American Football: Turner touchdown reins back Colts' perfect run

The proud record of the Miami Dolphins of 1972, the only perfect team in the history of the game, remains intact after their latest challengers, the Indianapolis Colts, fell 26-17 to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

The Colts had won 13 in a row in 2005, but they trailed 13-0 at half-time against rivals who needed victory to keep their own play-off hopes intact.

They rallied to take a 17-16 lead in the third quarter but ran out of steam at the end, Michael Turner providing the final score with an 83-yard run to seal an important win.

So ends yet another assault on the Miami record. The last team to win 13 in a row, Denver in 1998, also fell at the 14th hurdle, and while the Colts remain Super Bowl favourites, San Diego have shattered their aura of invincibility.

"You don't want to lose any games, whether there's history at stake, the playoffs, period," said the receiver Reggie Wayne. There were mixed emotions about this latest failure from the surviving Dolphins of 33 years ago. Some remain proud that their record remains out of reach, but others hope for company.

A moon walk would have seemed more likely than a winning team for Cincinnati Bengals fans over the last 15 years. Since 1990, the franchise has come to epitomise failure, but their 41-17 win in Detroit confirmed their play-off spot.

Denver sealed their post-season participation with a comfortable stroll against Buffalo. Having won three in a row, the New England Patriots are hitting form at the right time, and the defending champions shut out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28-0, confirming their play-off berth.

With only seven places still available and two matches of regular season play left, Carolina, Chicago, the New York Giants, Jacksonville and Pittsburgh all moved closer with wins over the weekend.

Also now in the mix are the fast-finishing Washington Redskins, who dismantled the Dallas Cowboys 35-7, a result which may blight the Texas side's own post-season aspirations.