November 23, 2009
Perfect 10sColts, Saints on historic paths
By KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA
Normally it's one team making a race to perfection.
This year in the NFL, it's a perfection race.
One week after receiving Bill Belichick's present, the Indianapolis Colts got a few more gifts yesterday to improve to 10-0, while the high-flying New Orleans Saints simply cruised to their 10th victory in as many tries.
The last time there were two 10-0 teams in the NFL was 19 years ago, when both the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers accomplished the feat.
The Colts, who have won 19 regular-season games in a row, eked out a 17-15 win over the pesky Baltimore Ravens, who helped Peyton Manning and Co. win their fourth straight game by four points or fewer.
Ravens placekicker Billy Cundiff, picked up after he was let go by the Cleveland Browns earlier this month, booted five field goals, but his missed 30-yarder in the third quarter would have helped Baltimore (5-5) in the end.
Manning isn't concerned about an undefeated season or going after New England's regular-season winning streak of 21.
"It's not really on anybody's mind, at least not on my mind," Manning told reporters. "We're relieved we got this win. Obviously, it's a great team effort."
The Saints pummelled the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-7, even though Drew Brees threw for only 187 yards and three touchdowns. Mike Bell had a pair of rushing majors.
We'll find out just how good the Saints are a week from tonight, when they play host to the New England Patriots in what should be a dandy Monday nighter.
Of Indy's six remaining games, the toughest appears to be a road game in Jacksonville (6-4) on Dec. 17.
Getting swept by the resurgent Cincinnati Bengals is one thing.
But losing to the Kansas City Chiefs?
It's not a good day to be a Steelers fan after Pittsburgh (6-4) dropped a 27-24 overtime decision to the Chiefs (3-7) and also lost quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in OT to what head coach Mike Tomlin described as a "concussion-oriented thing."
Luckily for the Steelers, the Bengals (7-3) were stunned 20-17 by Oakland after the Raiders scored 10 points in the last 33 seconds.
The day's most entertaining game featured arguably the two worst teams in the league.
The Detroit Lions (2-8) escaped with a 38-37 win over the Cleveland Browns (1-9) thanks to a pass interference penalty on a failed Hail Mary attempt. Matt Stafford hit Brandon Pettigrew with his fifth touchdown toss of the day after time expired, and Jason Hanson's extra point secured the win.
It wasn't all bad news for the Browns, as quarterback Brady Quinn more than doubled his career touchdown mark. The former Notre Dame pivot had four TD throws in the loss to the Lions after managing just three in his first seven starts.