The Tennessee Titans grinded out a tough win against the Indianapolis Colts, improving their record to 7-4 and reclaiming the division lead.
Yesterday afternoon, the Tennessee Titans accomplished something they had never done before: They won a football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. It had been nine years since the Two-Tone Blue had won in Indianapolis, but that previous victory had come at the now-demolished RCA Dome.
This season has become a bit of a historic one, at least against the Colts, as they snapped a six-year losing streak to their rivals and now snapped a nine-year road losing streak. The Colts are in a sad state of affairs as a team and organization, but beating them twice in one year should not be taken for granted by the Titans and their fans.
Here’s how it all went down.
The tone of the game was set by the Titans defense on the first offensive drive of the game, when DaQuan Jones got into the backfield on third-and-10 and brought down Colts QB Jacoby Brissett for a sack. The Titans would rack up seven more sacks on the day, good for a modern franchise record (since 1999) and the most for a Titans/Oilers team since 1985.
While the Colts’ first two drives were three-and-outs, the Titans were able to move the ball effectively on their first two possessions but, as has been the case for most of this season, could only muster two field goals.
In the second quarter, things came close to unraveling. Brissett led the Colts on a 14-play field goal drive that was followed by a Marcus Mariota interception on a slightly behind throw to Harry Douglas. The Colts then went on an 11-play field goal drive before Mariota threw another interception, this time on an overthrown ball as Taywan Taylor fell down in his route. With the defense gassed due to a combined six plays by the Titans in the quarter, the Colts went 34 yards for a Frank Gore touchdown to give themselves a 13-6 lead going into halftime.
The Titans punted twice and the Colts got a field goal to begin the second half, but a Marlon Mack fumble deep in Colts territory changed the game dramatically. GOAT safety Kevin Byard jumped on the loose ball and recovered at the Indianapolis four-yard line. The Titans cashed in on a well-executed play action pass from Mariota to Delanie Walker in the back corner of the end zone.
Both teams traded punts before Derrick Henry was unleashed. As he has done so well in his short career, Henry took the game over and fed off the draining energy of tired defenders in the fourth quarter. Henry accumulated 51 total yards on a nine-play, 5:25 scoring drive that featured an outstanding diving catch by Corey Davis and was capped off by a short DeMarco Murray touchdown run.
The defense responded once again by forcing a third-consecutive punt by the Colts. On the ensuing drive, Murray and Henry combined for 46 yards and converted into three first downs to put the game on ice. The game ended 20-16 and the Titans improved to 7-4, but the luck would continue for the Titans as the day grew longer.
Elsewhere, a Blaine Gabbert led charge by the Arizona Cardinals resulted in a last second game-winning field goal by Phil Dawson to knock down the former’s initial team. The loss by the Jacksonville Jaguars resulted in the Titans leapfrogging them in the division due to tiebreakers. The Titans are now currently the No. 3 seed in the AFC. These next few weeks should be very entertaining.