BALTIMORE (AP) -- The defending Super Bowl champions are back in the playoffs, yet there's still work to be done.
Then again, if the Indianapolis Colts continue to play as they did against the Baltimore Ravens, they might be able to secure a high seed in the playoffs and still get some rest along the way.
Peyton Manning threw four touchdown passes before taking a seat early in the third quarter, and the Colts scored early and often in a 44-20 rout of the Ravens on Sunday night. The victory clinched a playoff berth for the Colts (11-2), who led 30-0 in the second quarter before coasting.
"We've got to go out and win next week and we can clinch our division. Depending on what happens with Pittsburgh, we can clinch that No. 2 spot, if we win and if they lose," Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy said. "That's what we're looking to try to do."
If he's looking to rest his regulars before the postseason, Dungy needs a couple more games like this one. Manning, running back Joseph Addai and several other starters were removed from the game after the Colts built their lead to 44-7 with 12:37 left in the third quarter.
"It's nice to win one like this; we haven't had many like this," Dungy said.
Baltimore (4-9) has lost a franchise-record seven straight. Coming off an inspired effort in a 27-24 loss to the unbeaten New England Patriots, the Ravens committed five turnovers, had a punt blocked and managed only 57 yards of offense through the first 30 minutes.
Kyle Boller threw three interceptions and lost a fumble before giving way to 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith, who ran for a 6-yard score in his NFL debut.
But that hardly made up for the first 59 minutes.
"You can't turn the ball over. We're not good enough offensively that we can do that," left tackle Jonathan Ogden said.
At halftime, with Indianapolis leading 37-7 and a driving rain making things even more uncomfortable for the home fans, well over half the crowd of 70,513 headed for the exits.
In the playoffs last January, Indianapolis failed to score a touchdown in a 15-6 victory that eliminated the Ravens. In the rematch, the Colts scored three TDs in the first quarter and two more in the second.
"It really wasn't easy," Manning insisted. "We had good execution and we had really good field position."
Manning was magnificent. After going 12-for-16 for 209 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, he followed a Baltimore turnover with a 40-yard TD pass to rookie Anthony Gonzalez to make it 44-7.
That ended Manning's night. He finished 13-for-17 for 249 yards and became only the fifth quarterback in NFL history to throw 300 touchdown passes.
"It means I've had great players to throw to. There's not a day that's gone by that I've not be appreciative of the protection I've had and just some outstanding targets, guys who've caught all these passes," Manning said.
Addai scored three touchdowns, on a 19-yard reception and runs of 1 and 11 yards. Gonzalez, replacing the injured Marvin Harrison, scored the first two touchdowns of his career and had six catches for 134 yards.
The Ravens played without injured cornerbacks Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle. Manning began tormenting McAlister's replacement, David Pittman, on the Colts' first drive.
After completing a third-down pass to Gonzalez in front of Pittman, Manning threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne, who easily beat Pittman down the right sideline.
"It was nice to get off to a good start," Dungy said. "We thought with their emotional game last week and the short week and with a lot of guys banged up, if we could get on them early and we could get the lead, it would help. That's what happened."
After that, the Ravens started giving the ball away and Manning kept turning the mistakes into touchdowns.
"Peyton saw blood in the water and went after it," Baltimore linebacker Bart Scott said.
"Once we found out McAlister and Rolle weren't playing, you certainly felt like you had to take some shots outside," Manning said. "Of course, the field position our defense got for us made a big difference."
Indianapolis 23 14 7 0 -- 44
Baltimore 0 7 0 13 -- 20
Ind--Wayne 34 pass from Manning (Vinatieri kick), 11:19.
Ind--Addai 1 run (Vinatieri kick), 9:09.
Ind--Addai 19 pass from Manning (Vinatieri kick), 4:05.
Ind--Safety, punt blocked by Coe out of bounds in end zone, 1:57.
Ind--Addai 11 run (Vinatieri kick), 11:57.
Bal--Figurs 94 kickoff return (Stover kick), 11:44.
Ind--Gonzalez 57 pass from Manning (Vinatieri kick), 6:20.
Ind--Gonzalez 40 pass from Manning (Vinatieri kick), 12:37.
Bal--Darling 4 pass from Boller (pass failed), 14:10.
Bal--T.Smith 6 run (Stover kick), :59.
|Total Net Yards||334||243|
|Time of Possession||26:51||33:09|
RUSHING--Indianapolis, Addai 13-32, Keith 5-16, C.Dawson 7-13, Sorgi 2-(minus 2). Baltimore, McGahee 17-45, Boller 8-33, M.Smith 4-7, Anderson 2-7, T.Smith 1-6.
PASSING--Indianapolis, Manning 13-17-0-249, Sorgi 3-5-0-26. Baltimore, Boller 19-25-3-132, T.Smith 3-5-0-33.
RECEIVING--Indianapolis, Gonzalez 6-134, Addai 3-49, Wayne 2-42, Utecht 2-19, Clark 1-15, Aromashodu 1-10, C.Dawson 1-6. Baltimore, Clayton 7-90, McGahee 5-7, Mason 3-30, Wilcox 2-8, Willis 1-11, McClain 1-9, Anderson 1-5, Darling 1-4, M.Smith 1-1.
MISSED FIELD GOALS--None.