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Sorgi outplays Ryan in Colts' win over Falcons

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ATLANTA (AP) - Jim Sorgi eased some concerns at quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts.

Rookie Matt Ryan and journeyman Chris Redman made the Atlanta Falcons wonder who will run their offense in 2008.

With no apparent timetable on Peyton Manning's return from knee surgery, the Colts were relieved that Sorgi avoided critical mistakes in their 16-9 preseason victory over the Falcons on Saturday night.

Sorgi has little game experience in working the last four years behind Manning, a former NFL and Super Bowl MVP, but he improved markedly from last week, when his fumble and interception led to early scores in an exhibition loss at Carolina.

Completing 7 of 12 passes for 67 yards against Atlanta, Sorgi played two possessions. His first drive stalled when Sorgi threw into double coverage and out of the reach of tight end Dallas Clark. The next possession, covering 85 yards in 17 plays, lasted 8:30 after Adam Vinatieri's 24-yard field goal cut the Falcons' lead to 6-3.

Atlanta's hopes that Ryan, the NFL's No. 3 overall draft pick, would improve on an impressive debut last week were dashed late in the second quarter.

After entering in the second quarter, Ryan misjudged the tight coverage of Kelvin Hayden, who easily jumped the route for an interception he returned for a 67-yard touchdown.

Hayden's score gave Indianapolis a 10-6 lead it never relinquished and helped the Colts (1-2) realize they can win without Manning, who has never missed a regular season start in his 10-year career. Safety Bob Sanders, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, also sat as he recovers from shoulder surgery.

Ryan, who completed 9 of 15 attempts for 113 yards and a touchdown at Jacksonville, finished with a 33.9 passer rating that was 71.8 lower than his performance last week.

The Falcons (0-2) earned little momentum from running back Michael Turner's big gains in the first quarter. Turner, a major acquisition in free agency, broke off a 52-yard run to the Colts 26 on the game's first play from scrimmage.

Indianapolis stopped him for no gain and minus-2 yards on consecutive plays from the 5, however, and Atlanta settled for a 25-yard field goal from Jason Elam.

On the first snap of the Falcons' next possession, Turner ran 63 yards to the 22. Joey Harrington, who started for Atlanta, was nearly picked off on the next play, throwing methodically to Roddy White on a pass that Marlin Jackson nearly intercepted on the left side.

Two plays later, Elam's 35-yard field goal made it 6-0.

The Colts held the ball for 12:30 of the next 15-plus minutes after Vinatieri's field goal, taking advantage of Adam Jennings' botching of a punt return that bounced off his helmet, onto the Georgia Dome turf and directly into the arms of Indianapolis' Ramon Guzman.

Elam added a 40-yard field goal in the third to cut Indy's lead to 10-9.

Adam Crossert, Vinatieri's backup, kicked a 20-yarder in the third and another field goal late in the fourth.

Redman and D.J. Shockley each threw interceptions in the fourth quarter for Atlanta.

Notes:@ Falcons LB Michael Boley didn't return after sustaining a back injury in the second quarter. ... DE John Abraham (ankle) and cornerback Chris Houston (shoulder) didn't dress for Atlanta. ... The teams were a combined 0-for-5 in red zone efficiency through the start of the fourth quarter.


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