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October 21, 2013

Indy capitalizes on Denver miscues

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — It was just Peyton Manning's luck.

On his first trip back to Lucas Oil Stadium, he and his teammates had an off night. His successor and his old team, they got it right.

Andrew Luck threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score Sunday night, handing Denver a 39-33 loss — its first of the season — without even needing one of Luck's trademark fourth-quarter comebacks.

"It's not real fun watching him," Luck said of Manning. "But he is something to watch."

Heading into the game, Manning and Denver (6-1) looked virtually unbeatable. The Broncos were scoring points by the dozens in the midst of a 17-game regular-season winning streak and showed no signs of even hitting a speed bump.

Then came what was supposed to be Manning's happy homecoming. Nothing went right and now the Kansas City Chiefs are the NFL's lone unbeaten team.

He lost a fumble, threw an interception and was sacked four times — twice by Robert Mathis, one of the few remaining holdovers from the Manning era.

Broncos kick returner Trindon Holliday fumbled twice, losing one that led to a Colts touchdown.

Denver's defense committed inexplicable penalties throughout the second half, giving the Colts more opportunities than they needed, and the Broncos' last good chance fizzled when Denver running back Ronnie Hillman lost a fumble inside the Colts 5-yard line with 3:03 left in the game.

With Luck and the Colts repeatedly taking advantage, even Manning couldn't rescue the Broncos.

While Manning finished with solid numbers, 29 of 49 for 386 yards with three TD passes, he certainly wasn't himself. Passes fluttered, passes sailed, passes were broken up.

Luck was 21 of 38 for 228 yards with three scores and no turnovers in ending Denver's pursuit of perfection. Indianapolis (5-2) extended its lead in the AFC South and still hasn't lost consecutive games since Luck arrived in the NFL last year.

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