Harrison Moves Into Second Place on NFL All-Time Receptions List
INDIANAPOLIS – He left the game to the congratulations of his teammates.
Moments later, his head coach was there to offer a hug.
Marvin Harrison, the Colts' first-round selection in the 1996 NFL Draft and a Pro Bowl wide receiver from 1999-2006, had just caught his seventh pass of the game, and left to an ovation from the fans at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis.
More imant was this:
He left the game as the second leading receiver in NFL history.
Harrison, a 13-year NFL veteran, caught seven passes for 31 yards, surpassing Cris Carter (1,101 receptions) with his seventh of the game. Harrison now has 1,102 receptions for 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns.
"Marvin, his career – it's hard to put it into short words," Colts quarterback Peyton Manning said. "He has been so consistent all of his career, so it's nice to have that record broken at home."
Harrison, who caught at least 82 passes for at least 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns each season from 1999-2006, caught 60 passes for 636 yards and five touchdowns in 15 games this season.
Among those who congratulated Harrison was Dungy, who hugged Harrison and spoke briefly to the receiver.
"I just said it has been great watching him and coaching him," Dungy said. "He has been phenomenal and it's well-deserved. I coached Cris Carter (while with the Minnesota Vikings from 1993-1995) and saw the work that he put in to get to that, and Marvin passing him was very fitting."
Jerry Rice holds the NFL record with 1,549 career receptions.
Harrison, who in 2002 set the NFL's all-time single season record with 143 receptions, also is the Colts' career leader in receptions, yardage and touchdown receptions. He and Manning hold the NFL record for receptions, yards and touchdown passes by a quarterback-receiver tandem.
Also on Sunday, Colts tight end Dallas Clark became the Colts' all-time single-season yardage leader for a tight end, surpassing John Mackey in the category.
"It's amazing," Clark said. "I thought last year was going to be the best year I was going to have here and I wasn't even close to it. For that to happen, one, health was a big thing. You have to be healthy. You have to play all 15 games, and I was in there for 15, and that had a lot to do with it, but it's a tremendous honor."
Clark, the Colts' sixth-year tight end, left the game after he caught a 23-yard pass to set the franchise record for receiving yardage by a tight end. Clark caught six passes for 59 yards Sunday and finished the season with 77 receptions for 848 yards and six touchdowns.
"There's no question I wanted Dallas and Marvin to break those records," Manning said.
FREENEY, MATHIS OUT: As expected, the Colts rested some key players Sunday.
The group that rested in the regular-season finale included the starting middle linebacker, as well as three Pro Bowl defensive players.
Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, a pair of starting defensive ends who made the Pro Bowl this season, were declared inactive shortly before kickoff Sunday, as was two-time Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders.
Gary Brackett, the Colts' starting middle linebacker and defensive captain, was declared inactive for a fourth consecutive game with a fibula injury.
The Colts' other gameday inactives:
Safety Melvin Bullitt (shoulder), backup running back Dominic Rhodes (chest), linebacker Freddy Keiaho (hamstring) and defensive tackle Eric Foster.
LEAVING EARLY: The Colts scored a touchdown on the game's first possession, then many of the Colts' top offensive players left the game.
Included among that group was Manning, who threw for 95 yards on the first possession to surpass 4,000 yards for the season for the 10th time in 11 seasons.
Other offensive starters who played just one series Sunday:
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne, wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez, center Jeff Saturday, tackle Ryan Diem, guard Mike Pollak and running back Joseph Addai.
IN QUICKLY: Fifth-year veteran Jim Sorgi replaced Manning at quarterback, getting his first snaps of the season and leading the Colts to a field goal on the game's second drive.
Najeh Daveport replaced Addai at running back, with rookie Pierre Garcon replacing Wayne. Dan Federkeil replaced Diem, Steve Justice replaced Pollak and Jamey Richard replaced Saturday.
On the Colts' second series, Davenport made one of the day's highlight plays – a one-handed catch on a pass from Sorgi for a first down.
A FIRST FOR HALL: Late in the second quarter, Colts wide receiver Roy Hall caught his first career pass – a seven-yarder from Jim Sorgi.
Hall, a fifth-round selection in the 2007 NFL Draft, spent 13 games on injured reserve last season and missed 11 games this season with a knee injury.
A FIRST FOR HOWARD, TOO: Late in the third quarter, defensive end Marcus Howard – a fifth-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft – registered his first career NFL sack.
On the play, Howard – who played collegiately at Georgia – got around the left defensive end, and ran down Titans quarterback Vince Young for a loss of a yard.
"It means a lot," Howard said. "I'm just really happy to get the monkey off my back, basically. I was thinking the whole time, 'I hope he holds onto the ball.' Luckily, he did. The defensive backs had good coverage in the backfield. He just held the ball and I was happy to get there.
"It's going to help my confidence in case the team needs me down the road in the playoffs. Right now, my confidence level is high."
GIORDANO STARTS: With Sanders and Bullitt out, fourth-year veteran Matt Giordano made his first start of the season at safety, one of several pregame lineup changes for Indianapolis.
Antonio Johnson started for Foster at defensive tackle. Five-year veteran Josh Thomas started in place of Freeney.
At linebacker, Buster Davis started a fourth consecutive game in the middle in place of Brackett and fourth-year veteran Tyjuan Hagler started in place of Keiaho.
BALL ACTIVATED: Also, linebacker Rufus Alexander was waived and running back Lance Ball was signed off the practice squad.
Ball rushed for 83 yards on 13 carries.
AND FINALLY, A FIRST FOR RICHARD: The play began as a possible first for Ball. It ended as a memorable moment for center Jamey Richard.
On 1st-and-goal from the Titans 1 with just under seven minutes remaining, Ball ran toward the end zone and fumble just short of the goal line. Richard recovered for his first NFL touchdown.
"I loved it," said Colts center Jeff Saturday, whose fumble recovery for a touchdown helped the Colts beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game following the 2006 season. "I said, 'I'm showing him what I got. He's scoring touchdown and the guy's making it happen.' It was awesome.
"I thought when I saw it happen, 'Jamie's got it,' and then the referees all dove on the pile. I couldn't see what was going down. I was like, 'Man,' and then all of a sudden, I saw him pop up. He had the ball up and I said, 'He does have it.''
Saturday also critiqued the rookie's post-touchdown celebration.
"I give him C-plus, B-minus for the spike, but other than that, fantastic play," Saturday said.
FOUR INJURED: Garcon left the game briefly in the first quarter with ankle and knee injuries, but returned.
Wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez sustained a hip pointer on the game's first play, and Dungy said he probably could have returned had the game had playoff implications. Linebacker Philip Wheeler sustained a thigh injury late in the game.
Guard Mike Pollak sustained a first-quarter ankle injury and did not return.
ETC., ETC.: Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri surpassed 100 points for a 13th consecutive season. He scored 11 points Sunday and for the season, scored 103 points this season. "It's a compliment to the offense," Vinatieri said. "You don't get to do that unless the offense is scoring a lot of points year in and year out. It's a small milestone. There are a lot of bigger milestones. Between Marvin and Peyton and 12 wins for six (consecutive years), mine is very inconsequential." . . . The Colts set an NFL record this season by allowing six touchdown passes in a 16-game season. The previous fewest allowed was nine by Denver in 1978 and Pittsburgh in 1990. . . . Manning tied Drew Bledsoe for fifth on the all-time list for completions (3,839). . . . Manning also tied Joe Montana for sixth place in NFL history with his 117th career victory.
HOW THEY SCORED
TITANS 00 00 00 00 – 00
COLTS 10 06 00 07 – 23
COLTS 7, TITANS 0
Joseph Addai 55 pass from Manning (Adam Vinatieri kick), 9:12 remaining first quarter. Drive: Nine plays, 90 yards, 5:48. Key plays: Marvin Harrison 3 passes on 3rd-and-3 from Colts 32 and 3rd-and-2 Colts 43 give Colts first downs.
COLTS 10, TITANS 0
Vinatieri 28 FG, :16 remaining first quarter. Drive: 14 plays, 70 yards, 7:18. Key play: Jim Sorgi 12 run on 3rd-and-6 from Colts 37.
COLTS 13, TITANS 0
Vinatieri 21 FG, 10:14 remaining second quarter. Drive: 10 plays, 51 yards, 5:01. Key play: Dallas Clark 23 pass from Sorgi on 1st=and-10 from Titans 41.
COLTS 16, TITANS 0
Vinatieri 38 FG, 2:26 remaining second quarter. Drive: 12 plays, 42 yards, 5:53. Key play: Roy Hall 9 pass from Sorgi on 3rd-and-5 from Titans 46.
COLTS 23, TITANS 0
Jamey Richard fumble recovery in end zone (Vinatieri kick), 6:38 remaining fourth quarter. Drive: Six plays, 60 yards, 3:48. Key play: Najeh Davenport 33 pass from Sorgi on 1st-and-10 from Titans 48.