The Indianapolis Colts (6-4) put 17 points on the board in the fourth quarter and put the Dallas Cowboys away 20-3. With the win, they remain tied atop the AFC South standings with the Tennessee Titans. While the defense dominated and Edgerrin James returned to the lineup to record his second 100 yard rushing game of the year, the story of the game was Marvin Harrison.
Harrison is continuing to have a spectacular season in what has been a spectacular career to this point. The six-foot receiver had 14 catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns.
With 89 receptions through 10 games, Harrison is on pace to catch 142 balls this year. The NFL record is 123, set by Herman Moore in 1995. Harrison, who now has 611 catches through 102 games in his career, eclipsed 600 receptions faster than any receiver in NFL history. Moore also had that distinction, needing 118 games.
Records aside, Harrison's performance played an important part in the Colts win. Leading the Cowboys by just a field goal late in the fourth quarter, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning found his favorite receiver for a 31 yard touchdown to give Indianapolis some breathing room. Less than two minutes later the duo hooked up for another touchdown, this time a one yarder to slam the door on Dallas.
"You can count on him. You know what he's going to do, and it's usually marvelous things," Colt receiver Troy Walters said of Harrison.
The Colts also got a marvelous performance out of their defense. Indianapolis limited the Cowboys to just 178 yards of offense in the game. The Cowboys went three and out on their first three possessions of the game and managed just 65 yards of offense in the second half. The Colts sacked and forced Chad Hutchinson to fumble on Dallas' final two possessions.
"That was a good win for us today," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "They're a talented team that's having some problems on offense, but defensive and on special teams, they give you everything you can handle.
Indianapolis travels to Denver to face the 7-3 Broncos for a Sunday night matchup. The 8:30 contest will be the Colts' third prime time game on the road this season. They lost a Monday Night game in Pittsburgh earlier this season, then lost the next Sunday night in Washington.
The Titans (6-4) continued their streak as the hottest team in the AFC South, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, 31-23. Tennessee scored 31 unanswered points to put the game out of reach before Pittsburgh scored two touchdowns late to make the score more aesthetically pleasing.
After Pittsburgh quarterback Tommy Maddox hit Hines Ward for a 72 yard touchdown pass on the first play of the game, Tennessee took over. On Pittsburgh's next possession, Titans linebacker Peter Sirmon intercepted Maddox on the Steelers 26 yard line and returned it to the one. Steve McNair hit Kevin Dyson on the next play to even the score.
Maddox was intercepted three times in the game, resulting in 14 points for the Titans. But that was not the worst thing to happen to the Steelers quarterback.
On the final play of the third quarter, Maddox was on his way down when he was hit awkwardly by Titans linebacker Keith Bullock. Maddox lost feeling in his extremities and lay motionless on the field for an extended period of time. He was taken to Baptist Hospital in Memphis where he stayed overnight. Maddox did regain full range of motion shortly after being removed from the field, and should fully recovery physically.
Steve McNair led the Titans offense, completing 18 of 33 passes for two touchdowns and no interceptions. He consistently hit receivers Derrick Mason and Kevin Dyson, who combined for 14 receptions and 172 yards. McNair hit Dyson for both of his touchdown passes.
"Our quarterback played as good a game as he's played all year. He was really, really good yesterday with the decisions," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.
Eddie George had 79 yards on 28 carries and scored the Titans other two touchdowns.
Tennessee's defense limited the Steelers to 45 yards rushing, and the Pittsburgh offense, until their final two drives accounted for 148 of their 357 total yards.
The Titans have now won five games in a row and are tied with the Indianapolis Colts for the top spot in the AFC South. They are also on the verge of getting healthier. Fisher stated in his press conference on Monday that injured Titans Frank Wychek, Randall Godfrey and Mike Echols will all have a shot to play this week.
He also wouldn't rule out the possibility of a return of "The Freak". Fisher said he felt better about Jevon Kearse's prognosis this week than he had at any other Monday press conference since Kearse broke his foot in the first game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
"The work on Friday was good. I think it was a confidence builder for him," Fisher said. "He realized after what he did on Friday, that he is going to have to deal with some pain and some soreness and he's not going to be 100 percent for a few weeks. We'll just have to wait and see how he comes on this week."
Tennessee travels to Baltimore to face the 4-6 Ravens on Sunday.
Rookie David Carr rallied the Texans (2-8) late, but fell short at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars, 24-21.
Early in the third quarter the Jaguars took a 24-7 lead on Mark Brunell's 13 yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Smith. To that point, Jacksonville had controlled game. They converted two turnovers, big plays, and a solid defensive effort into a comfortable 17 point lead.
Then, midway through the third quarter, Carr led the Texans on an 83 yard drive in which he went 5-5 passing for 54 yards before taking it into the endzone himself from two yards out. Two series later, Carr did it again. This time he drove the expansion team 70 yards on 13 plays before finishing it off with another touchdown run, this time right up the middle from 14 yards out.
Carr would have one more shot with the ball, but this time the Jaguars defense sent the Texans backwards 15 yards in three plays before Carr's final pass fell incomplete.
"We had our opportunities much as we did last week against Tennessee," Texans coach Dom Capers said. "Unfortunately, we didn't get it done."
Carr finished the game 22 of 30 for 228 yards and touchdown. Houston, however, managed just 78 yards rushing on 28 carries. The Jaguars also had 28 rushes in the game, but picked up 122 rushing yards.
The loss was the third consecutive for the Texans, leaving them in last place in the AFC South. They host the New York Giants, winners of three in a row, on Sunday.