Marvin Harrison, Chris McAlister

Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison scores in the second quarter, beating Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister for the second time (Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr. / October 12, 2008)

A week after the Ravens believed a roughing-the-passer penalty cost them a game, there was no excuse given in watching Peyton Manning rough up their secondary.

The once-struggling Indianapolis Colts quarterback ripped up the once-top-ranked pass defense, throwing for three touchdowns in a 31-3 rout of the Ravens in front of an announced sellout crowd of 66,153.

After allowing wide receivers to catch two touchdown passes in the first four games, the Ravens (2-3) surrendered three to Colts receivers in the first half alone.

Like last season, the Ravens were banged up in the secondary. Unlike last season, Manning picked on Chris McAlister, beating the Ravens' best cornerback for two touchdowns.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh bristled at a series of questions focusing on McAlister, showing more fight than his secondary did for most of the game.

"It wasn't all Chris' fault," the first-year Ravens coach said. "I'm going to tell you right now, we're not about pointing the finger. If anybody thinks I'm going to stand up here and point the finger at one guy … you can pack up your tape recorders right now.

"That's not what we're about. We're a football team and we've got to get better as a football team."

The first touchdown appeared to be the result of McAlister guessing at the wrong time. The second one looked like a perfect pass by Manning. The third one came against McAlister again and compliments of some questionable coverage in the end zone.

The Ravens, who had allowed an average of 14points per game, trailed 24-0 by halftime.

"This one hurts," defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said. "We don't take kindly to getting our ass kicked. That's what happened today."

Manning, who entered the game as the NFL's 20th-rated passer, completed 19 of 28 passes and threw for 271 yards. He finished with a season-best rating of 134.7, and the Colts improved to 3-2.

"It's unfortunate," Ryan said. "He looked a hell of a lot better this week than he had in the previous games."

Ravens safety Ed Reed didn't seem surprised that the secondary had its worst game of the season after some struggles in practice.

"It wasn't just Peyton," he said. "We had some communication breakdowns. We had some breakdowns that we knew were going to happen, so against a good quarterback like Peyton he's going to make plays."

Except for playing at a different site - brand-new Lucas Oil Stadium instead of M&T Bank - yesterday's humiliation looked like a repeat of last season.

Just 11 months ago, the Ravens faced Manning without their top two cornerbacks, McAlister and Samari Rolle. The perennial Pro Bowl quarterback threw for four touchdowns in a 44-20 rout of the Ravens.

This time, the Ravens were without two of their top three cornerbacks (Samari Rolle and Fabian Washington) and their starting strong safety ( Dawan Landry). That forced fourth-string corner Frank Walker into a starting role and No. 5 corner Corey Ivy into the nickel back spot.

Ryan said last week that he felt better about his backups this year than last, calling the depth of the secondary a strength of the team.

But it proved to be a weakness yesterday.