NASHVILLE — So much for the worst slump of Peyton Manning's career.
Manning threw for 319 yards and two touchdowns, and the Colts ended their three-game skid by beating the Titans 30-28 on Thursday to stay a half-game back in the AFC South.
"Hopefully we can sort of build off this win," Manning said.
The four-time NFL MVP put his atypical struggles behind him with a crisp performance against a defense that hasn't intercepted a pass in 14 straight quarters. He completed 25 of 35 passes in his 63rd 300-yard game, tying Dan Marino for tops on the career list.
Manning hit Pierre Garcon on scoring passes of 1 and 19 yards in the second quarter, becoming the first quarterback to pass for 25 touchdowns in 13 straight seasons, extending his own record.
Manning had tossed 11 interceptions in the previous three games, including four that were returned for touchdowns.
Manning nearly had a third touchdown pass Thursday, but rookie receiver Blair White broke up a pass intended for Reggie Wayne in the end zone.
The Colts (7-6) haven't lost four straight since 2001 when their five-game slide prompted Jim Mora's rant about the playoffs. Now the Colts can defend its AFC South title if it wins out.
"I think we're in a four-game playoffs, and this was a playoff game tonight," Manning said.
Tennessee (5-8) has lost six straight to drop 2½ games behind Jacksonville (7-5).
Longer season key point in labor talks
NEW YORK — The head of the NFL's negotiating team says it will be much easier to reach a new labor agreement with the players union if the accord includes an 18-game regular season.
"It's something that both sides recognize the value of, and so both sides will work hard to incorporate it into the new agreement," NFL executive vice president of labor Jeff Pash said.
Pash said the owners want a deal in place "well before" the summer. The current collective bargaining agreement expires in March, and the union's executive director, DeMaurice Smith, has said he believes owners are preparing for a lockout.
Pash said the sides have "exchanged detailed proposals" and had "detailed discussions" on the longer season.
Favre sagas: A spokesman for Jenn Sterger, the Gaither High grad and the former Jets hostess who allegedly received inappropriate photos and phone messages from Brett Favre, says she won't sue the Vikings quarterback if he's punished by the NFL before his career ends. Phil Reese said Sterger would like the league to "implement a program" to prevent unwanted advances. The NFL is not commenting on the status of the investigation.
Meanwhile, the Vikings went from "optimistic" to "hopeful" that Favre will make his 298th consecutive regular-season start Sunday against the Giants, though he did not practice. Favre, 41, has a sprained joint in his throwing shoulder and will likely be a game-time decision.
Blackouts: The Chargers say enough tickets have been sold for Sunday against the Chiefs to lift a television blackout. … The AFC South-leading Jaguars were granted a 24-hour extension to sell about 1,700 tickets avoid a blackout of the Raiders game. … The Bills will be blacked out for the third time this year, this one a game vs. the Browns.
Cardinals: Coach Ken Whisenhunt still isn't choosing a starting quarterback for Sunday against Denver, but speculation is centering on rookie John Skelton. Derek Anderson still has not been cleared to practice after a suffering a concussion.
Jets: Coach Rex Ryan told defensive coordinator Mike Pettine he wants to see more of Jason Taylor, who leads the team with four sacks. Taylor had one tackle in only 15 snaps in a 45-3 loss to the Patriots. "I'm not happy with how we used him last week," Ryan said. "… I think I was more disappointed in the plan of attack that we had."
Steelers: Linebacker James Harrison said he believes Ravens guard Chris Chester deliberately dove at him while being called for a false-start penalty during an extra-point attempt. "It was uncalled for and cheap," Harrison said. Chester said there was no malicious intent on his part. "It was simply a mix-up in the huddle call on what we were trying to do."