INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Once the New York Jets lost, the only scoreboard that mattered to the Indianapolis Colts was at their own RCA Dome.
"I had my pager and I was following those scores all afternoon," running back Edgerrin James said. "I knew before we started our game that the Jets were dead and we had life. I was determined to do whatever I could to keep that life."
The Jets 34-20 loss to Baltimore opened the playoff door for the Colts, who clinched the final postseason spot in the AFC with a 31-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
"You hate to be in a situation where you have to hope other things happen," Peyton Manning said. "But I'm not disappointed (Baltimore) beat the Jets. Who knows, maybe we might have to play those guys."
First, though, the Colts must win on Saturday at Miami, where they won last week -- one of three season-ending, must-win games for Indianapolis.
If the Colts play like they did Sunday, the Dolphins had best beware.
Manning threw for a career-high four touchdowns and 283 yards as he broke Johnny Unitas' 41-year-old club record for most touchdown passes in a season. Manning finished with 33, one more than Unitas had in 1959, to lead the NFL. He also won the NFL's passing yards title.
Wide receiver Marvin Harrison re-emerged, too. After being held without a 100-yard game for eight weeks, Harrison broke out with 12 receptions for 109 yards and three touchdowns. He finished with 102 receptions -- the most in the NFL.
And then there was James, who rushed for 128 yards, accounted for 207 total yards and scored one touchdown while setting a new NFL record for touchdowns by a player in his first two seasons.
James also broke Eric Dickerson's single-season club record for rushing yards and Marshall Faulk's single-season club record for total yards in a season. He won the NFL rushing title with 1,709 yards and finished with 2,303 total yards.
"It just goes to show that everyone is doing their job," James said. "The line is giving me room, the coaches are setting up a game plan and giving me the opportunity to show what I can do."
It wasn't just the Colts offense showing what it was capable of, either.
The defense knocked out two of Minnesota's Pro Bowl selections -- quarterback Daunte Culpepper and tackle Korey Stringer -- and limited the Vikings to their lowest point total of the season.
But, like the Colts, the Vikings had their eyes on the scoreboard.
So when Tampa Bay and New Orleans both lost, the Vikings clinched the NFC Central title and a first-round bye -- and pulled Culpepper.
"It was very important for Daunte to play," Vikings coach Dennis Green said. "The ankle will not heal in a four-week period of time. He needs to understand what he can and cannot do. You can't do that in practice. We wanted him to get some game time, but not a lot."
The Vikings (11-5) also gained just 236 yards, the first time in 32 games Minnesota did not manage at least 300 yards total offense.
"We had to come and win three straight football games against some tough teams," linebacker Cornelius Bennett said. "We came out and played some of the best defensive football I've seen in a long time."
The Colts (10-6) played that way right from the start.
They forced a three-and-out on Minnesota's first possession and Manning led a 75-yard scoring drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Harrison.
The Vikings tied the score at 7 when Culpepper connected on a 42-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss.
But Manning threw a 52-yard TD pass to James to make it 14-7 with 9:12 left in the half. Manning's 15-yard strike to Harrison made it 21-10 at halftime and sealed the outcome.
"This holiday is going to be really sweet," James said. "Anytime you play this game, you don't want to play just 16 games. When you saw all the commercials about the playoffs, you saw everybody but the Colts so I guess everyone figured we weren't going to be there."
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