CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A slow start and a short week couldn't stop Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts from another 7-0 start.
Manning threw for 254 yards and two touchdowns and broke Johnny Unitas' team record for career scoring passes as the Colts dominated the second half in a 31-7 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Joseph Addai rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns and caught a TD pass from Manning, who was outplayed early by 43-year-old Vinny Testaverde.
When Testaverde was lost at halftime with an ankle injury, the defense shut down David Carr the rest of the way as the Colts became the first team since the 1929-31 Green Bay Packers to win their first seven games three straight seasons.
Manning completed just 14 of 30 passes, but shook off early problems to eclipse another one of Unitas' records. His second TD, a perfectly thrown 59-yard pass to Reggie Wayne late in the third quarter was the 288th of his career, one more than Unitas.
By then, the focus had shifted to the Colts' showdown next week against New England.
Early on, the Colts appeared flat playing a team coming off a bye six days after their win in Jacksonville.
Testaverde who turns 44 in two weeks, got the starting nod for the second straight game ahead of David Carr, who's still recovering from a back injury.
Testaverde led the Panthers (4-3) on an opening 80-yard touchdown drive that lasted a team record-tying 18 plays and more than 11 minutes, the longest by time in the NFL this season.
But Testaverde also was intercepted by Antoine Bethea in the second quarter, then suffered a right ankle injury when guard Mike Wahle stepped on his foot. After completed 12 of 20 passes for 82 yards, Testaverde began the second half with an ice pack around his ankle and sitting on the bench next to Jake Delhomme. Carolina's original starting QB was in a sling after undergoing season-ending elbow surgery.
By then, the Colts had taken a 17-7 lead on Manning's 4-yard touchdown pass to Addai on the first drive of the half. Manning had recovered nicely after not completing a pass until early in the second quarter and starting 2-for-9.
Carr was the quarterback for Houston the last time the Colts lost — on Christmas Eve — but the Panthers were overmatched in the second half as they dropped to 0-3 at home.
Carr completed 11 of 18 passes for 68 yards and DeShaun Foster rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown for the Panthers. Steve Smith was held to two catches for 18 yards and was sulking near the end of the bench at the end of the game, Carolina's fifth straight home loss dating to last season.
Wayne caught seven passes for 168 yards as Manning's primary receiver with Marvin Harrison out with a knee injury. The Colts also played without left tackle Tony Ugoh, but Manning had plenty of time to throw in the second half as they won their 12th straight game dating to last season.
Colts cornerback Marlin Jackson was lost to a neck injury in the second half.