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Manning, Colts win, control their destiny

OAKLAND - Peyton Manning made sure the Indianapolis Colts came out ahead in a game it turned out they didn't need to win to stay in control of the AFC South race.

Manning threw three touchdown passes and iced the game with a 27-yard keeper to help the Indianapolis Colts beat the Oakland Raiders, 31-26, Sunday in a game that turned out to have little playoff meaning.

The Colts (9-6) allowed Jacoby Ford to return the opening kick for a touchdown, overcame a pair of interceptions by Manning in the second half and survived four field goals from Sebastian Janikowski, including two from more than 50 yards, to move within a win of clinching the AFC South title for their ninth straight playoff berth.

But when Jacksonville lost, 20-17, in overtime to Washington earlier Sunday, the Colts knew that no matter what happened in this game they could clinch the division with a win at home next week against the Titans or a Jaguars' loss at Houston.

The results in the early games also robbed this game of any real meaning for the Raiders (7-8), who were eliminated from playoff contention when Kansas City wrapped up a 34-14 win against Tennessee early in the first quarter of this game.

The Raiders hung close with the Colts for much of this game but were unable to score an offensive touchdown until Jason Campbell's 6-yard pass to Zach Miller with 1:51 to play.

Manning took advantage of a 31-yard pass interference call against Stanford Routt to throw a 4-yard TD pass to Blair White to give the Colts a 24-16 lead late in the third. But little came easy for Manning against Oakland's defense. He threw a pair of interceptions in the second half, giving him 17 for the season, his most since 2002.

He responded from the second interception, which led to a field goal that cut the Colts' lead to 24-19, by leading Indianapolis on a 68-yard drive that was capped by a 7-yard TD pass to Pierre Garcon on third down to give the Colts a 12-point lead.

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