x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Indianapolis wins, Saints keep perfect record

Joseph Addai punched his way into the end zone from two yards in the fourth quarter as Indianapolis sneaked past Houston 20-17.

Joseph Addai punched his way into the end zone from two yards in the fourth quarter as Indianapolis sneaked past Houston 20-17, extending their win streak to 17-straight games on Sunday. Addai's touchdown proved to be the go-ahead score and it helped give the Colts' the win after Houston kicker Kris Brown missed a 42-yard field goal on the game's last play in front of a crowd of 66,033 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Quarterback Peyton Manning competed 34-of-50 passes for 318 yards and one touchdown for the Colts, who equalled the Chicago Bears of 1933-34 for the third-longest winning streak in National Football League history. "Huge win, great effort," said three-time MVP Manning, who tied Fran Tarkenton for fourth in career victories with 125. "It was a great job kind of hanging in there. Obviously, everything wasn't perfect, but we did a good job of just kind of fighting, and came away with a big win."

Addai finished with 63 yards on 14 carries while Dallas Clark made 14 catches for 119 yards for the Colts who moved to 8-0 on the season. Indianapolis, who have not lost a game since October of last year at Tennessee, snapped the Texans' (5-4) three-game winning streak. "I missed the kick," Brown said. "I was going through my routine, and I felt good walking on the field. I take a lot of pride in kicking, especially in these situations. To have that happen is very disappointing."

The Texans were led by Matt Schaub who finished 32-of-43 for 311 yards and had one touchdown and two interceptions. Andre Johnson had 10 catches for 103 yards while Ryan Moats posted a touchdown catch and Steve Slaton ran one for a score for the Texans, who have lost 14 of 15 games to the Colts since entering the NFL seven years ago. The Colts join New England and Chicago as the only teams to win 17 consecutive games. The Patriots did it twice and they travel to Indianapolis next week where they will try to prevent the Colts from getting to their all-time record of 21-straight from 2006-08. New England won 18 in a row from 2003-04.

The New Orleans Saints also kept their perfect record intact and like the Colts they had to work for it as they rallied to beat Carolina 30-20. They took the lead in the fourth quarter on a John Carney field goal then sealed the win with Anthony Hargrove's fumble return for a score with two minutes left. Drew Brees finished 24-of-35 for 330 yards, a touchdown and an interception for the Saints, who are 8-0 for the first time in franchise history.

"That's special, that's really special," Brees said. "I feel like we have a special group of guys, we've got a special team. Certainly we're not satisfied with just being 8-0." New Orleans fell behind by 14 points in the opening quarter before coming from behind to join the Colts as the lone undefeated teams in the league. Quarterback Jake Delhomme had 201 yards on 17-of-30 passing for the Panthers, who had not lost a road game to Carolina in eight years.

In other key matchups on Sunday, Tom Brady threw for 332 yards and hit Randy Moss with the go-ahead 71-yard score in the third quarter, as the New England Patriots posted a 27-17 win over Miami. Also, Tampa rookie quarterback Josh Freeman made the most of his first NFL start by throwing three touchdown passes in a 38-28 come-from-behind win over Green Bay that saw the Bucs collect their first win. Brady finished 25-of-37 in passing with the one touchdown and an interception, while Moss made a half dozen grabs for 147 yards. Wes Welker added nine catches for 84 yards for the Patriots.

Running back Laurence Maroney rushed for 82 yards with a touchdown for New England (6-2), which had a bye last week. The Patriots have now won three straight for a two-game lead over the idle New York Jets in the AFC East. The Dolphins (3-5) spoiled a chance to close the gap in the division failing to build off last week's win against the Jets. * AFP