Manning leads AP All-Pro team

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 6, 2004

With one of the greatest performances in NFL playoff history, Peyton Manning showed just how much he deserved his Associated Press All-Pro team selection.

The Colts' star quarterback, who shared AP Most Valuable Player honors last week with Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair, threw for 377 yards and five touchdowns in Indianapolis' 41-10 romp past Denver on Sunday. One day later, he was a solid choice over McNair for the All-Pro squad, Manning's first selection.

''It was really awesome to see from the sideline,'' coach Tony Dungy said of Manning, who had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 against the Broncos. ''You're listening on the headset, you know the plays that are going in, you know what we practiced all week and you see the looks materialize, but he put the balls on the money.''

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Manning received 28 1/2 votes in balloting by a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the NFL. McNair, who also led his team to a 20-17 wild-card win at Baltimore, got 16 1/2. This weekend, the Colts are at Kansas City and the Titans visit New England in the second round.

One other Colts player, placekicker Mike Vanderjagt, also made the All-Pro team. Vanderjagt had a perfect season, making all 37 field goals - giving him an NFL-record 41 straight - and all 46 extra points.

Two other AP award winners were chosen as All-Pros: Offensive Player of the Year Jamal Lewis and Defensive Player of the Year Ray Lewis, both of the Ravens. Ray Lewis, was the top vote-getter with 49; Jamal Lewis got the second-most votes, 46, after rushing for 2,066 yards, second-most in league history. He also set a single-game rushing mark with 295 against Cleveland.

Two of their Baltimore teammates also were selected: tackle Jonathan Ogden and cornerback Chris McAlister. For Ray Lewis and Ogden, it was their fourth time chosen. Jamal Lewis and McAlister made it for the first time.

Kansas City had the most All-Pros with five: running back Priest Holmes, tight end Tony Gonzalez, guard Will Shields, tackle William Roaf and kick returner Dante Hall. Holmes made the first team for the third straight year, while Shields was chosen for the second time. Roaf made it twice while with New Orleans.

It was Gonzalez's fourth All-Pro selection, while Hall is a newcomer.

Holmes broke two NFL records for touchdowns. He scored 27, all rushing, bettering the overall TD mark of 26 by Marshall Faulk and the 25 TDs rushing by Emmitt Smith. Holmes had his big year coming off hip surgery.

Also making it for the fourth time were Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, who led the league in sacks, and Dolphins inside linebacker Zach Thomas.

New England and St. Louis each had three players chosen. Ten teams had one All-Pro: Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Miami, Minnesota, the New York Giants, Oakland, San Francisco Seattle and Tennessee.

In all, the AFC had 18 players and the NFC had nine. Fifteen teams were represented.

The first-time All-Pros, along with Manning, McAlister, Jamal Lewis, Vanderjagt and Hall, were Dallas safety Roy Williams; both outside linebackers, Tennessee's Keith Bulluck and San Francisco's Julian Peterson; New England defensive tackle Richard Seymour; St. Louis defensive end Leonard Little; Seattle guard Steve Hutchinson; and St. Louis wide receiver Torry Holt.