards.