Bengals receiver Chris Henry dies

NFL Notes

He dies a day after he fell from pickup truck

Bruce Allen becomes 'Skins GM

December 18, 2009|By From Sun news services

Peyton Manning completed every pass early and one big one late, exactly what the Indianapolis Colts needed to stay unbeaten.

Manning threw for 308 yards and four touchdowns, including a 65-yarder to Reggie Wayne to go ahead for good, and the Colts beat the host Jacksonville Jaguars, 35-31, on Thursday night to improve to 14-0 for the first time in franchise history.

The wild game on a cool night included 714 yards, 43 first downs, 10 lead changes, five punts, several big plays and just two turnovers.

"I thought today was a great test against a good team," Manning said. "Feel real good about the win."

The Jaguars (7-7) had a chance to win it in the closing minutes, but David Garrard overthrew Mike Thomas on a third-and-10 play with about a minute to play. Jacob Lacey intercepted the ball, and the Colts ran out the clock.

Indianapolis extended its NFL-record winning streak in the regular season to 23 and became the third 14-0 team in league history, joining the 1972 Miami Dolphins and 2007 New England Patriots. The New Orleans Saints can join the list with a victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night.

Jacksonville lost for the third time in the four games and no longer controls its finish in the AFC wild-card race.

HENRY: For the second time this season, the Cincinnati Bengals are dealing with death.

Teary players held a somber practice Thursday and dedicated the rest of their season to wide receiver Chris Henry after learning he had died a day after falling from the back of a pickup truck during what police described as a domestic dispute.

Shocked players huddled by themselves in the locker room once they got word that Henry had died at a hospital in Charlotte, N.C. They said a group prayer, then went out on the Paul Brown Stadium field to walk through some of their plays for the coming game in San Diego.

No one said much.

"It was tough," receiver Andre Caldwell said. "We were crying."

Not the first time, either.

The team was grief-stricken in October when Vikki Zimmer, the wife of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, died unexpectedly at the couple's home. Three days later, Zimmer coached the defense in a 17-14 win in Baltimore that put them in control of the AFC North. Afterward, players teared up when Zimmer received the game ball.

Losing a teammate hit the Bengals (9-4) even harder Thursday, leaving them in no mood to get ready for a game Sunday at San Diego. They can clinch the division title and only their second playoff spot in the past 19 years with a victory.

Players will put a commemorative No. 15 sticker on their helmets, and coaches will wear commemorative pins during the game.

Henry's death was particularly stunning to his teammates because he had put so much effort into changing his life in the past two years.

Police provided few details about the investigation.

Two 911 tapes released Thursday provided some clues. The first was from an unidentified woman who said she was following a yellow pickup truck.

"It's got a black man on it with no shirt on, and he's got his arm in a cast and black pants on," she told a dispatcher. "He's beating on the back of this truck window. ... I don't know if he's trying to break in or something. It just looks crazy. It's a girl driving it."

Just over a minute later, an unidentified man called 911 and said he saw a man "laying in the road" and "definitely unconscious."

Police spokeswoman Rosalyn Harrington wouldn't say whether the woman, whom police would not identify, was present at the scene when police arrived.

Henry is engaged to Loleini Tonga, and the couple has been raising three children. Tonga's MySpace page identifies herself as "Mrs. C. Henry" and has a picture of her next to a person who appears to be Henry. She also has a post from Tuesday talking about buying wedding rings.

REDSKINS: Bruce Allen was introduced as the team's general manager. The former Tampa Bay GM is the son of the late Redskins coach George Allen, who coached Washington in the 1970s and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Allen essentially replaces Vinny Cerrato, who resigned his position as executive vice president of football operations earlier Thursday.

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