San Diego ends Colts' bid for perfect season

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The San Diego Chargers defeated the Indianapolis Colts 26-17 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. It is the first loss of the season for the Colts, who are the fourth team in NFL history to win their first 13 games.

San Diego pulled ahead early, scoring a touchdown and two field goals in the first half. Nate Kaeding kicked a 48-yard field goal in the third period to increase the Chargers' lead to 16 points, but Indianapolis responded with two touchdowns and a field goal in 6 minutes, giving the Colts a 17-16 lead.

Kaeding made a 49-yard field goal to put San Diego up 19-17 in the fourth quarter. The Colts' ensuing drive ended when rookie Chagers defensive tackle Luis Castillo sacked Colts quarterback Peyton Manning putting Indianapolis out of field goal range. Chargers running back Michael Turner then scored a touchdown on an 83-yard running play, pushing San Diego's lead to 26-17 with two minutes left.

The Colts attempted a comeback but Manning was intercepted in the Indianapolis endzone, bringing to an end the game and the Colts' 13-game winning streak.

The win means the Chargers remain in close contention with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who won in Minnesota, for an AFC wildcard spot. San Diego and Pittsbugh both have 9-5 records, however the Steelers won their head-to-head matchup which would searve as a tie-breaker. The Colts have already clinched top seed in the AFC.

"It's tough to go 16-0. You have to play well every week," said Colts coach Tony Dungy. "The only consolation now is that we won't be asked all those questions, have all the media around and we can have more focus on our ultimate goal, to win the Super Bowl." The Colts no longer threaten the record set by the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the last NFL team to boast a perfect season.

The Colts (13-1) are in Seattle next Saturday to face the Seahawks (12-2), and the Chargers (9-5) are in Kansas City to play the Chiefs (8-6).