- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2009

From combined dispatches

Peyton Manning must like something in the Florida air. It’s where he puts on his most amazing prime-time magic shows.

The three-time MVP showed off his newest trick Monday night in Miami, rallying the Colts to a 27-23 victory even though the Colts held the ball for less than 15 minutes.

Improbable, yes. Surprising? Not to coach Jim Caldwell, who has seen the Colts make the implausible seem routinely possible thanks in large part to Manning’s escape acts.

“We’ve had some around here that have been close [to Monday night’s game],” Caldwell said, still shaking his head Tuesday. “Last year, we had a couple where the time of possession was out of whack. But nothing like last night.”

The Colts had the ball only three times in the second half. Indianapolis ran just three plays in the third quarter and allowed Miami to rush 49 times for 239 yards while converting 15 of 21 third downs.

It seemed like the perfect script to hold Manning in check — until he audibled a screen against a Miami blitz, hooked up with Pierre Garcon in the slot and then jumped for joy as Garcon raced 48 yards for the winning score with 3:18 to go. The victory, No. 119 for Manning, broke John Unitas’ franchise record for wins by a quarterback and marked the first time since 1977 that a winning team held the ball for fewer than 15 minutes.

COWBOYS: Dallas is discussing a limit on standing-room ticket sales after some tense moments with the biggest regular-season crowd in NFL history.

Team spokesman Brett Daniels said some people who bought the $29 Party Pass tickets were held back while authorities tried to manage crowd dispersal Sunday night at new Cowboys Stadium.

The record crowd of 105,121 included about 30,000 people with no assigned seats.

BUCS: Safety Jermaine Phillips will miss the rest of the season with a broken left thumb. Tampa Bay placed the eight-year pro on injured reserve Tuesday. He was hurt during Sunday’s 33-20 loss to Buffalo.

TRADE: New England obtained linebacker Prescott Burgess from Baltimore for a conditional seventh-round pick.

The Ravens used Burgess primarily on special teams this season. He was picked in the sixth round of the 2007 draft and played in eight games as a rookie before spending last year on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

PANTHERS: Carolina signed defensive tackle Antwon Burton to replace Louis Leonard, who broke his left ankle in Sunday’s loss to Atlanta.

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