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Stop Peyton? Texans just hope to contain Indy QB

HOUSTON (AP) _ Don't bother asking the Houston Texans how to slow down Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.

They have never even come close.

I don't think there's been a team in the league that has really stopped them,'' Texans coach Dom Capers said.They're an efficient operation, as good as there is.''

Capers and the Texans will have another chance to stop Manning on Sunday in Indianapolis. Houston has had little luck in the teams' previous four meetings, allowing Manning to complete 68 percent of his passes for 951 yards and seven TDs with only one interception.

Things don't figure to get much easier for the Texans.

Manning had, statistically, the best first half of a season for a quarterback in league history. He leads the NFL in yards (2,429), touchdowns (26) and quarterback rating (121.4), and has tossed only four interceptions.

His 26 touchdown passes are just three short of last season's MVP-winning total (29) and put him on pace to challenge Dan Marino's league record of 48.

Making Manning even more potent is his wealth of offensive options.

Tailback Edgerrin James is only 209 yards short of his fourth 1,000-yard season in six years, and appears to have completely recovered from knee and ankle injuries that hobbled him the past two years. Three players have at least 35 catches, James has 28 and tight ends Marcus Pollard and Dallas Clark also have been reliable options.

We have quite a number of weapons,'' Manning said.I'm really proud of the work we've put in together.''

With that many talented offensive players running all over the field, Houston would like to be able to shut down at least one of them.

You've got to take one of them away,'' Texans defensive end Gary Walker said.We've got our work cut out for us.''

The Texans will counter with a secondary that gave up plenty of big plays in a lopsided loss in Denver last week and ranks 25th overall in pass defense. And Houston probably will start two rookies, cornerback Dunta Robinson and strong safety Glenn Earl.

I don't think you can blame the Colts if they think they have the advantage going into any game,'' nose tackle Seth Payne said.They've got to be confident no matter who they're going against.''

Houston's best chance is simply to keep the Colts' explosive offense off the field.

We have to take advantage of every opportunity,'' quarterback David Carr said.If we don't come out and do that, then we don't have a chance. It's going to be an uphill battle, so we have to score every time we get the ball.''

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