DETROIT — Peyton Manning broke one of Dan Marino’s records, took a big step toward another and didn’t even have to play the whole game to do it.
Manning threw for six touchdowns in less than three quarters and raised his season total to 41 scoring passes to lead the Indianapolis Colts past the Detroit Lions 41-9 Thursday.
Manning set an NFL record with at least four touchdown passes in a fifth straight game, and he did it by halftime. Marino had a four-game streak with at least four touchdows in 1984, when he also set a league mark with 48 touchdown passes in a season.
Connecting with Marvin Harrison and Brandon Stokley three times each for touchdowns, Manning finished 23-of-28 for 236 yards and zero interceptions for the AFC South-leading Colts (8-4).
Look at the performance this way: Manning had more touchdowns than incompletions.
The reeling Lions (4-7) were in trouble as soon as they stepped on the field against Manning, but they didn’t help themselves by fumbling four times in their territory, missing a field goal and stalling repeatedly in the red zone.
Detroit even ended the game with a turnover, with backup quarterback Mike McMahon throwing an end-zone interception. A fitting cap to what’s now a five-game losing streak.
The Colts replaced Manning with Jim Sorgi late in the third quarter. Otherwise, the quarterback would have had a shot at tying the NFL record of seven touchdown passes in a game, shared by five players: Sid Luckman, Adrian Burk, George Blanda, Y.A. Tittle and Joe Kapp.
Manning matched the Colts record he set in September 2003 against New Orleans, his father’s old team. Before that performance, no one had thrown for six touchdowns in an NFL game in a dozen years.
With five regular-season games left, Manning has already matched Kurt Warner for No. 3 among single-season record for touchdowns in a season. Marino threw 44 touchdowns in 1986.
All the offense is helping the Colts overcome their less-than-stellar defense. Indianapolis has won four straight games, scoring at least 40 points the past three.
Detroit and its quarterback are headed in the opposite direction.
A month ago, the Lions were being praised for their turnaround after winning an NFL-low 10 games the last three years. They have reverted to their old ways.
Joey Harrington was 14-of-23 for 156 yards before he was benched in favor of McMahon late in the third quarter.
No such problems for the Colts. Harrison caught 12 passes for 127 yards, and Stokley had five receptions for 57 yards. Edgerrin James had 23 carries for 105 yards.
Stokley caught his three touchdowns in the first half, and Harrison had one of his to help the Colts take a 27-9 lead at the break.
Lions returner Eddie Drummond, who has scored on four punt and kickoff returns this season, left the game with a shoulder injury on the opening kickoff of the second half. Things got so bad for the Lions that Drummond’s replacement, Reggie Swinton, fumbled on a punt return and Colts punter Hunter Smith recovered.
Detroit’s subdued fans came to life when McMahon replaced Harrington late in the third quarter. McMahon couldn’t help the offense much, though, going 11-of-15 for 105 yards and the game-ending interception.
Kevin Jones ran for 99 yards on 12 carries for the Lions, who fell to 33-30-2 in their traditional Thanksgiving Day home games.