INDIANAPOLIS — Sometimes it seems as if the Indianapolis Colts can’t stand prosperity.

The Colts played well early but managed to squander a 21-0 second quarter lead. Indianapolis, though, battled back down the stretch in registering a record-setting 28-16 win over the Denver Broncos Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

With the victory, Jim Caldwell’s team has now improved to 13-0 for the season and has clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Colts also notched their 22nd consecutive win dating back to last season, snapping the tie that the franchise had held with the New England Patriots for the longest such streak in NFL history.

Want more? Well, Indianapolis registered its 114th win since the start of the 2000 season to move past the San Francisco 49ers for the most wins in a decade by a league team.

Denver even got into the act as wide receiver Brandon Marshall set an NFL single-game record with 21 receptions, surpassing the mark of 20 that former San Francisco 49ers receiver Terrell Owens had set against the Chicago Bears on Dec. 17, 2000.

“We got to a fast start like we wanted to. The guys came out and played extremely well there early on in the first half. Obviously, it was a very good football team that we were playing. They were able to stall us quite a bit in the second half. They did a great job playing defense,” Caldwell said afterward.

“But I’m not certain that I haven’t seen better defense than our guys put forth (Sunday). They were very, very tough and had some key fourth down stops that were incredible. They did a great job of keeping (Denver]) at bay. And then at the end, when we needed and had to get that thing into the end zone, the offense came up with a 14-play drive and that was key.”

Indianapolis appeared to be on a roll through the first quarter and a half. Quarterback Peyton Manning connected on a five-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Austin Collie as well as a pair of scoring tosses to tight end Dallas Clark from 10-yards and 1-yard out.

And the Colts defense limited what Denver was trying to do offensively, forcing two punts and stopping the Broncos on fourth down as Indianapolis jumped out to the 21-0 lead. After that, things began to get really interesting.

Former Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton led the Broncos on a 12-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in a five-yard touchdown pass to Marshall. Matt Prater’s point after touchdown narrowed the margin to 21-7 with 2:23 remaining in the second quarter.

Denver’s defense forced a Pat McAfee punt. The Colts once again held the Broncos on fourth down. Manning had the first of three passes intercepted after former Indianapolis defensive end Darrell Reid tipped his throw at the line of scrimmage.

With a chance to cut further into the Colts lead, Denver drove the ball to the Indianapolis 45-yard line before the clock ran out at the end of the second quarter. Neither team could get much going early in the third quarter until Broncos safety Brian Dawkins came up with his second interception of the game, tracking down a Manning pass that had bounced off the helmet of Denver cornerback Champ Bailey.

Orton led another Broncos drive, this one ending at the Indianapolis 20-yard line when his throw to Marshall in the front corner of the end zone was intercepted by Colts cornerback Tim Jennings. After another Indianapolis three-and-out, Denver drove downfield and set up for a 42-yard field goal attempt by Prater. But the kick sailed wide right.

With a reprieve, the Colts couldn’t stand their good fortune. Manning’s next pass attempt was intercepted by backup safety Darrell McBath and Denver had new life once again at the Indianapolis 24-yard line. The defense stiffened once again, though, and five plays later Prater connected from 20-yards out and the Indianapolis lead was trimmed to 21-10.

After the third Colts punt of the third quarter, Denver marched 68 yards in 11 plays and scoring on a five-yard pass from Orton to —who else? — Marshall. Knowshon Moreno’s two-point conversion run was stuffed at the line of scrimmage and the Broncos were back to within 21-16 with 9:44 remaining in the game.

With the game literally on the line, Indianapolis was finally able to put the Broncos away. Manning hit on passes of 23 yards to Collie to get the Colts out of a hole at their own 20-yard line. On second-and-11, he found Reggie Wayne for another 20 yards.

Consecutive passes to running back Joseph Addai picked up 13 yards. An 11-yard pass to Collie. A five-yard run by running back Mike Hart. After a false start penalty back the Colts up five yards, Hart went inside for nine yards to take the football down to the Denver five-yard line.

Two more yards from Hart on third-and-one, this time going outside to his left and eluding two potential Broncos tacklers in the process, gave Indianapolis a first-and-goal at the three-yard line. One more Hart attempt went for no gain.

Manning completed the drive by faking the run and bootlegging out to his right and throwing a one-yard touchdown pass to Clark, his third of the day. The drive covered 80 yards in 14 plays and took a whopping 7:19 to complete. Denver was forced to use all of its remaining timeouts during the Colts possession.

It took one more defensive stand by the Colts, forcing a pair of incomplete passes and then defensive end Dwight Freeney sacked Orton for an eight-yard loss. Marshall set the league receiving record with his final catch of the day, coming on fourth-and-18. The play covered seven yards. A lateral to offensive guard Chris Kuper came up four yards short.

Manning completed 20-of-43 passes for 220 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. Addai picked up 67 yards in 16 carries while also catching five passes for 49 yards. Clark had five receptions for 43 yards and three touchdowns.

Orton, meanwhile, hit on 29-of-41 passes for 277 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He was sacked three times, one each by Freeney, middle linebacker Gary Brackett and defensive end Raheem Brock. Moreno was limited to 63 yards in 23 carries.

“(Denver) did a nice job of mixing their (defensive) coverages. They’re a very tough team to identify their (pass) rushers. They mix them up and they line up in different spots. It became a little difficult to figure out exactly where they were,” Caldwell said.

“You have to attribute (Manning’s three interceptions and Indianapolis’ inability to sustain possessions in the second half) to their great defense and their great defensive scheme.”

Indianapolis will now have a short week with a road trip Thursday night to face AFC South foe Jacksonville. The NFL Network will telecast the game nationally. Denver will return home to face Oakland in an AFC West game on Sunday.

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