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Colts Inch Closer to AFC South Crown with 31-26 Win in Oakland

The Colts already got a gift earlier in the day when the Jags lost in OT to the Redskins at home, and then later in Oakland the team took care of business, topping the Raiders 31-26.

The win pushes them ever so close to their second straight AFC South title, a title that as of just last Sunday could have slipped away with a loss to Jacksonville at home.

Peyton Manning looks more and more back to form, as he threw three touchdown passes, going 16-of-30 passes for 179 yards and two interceptions. The now 9-6 Colts have won three in a row, including a big 34-24 win over the Jaguars last weekend.

A win by the Colts over the Titans next week gives Indy the division crown. The Colts can also secure the division title with a Jaguars loss at Houston.

“We have to try to find a way to win next week,” Manning said. “It’s really hard to get a summary and try to put it in perspective. We’ve definitely dealt with different things. Maybe it’s been different in years past, (we’ve had) different guys playing each week.”

Dominic Rhodes carried the ball 17 times for 98 yards. Joseph Addai returned to the lineup after missing seven games with a neck injury and rushed for 45 yards and a score on 12 carries.

Jacob Tamme caught seven passes for 78 yards and a touchdown for Indianapolis, which also got receiving TDs from Pierre Garcon and Blair White.

Jason Campbell connected on 29-of-42 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown for the Raiders (7-8), who were eliminated from playoff contention after Kansas City beat Tennessee. The Chiefs won the AFC West.

“There’s a ton of improvement, but we’re disappointed because we really wanted the chance to see if we could be a playoff team this year,” Raiders coach Tom Cable said. “Our goals have to change for the last week.”

Darren McFadden carried the ball 11 times for 45 yards. Zach Miller caught nine passes for 66 yards and a score.

Jacoby Ford returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown to put Oakland ahead early.

Following four punts, the Colts took over at their own 43 with 8:16 left. Manning threw three passes of over 13 yards to set up Indy at the six-yard line. Addai then scampered into the end zone to make it 7-7.

The Colts bridged the first and second quarters with an 11-play, 50-yard drive. Adam Vinatieri capped the march with a 30-yard field goal for a 10-7 edge with 14:51 remaining until half.

Sebastian Janikowski made field goals of 59 and 38 yards to give the Raiders a 13-10 lead with 1:55 to go.

Manning led the Colts on an eight-play, 88-yard drive before the half. Faced with a 2nd-and-17 from the Oakland 43, the Raiders were called for defensive pass interference. On the next play, Tamme caught an 18-yard TD pass to give Indy a 17-13 lead at the break.

Janikowski cut the gap to 17-16 on a 51-yard field goal with 7:53 left in the third.

Following a pair of punts, Indianapolis took over at its own 44. A defensive pass interference penalty set up the Colts at the 12. Two plays later, White stretched the ball across the right pylon to complete a four-yard score and 24-16 lead.

The second play of the fourth quarter resulted in Chris Johnson intercepting Manning. Oakland took over at the 37-yard line of the Colts. The Raiders, though, only managed to get a 45-yard Janikowski field goal to make it 24-19 with 12:59 to play.

Indianapolis responded with a touchdown to essentially put the game out of reach. Addai’s 18-yard run set up the Colts at the Oakland 29. Faced with a 3rd-and-9, Manning threw a 13-yard pass to Tamme. Then on 3rd-and-2, Garcon hauled in a seven-yard TD pass for a 31-19 margin with 7:38 remaining.

Miller caught a six-yard TD pass with 1:51 left to cut the gap to 31-26, but Oakland failed to get the onsides kick.

Manning sealed the victory with a 27-yard run on third down.

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