Flutie Shows Up Colts, Manning


A rejuvenated Doug Flutie showed rookie Peyton Manning a thing or two about playing quarterback.

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  • in the NFL after eight years in the Candadian Football League, Flutie passed for two touchdowns and set up two short scoring runs by Antowain Smith in the Buffalo Bills' 31-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

    "I wish I was 28 years old right now, which is where I was when I left this league. But I'm not," Flutie said. "But I still have my athleticism, I can still run and throw, and quarterbacking is about making decisions.

    "I'm getting a little smarter in my old age, and a lot more comfortable."

    The 35-year-old Flutie, who signed with Buffalo as a free agent last January, entered the game in the first quarter after Rob Johnson was sacked and left with sore ribs. X-rays showed a separation of his rib cartilage, and the Bills did not know how long Johnson would be out.

    "I always believed I always could play. It's a matter of people giving me the opportunity," said Flutie, who also played in Buffalo's season-opening last-second loss at San Diego, when Johnson sustained a concussion. "There are going to be days where I struggle ... I played well today, we had a good game and moved the football, and I'm just trying to do my ob."

    Flutie was 23-for-28 for 213 yards with no sacks or interceptions.

    "Doug was fantastic," Buffalo coach Wade Phillips said. "He hit every pass, it looked like. The ones he didn't were still on the money. He made all the big plays we needed. He can run the offense, scramble around and make things happen."

    Manning, a top pick in this year's draft, was 20-for-41 for 235 yards, but was intercepted twice. He has thrown an NFL-high 14 interceptions.

    "He really came in and played well. He was taking what the defense was giving them," Manning said of Flutie's performance. "It was frustrating, because we had the lead in the first half and then didn't do anything.

    "I

    Bills/Colts
    Jay Riemersma, left, was the benefactor of Doug Flutie's first touchdown pass against the Colts. (AP)
    missed some throws I'd love to have back. We came out pretty hot and at the beginning of the second half we were kind of dead. By the end of the game, it was too late," Manning said.

    The Bills (2-3) erased a 9-0 Indianapolis lead, went in front on Flutie's 6-yard TD pass to Kevin Williams in the third quarter and put the game away with the two scoring runs by Smith in the first four minutes of the final period.

    "We had opportunities to score touchdowns and weren't able to do that, and that hurt us," Colts coach Jim Mora said. "We were playing well and had good field position and couldn't get it in the end zone. In the second half, they took over offensively and defensively, and we couldn't get anything going."

    The Colts (1-5) scored on all four of their possessions in the first half, but settled each time for a field goal by Mike Vanderjagt. Their first three series of the second half produced 10 yards.

    Buffalo, meanwhile, drove 59 yards, including a 20-yard pass from Flutie to Sam Gash, the first of five consecutive completions that produced the go-ahead touchdown with 4:06 to go.

    "I've always been a fan of Doug Flutie's," Mora said of the six-time CFL most valuable player. "He's an excellent competitor, he's smart, he's got experience. I've watched his career, and it didn't surprise me at all what he did."

    Late in the third quarter, Flutie hit three consecutive passes, then ran 12 yards to the 4 before Smith scored his first touchdown.

    Then Ted Washington batted Manning's pass at the line of scrimmage and intercepted at the Indianapolis 25. Flutie passed 4 yards to Thurman Thomas, and Smith scored from the 1.

    Flutie's first TD pass went for 7 yards to Jay Riemersma in the second quarter.

    Steve Christie added a 39-yard field goal with :20 left before the Colts scored on touchdown passes by Manning of 3 yards to Torrance Small with just over two minutes to go and 25 yards to Marvin Harrison with 6 seconds remaining.

    Notes:

  • Thomas gained 23 yards, giving him 1,204 for his career against the Colts. O.J. Simpson had the previous record of 1,197 against the Colts.
  • Buffalo posted back-to-back victories for the first time in a year, Sept. 21 and Oct. 5, 1997 against Indianapolis and Detroit.
  • Marshall Faulk and Harrison extended their streaks of receptions in each of their NFL games. Faulk's 67 straight games is second to Kellen Winslow's NFL record of 73 consecutive games to start a career. Harrison's streak is 38 games.
  • Reed extended his record of the most receptions against the Colts to 113.
  • Besides Johnson, the Bills had three defensive backs injured. Kurt Schulz suffered a knee injury, while Ken Irvin and Manny Martin had sprained ankles. The only Colts injury was a hamstring by Larry Chester .

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