Sunday, January 07, 2007

Cowboys Fumble Away Win; Colts Defense Shines

Indianapolis 23, Kansas City 8
Peyton Manning and the Colts beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 23-8, on Saturday, and although the star quarterback's numbers were good — 30 for 38 for 268 yards — his performance was mediocre. He had three passes intercepted, didn't complete a deep pass and was bailed out by his defense. The beleaguered Indianapolis defense was so good — or perhaps more accurately, Kansas City's offense was so bad — that Manning's miscues didn't stop the AFC South champions from advancing to the next round at Baltimore on Saturday. A defense that yielded 173 yards rushing a game this season gave up 44 to Pro Bowl back Larry Johnson and the Chiefs. Kansas City's initial first down came with 3 minutes 34 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Indianapolis had four sacks, two by Dwight Freeney, and two interceptions. The Chiefs managed 126 total yards. The Chiefs, who haven't won a playoff game in 13 years, had no first downs and 16 total yards in the first half.

Seattle 21, Dallas 20
All Tony Romo had to do was put the ball down and let Martin Gramatica make an easy kick — just 19 yards, even closer than an extra point. That's where it all slipped away from the Dallas Cowboys. The Pro Bowl quarterback who saved their season ended it, too. Romo's bobble on the field-goal try with 1:19 left led to a scramble that ended 2 yards shy of the end zone and a yard short of a first down, preserving a 21-20 victory for the Seattle Seahawks in the wildest of wild-card games Saturday night. Seattle will play on the road next weekend, its foe determined by the Philadelphia-New York Giants game Sunday. If the Eagles win, the Seahawks play at Chicago. If the Giants win, the Seahawks play at New Orleans. The Cowboys are 0-for-2 under Parcells in the playoffs and might have played their last game for him. If so, his four-year tenure would end with three straight losses and four in his last five games. Matt Hasselbeck was 18-of-36 for 240 yards with two touchdowns, both to Stevens, and two interceptions, both of which resulted in Dallas field goals. Dallas is 0-5 in the playoffs since winning a wild-card game at Minnesota on Dec. 28, 1996. The Cowboys had never lost more than three straight postseason games.

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