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TV broadcaster said Colts showed 'no class'

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy couldn't
escape the lingering question Monday: Why was Peyton Manning still
throwing deep so late in Sunday's 49-14 rout of Houston?

"Everybody can look at it the way they want to," Dungy said in
his typically stoic manner. "They say you should run the ball
three times and punt. We aren't trying to run the score up on
people, we were trying to make first downs."

A day after the Colts' most lopsided win in seven years, some
people were still struggling to understand the difference.

When the Colts took a 42-7 lead after three quarters, most
people assumed Indianapolis would grind out the clock with the
three biggest stars -- Manning, Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison --
safely on the sideline.

Instead the Colts let Manning continue to throw.

Dungy insisted Monday the Colts were merely adjusting to
Houston's defense as they always do, and that the Texans' eight-man
fronts forced them to try and run out the clock through the air.

The reality was Manning was just 2-of-5 for 25 yards and threw
one interception in the fourth quarter.

The perception, though, was very different.

CBS analyst Randy Cross blasted the Colts, saying they showed
"no class."

A shoving match ensued in the game's final minutes, and
afterward some Texans said they would use the memories of Sunday's
game to motivate them for the rematch in Houston on Dec. 12.

Other Texans were more understanding of the Colts' tactics.

"Tony Dungy is not that kind of guy," starting nose tackle
Seth Payne said. "They tried three running plays in a row once,
and you saw what happened."

Indianapolis had the ball only twice in the fourth quarter
Sunday, but both series caused consternation.

Clinging to that 42-7 lead, Manning opened the first drive by
throwing incomplete to Harrison, then hooked up with Harrison for
13 yards and Reggie Wayne for 12 before throwing his second
interception of the game.

On the next series, James ran twice for 3 yards before Manning
threw deep to Aaron Moorehead on third-and-7. An unnecessary
roughness penalty gave Indianapolis a first down.

James then ran twice for 9 yards, setting up the game's most
curious play -- a long pass to Harrison on third-and-1 from the Indy
41. Harrison had beaten a defender inside the Texans 20, but did
not make the catch.

If he had, Manning might have had his sixth TD of the game and
32nd of the season.

Manning and Minnesota's Daunte Culpepper have each thrown a
league-high five TD passes in three games this year, an NFL record.
Manning's on pace to shatter Dan Marino's single-season record of
48 TD passes, set in 1984. Manning is on pace to throw 55.

The Colts argued that statistics, victory margin and records
weren't the issue Sunday, clock management was.

"If you run, you're basically giving the ball back to them, so
we were throwing versus eight-man fronts because that's what the
offense dictates," Manning said.

The bigger question might have been why Manning, James and
Harrison were even in the game.

Backup quarterback Jim Sorgi, a rookie, hasn't taken a snap all
season. Dominic Rhodes, James' backup, rushed for 1,104 yards his
rookie year -- an NFL record for undrafted free agents. The Colts
also have a deep receiving corps.

None of the triplets were injured during the rout, but some
wondered why Dungy even risked it.

"That's a decision we make week in and week out," he said.
"We wanted to get Sorgi in the game, but we didn't get the ball
back."

Dungy, known for his ability to develop aggressive defenses,
seemed to understand the fuss even though he tried to put it
perspective.

"I guess there's room for debate, but we have to run our
offense," he said. "Should we have taken those guys out? That's
conjecture."