By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis' winning formula still works.
Peyton Manning threw for three touchdowns, Dominic Rhodes ran for one and cornerback Kelvin Hayden's interception return produced another as the Colts routed Cincinnati 35-3 on Sunday.
It was a stark contrast from the past month when Indy became just the third team in league history to win five consecutive games by six points or fewer. No. 6 had a completely different look.
Manning's uncanny mixture of methodical drives and quick-hitting plays were too much for Cincinnati's beleaguered defense, and after failing to score an offensive touchdown last week at Cleveland, Manning led the Colts on three TD drives of 69 yards or longer.
Indy's most lopsided win of the season also kept it in position for one of the AFC's two wild-card spots. The Colts (9-4) host winless Detroit next week.
For Cincinnati (1-11-1), the scenario looked familiar, too.
Manning completed 26 of 32 for 277 yards, matching his season high for touchdown passes. Cincinnati lost four turnovers -- one stopped a potential scoring drive, one set up a Colts score, the third was returned for a touchdown and the last ended the game. Ryan Fitzpatrick was sacked four times, and although Cincinnati stayed close for a quarter, the Bengals eventually broke down.
Shayne Graham produced the only Cincinnati points for the second straight week and the Bengals have been outscored 96-16 in their latest three-game losing streak. They haven't scored a touchdown in 11 quarters and have lost six straight to the Colts.
Indy wasted no time in getting started.
On their second possession, Manning repeatedly hurt the Bengals for big yardage before handing off to Rhodes, who ran right, broke one tackle and virtually walked into the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
Graham's 19-yard field goal midway through the second quarter cut the lead to 7-3.
Then everything unraveled for Cincinnati.
Hayden jumped Jerome Simpson's route, picked off Fitzpatrick's pass and ran it back to the Bengals 15 with 1:01 left in the half. Chris Henry's penalty for unnecessary roughness moved the ball to the Cincinnati 7, and two plays later Manning connected with Marvin Harrison on a 5-yard TD pass to make it 14-3 at the half.
Manning was only warming up.
He started the second half with a 15-play drive that lasted 8:45 and ended with a 2-yard TD pass to Anthony Gonzalez for a 21-3 lead. The next time Indy got the ball, Manning found Harrison for a 67-yard catch-and-run that set up Manning's third TD pass, a 4-yarder to Dallas Clark to make it 28-3.
And Hayden's 85-yard interception return sealed it with 5:02 to play.
Fitzpatrick was 18-of-26 for 170 yards and T.J. Houshmandzadeh caught eight passes for 75 yards to lead the Bengals.
Ind--Rhodes 17 run (Vinatieri kick), :36.
Cin--FG Graham 19, 6:08.
Ind--Harrison 5 pass from Manning (Vinatieri kick), :29.
Ind--Gonzalez 2 pass from Manning (Vinatieri kick), 6:15.
Ind--Clark 4 pass from Manning (Vinatieri kick), 2:22.
Ind--Hayden 85 interception return (Vinatieri kick), 5:02.
|Total Net Yards||252||334|
|Time of Possession||32:53||27:07|
RUSHING--Cincinnati, Benson 16-57, Fitzpatrick 3-17, J.Johnson 3-4, J.Palmer 1-4, Perry 1-0. Indianapolis, Rhodes 10-31, Addai 10-26.
PASSING--Cincinnati, Fitzpatrick 18-26-2-170, J.Palmer 4-6-1-30. Indianapolis, Manning 26-32-0-277.
RECEIVING--Cincinnati, Houshmandzadeh 8-75, C.Johnson 5-79, Kelly 3-7, Henry 2-20, Benson 2-1, Perry 1-12, Caldwell 1-6. Indianapolis, Robinson 6-69, Wayne 5-48, Clark 4-29, Harrison 3-78, Gonzalez 3-27, Rhodes 3-12, Addai 2-14.
MISSED FIELD GOALS--None.