TOKYO (Aug. 6, 2005) -- Matt Schaub threw two touchdown passes in the first half Saturday, leading the Atlanta Falcons past the Indianapolis Colts 27-21 in the American Bowl, the NFL's preseason opener.
The game featured two of the league's marquee quarterbacks in Peyton Manning and Michael Vick and was played before a Tokyo Dome crowd of 45,203.
"It was a very exciting atmosphere," Manning said. "The crowd was enthusiastic and the players were ready to play. We would have liked to have gotten the victory, but we'll learn from it and come out again next week."
Schaub, who completed 11 of 13 passes for 115 yards, gave the Falcons a 20-14 lead with 10 seconds remaining in the half. He tossed a 3-yard pass to Fred McCrary, who bobbled the ball on the 1 and then rolled into the end zone before being touched.
"It was a pretty good play by Fred," said Schaub, who was named the game's MVP. "The ball bounced off his head but he came up with it and was able to roll into the end zone. If you know Fred, that kind of play really fits his personality because he's a funny guy."
Jason Wright increased the Falcons' lead to 27-14 when he ran in from the 1-yard line with just more than six minutes remaining.
"It was just a preseason game and doesn't mean much," Atlanta coach Jim Mora said. "But anytime we go out we play to win. You get used to winning by winning and it's important to get off to a fast start."
Falcons QB Matt Schaub looked good as he prepares for his second NFL season. With 4:02 left, the Colts cut the lead to 27-21 on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Travis Brown to John Standeford. A 45-yard pass from Brown to Montiese Culton set up the final touchdown.
Manning threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Troy Walters at 6:45 of the first quarter, giving the Colts a 7-0 lead. Todd Peterson's two field goals made it 7-6.
Vick came out after the first play of the second quarter. Manning came out with just more than nine minutes left in the second quarter. Manning was 6 for 8 for 36 yards with one interception.
Vick, who was 4 for 7 in the first quarter for 51 yards, also showed some of his trademark scrambling when he ran for 10 yards on his only run of the game.
"I wanted to give the fans something to cheer about," Vick said. "Just wanted to get the jitters out and I didn't want to shortchange the fans or myself."
Indianapolis running back Edgerrin James carried the ball three times for 20 yards. His longest carry was 9 yards.
The Colts took a 14-6 lead with 7:48 remaining in the second quarter when linebacker Kendyll Pope scored after picking up a loose ball that resulted from a botched handoff from Schaub to Wright inside the Atlanta 5.
Atlanta drew to 14-13 with three minutes left in the first half on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Schaub to Brian Finneran.
The NFL's series of international games began in 1986 in response to growing interest in American football around the world. There have been 40 games have been played in 12 cities outside the United States. Japan has hosted 13 American Bowl games.