Colts tilt at perfection grounded by Jets

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INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - The Indianapolis Colts had their hopes of a perfect season dashed in the 15th game when the New York Jets scored a stunning 29-15 victory on Sunday after Colts coach Jim Caldwell opted to rest several starters.

The Jets (8-7) scored 19 consecutive points after the playoff-bound Colts (14-1) had taken a 15-10 lead before withdrawing some key members of his team, including quarterback Peyton Manning.

"A perfect season has never been one of our goals," Caldwell told reporters when asked about his decision to rest the players.

"You still have to look at your objective, still look at what is the most important thing in terms of your preparation," the coach added. "How you want to function in the most important part of the season (the playoffs). That's where our focus lies."

The loss ended the NFL's longest regular-season winning streak at 23 games and left the league without an undefeated team with one week remaining. The Colts had not lost a regular-season game since the Tennessee Titans beat them 31-21 in October 2008.

Manning, who became only the fourth NFL quarterback to pass for 50,000 yards in a career, said while he was disappointed by the defeat he supported Caldwell's decision.

"This was an organizational plan... that we were going with," the quarterback added. "As players we support that."

He completed 14-of-21 passes for 192 yards to join Brett Favre, Dan Marino and John Elway on the elite list.


As expected, Jets coach Rex Ryan was elated with the win.

"Our guys played great. We found a way to win," he said. "This football team beat 14 teams, so they earned the right to play it the way they wanted to. We were just going to line up and play, whoever was out there."

Marques Douglas pounced on the loose ball and scored from the one-yard line. A two-point conversion made it 18-15.

The Jets added a 43-yard Jay Feely field goal and one-yard touchdown run by Thomas Jones in the fourth as the Colts sputtered with an ineffective Painter still at the helm. The rookie completed only four-of-11 passes for 44 yards.

Brad Smith had New York's other touchdown on an electrifying 106-yard kickoff return to open the second half.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by John O'Brien)