Manning drives Colts to record for successive wins

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - The unbeaten Indianapolis Colts broke the NFL record for consecutive regular season wins when they held off the Denver Broncos 28-16 on Sunday for their 22nd successive victory.

Peyton Manning passed for four touchdowns, three to Dallas Clark, as Indianapolis eclipsed the New England Patriots' string of 21 victories between 2006 and 2008.

The Colts (13-0) have not lost a regular season game since the Tennessee Titans recorded a 31-21 victory in October 2008.

Indianapolis also wrapped up home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs and became the most successful NFL team in any decade with their 114th victory since 2000. The San Francisco 49ers held the previous record of 113 wins in the 1990s.

"That's a bunch (of wins) and you sure do appreciate all the hard work that has gone into those wins," Manning told reporters.

Denver's Brandon Marshall added to the record-setting day by catching 21 passes, an NFL record.

Indianapolis led 21-0 midway through the second quarter before Denver (8-5) scored the next 16 points.

Caldwell also praised the Colts' defense.

"I'm not certain I have seen a better defensive effort," he said.

"Then at the end, when we needed it, and had to get the ball in the end zone, the offense came up with a 15-play drive that was key."

Manning, who was intercepted three times, also lauded the Colts' defensive performance.

"That's huge," he said. "You certainly don't like to put them in that situation or test them.

"I'm not sure on any of those (interceptions) what we really could have done differently, (with) tipped balls and a few freak-type plays.

"But the defense goes out and does their job, and that's obviously very critical."

Marshall caught two passes from Kyle Orton to bring the visiting Broncos within 21-16 before Manning connected with Clark for their third touchdown with 2:29 to play.

Marshall's 21 catches for 200 yards eclipsed Terrell Owens' NFL record for receptions in a game. Owens made 20 catches for San Francisco against the Chicago Bears in 2000.

"Whenever you accomplish something like that, it definitely feels good," Marshall said.

"But at the end of the day we have a goal and our ultimate goal is to win games. I'd definitely trade in a couple of those catches for a win."

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)