Peyton Manning got Indianapolis' makeshift offense chugging like its old self Monday night.
The four-time league MVP threw for two touchdowns, and watched Mike Hart run for a career-high 84 yards and Jacob Tamme score his first career TD to help Indy get past Houston, 30-17.
The victory allowed the Colts (5-2) to get even in the head-to-head series with Houston (4-3) and gave the defending AFC champions sole possession of the South Division lead.
And even though the Colts were missing All-Pro tight end Dallas Clark, receiver Austin Collie and running back Joseph Addai with injuries, Manning and his teammates didn’t miss a beat.
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“Whoever’s in there has to find a way to do the job. It’s not always going to be pretty, but we’ve just got to keep grinding and making some plays,” Manning said.
Playing in Indianapolis, Manning went 26-for-45 for 268 yards. Hart ran with the same determination he used to become Michigan’s career rushing leader and provided the Colts with a rare ground game, and Tamme, Clark’s replacement, caught six passes for 64 yards.
Reggie Wayne caught a touchdown pass, Manning ran for a first down for the first time in nearly two years, and even became the lead blocker on a first-down catch-and-run by Pierre Garon in the third quarter.
That’s how important the game was to the Colts.
“It’s a big win and we needed it,” Tamme said.
MOSS OUT OF WORK
Four weeks after he gushed about returning to Minnesota, where he started his career in 1998, mercurial wide receiver Randy Moss was waived by the struggling Vikings (2-5).
Players confirmed that coach Brad Childress informed them during a team meeting that Moss had been released one day after his rant following a loss to New England, which received a No. 3 pick in the 2011 draft for the record-setting receiver.
“This decision was made based on what we thought was in the best interests of the Minnesota Vikings, both in the short and long term,” Childress said in a statement.
Moss had one catch for 8 yards against the Patriots. In four games for the Vikings, he had 13 receptions for 174 yards and two touchdowns.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan changed his story in a hurry. Donovan McNabb was benched because of his body, not his brain, he said.
Less than 24 hours after declaring he yanked McNabb because of a “gut feel” relating to the quarterback’s less-than-full competence in the hurry-up offense, the coach insisted it had more to do with “cardiovascular endurance” issues.
McNabb, because of nagging hamstring and groin injuries, wasn’t in good enough shape to run a two-minute offense with no timeouts — according to Shanahan.
With the Redskins trailing the Detroit Lions by six with 1:50 to play, Shanahan pulled McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman, who fumbled his first snap of the season on a blindside sack that rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh returned for a clinching score.
Minnesota QB Brett Favre told his coach he was feeling fine afer a hard hit to the chin knocked him out of the game against the Patriots. The veteran is battling injuries but has started 291 consecutive games. Cowboys coach Wade Phillips, afer reviewing film of Dallas’ 1-6 start, concluded poor fundamentals were at fault and decided to put his players through training-camp mode. Rookie middle linebacker Rolando McClain broke his media silence long enough to say he’ll talk to the press if the Raiders sell out their game against Kansas City on Sunday. Colts owner Jim Irsay promised to make Manning the NFL’s highest-paid player next season. Giants center Shaun O’Hara is battling a sprained right foot and his status is uncertain for Sunday’s game at Seattle.