Colts willing to share the blame for latest loss

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - For the second time in three weeks, Peyton Manning nearly led the Colts to a comeback win on the road.

For the second time in three weeks, he also failed.

Yes, Manning accepted full responsibility for the last-minute interception that cost Indianapolis a shot to force overtime at New England, or perhaps even win it at the end of regulation.

Teammates and coaches are more forgiving.

“That’s part of football,” linebacker Tyjuan Hagler said Monday. “We lost the game as a team, and, you know, he’s won a million of them for us.”

The actual number is 137, but who’s counting?

Traditionally, Manning has been one of the NFL’s most efficient quarterbacks when it matters most. A year ago, he had a league-best rating of 116.0 in the final 15 minutes and rallied Indianapolis to a club record seven fourth-quarter wins including the improbable 17-point comeback against New England.

On Sunday, he followed almost the exact same script.

Manning threw two TD passes to Blair White in the final eight minutes to get the Colts within 31-28 and had them in position for another score in the final minute.

Only this time instead of hooking up with Reggie Wayne for the winning score, the Patriots’ pressure forced Manning to alter his motion, making the throw short. James Sanders’ acrobatic catch preserved New England’s 31-28 win.

In Indianapolis and around the nation, many castigated Manning for the miscue.

But in this locker room, that’s not about to happen.

Peyton knows we’re behind him 100 percent because we’ve seen him time and time again win games for us,” cornerback Jerraud Powers said. “Look, people have their own opinions. But, at the end of the day, we’re trying to win a game.”

And all the Colts really wanted was a chance.

“You’ve got to go for the win,” said kicker Adam Vinatieri, who cringed as he watched the play on the big screen TV at Gillette Stadium.

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