The Tennessee Titans rebounded from a 40-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers with a road win over their division rivals Sunday.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — With their first franchise victory in the history of Lucas Oil Stadium, the Tennessee Titans (7-4) are back to winning. So, does it really matter how it looks?
Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota finished the day completing 17-of-25 passes for 184 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions for a rating of 69.4. Along with three carries for four yards by Mariota, running backs Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray helped complete a 10-point comeback with 28 carries for 92 yards between them, most of which came late in the fourth quarter.
Throw in a fortuitous fumble recovery by safety Kevin Byard and eight sacks by Dick LeBeau’s defense and the Titans were able to escape on the right side of a 20-16 contest against the Indianapolis Colts. It is the first time Tennessee has swept Indianapolis since 200.
Mariota led the game-clinching drive, but it was Henry who put his team in control with 5:59 to play.
The Titans offense went 77 yards in nine plays on the back of the second-year pro out of Alabama. Henry toted the ball 42 yards on five attempts and allowed his running mate Murray to reap the rewards. Murray capitalized with a score from one-yard out to provide the final margin of 20-16.
Tennessee opened the scoring with an 11-play, 53-yard possession culminating in a 29-yard strike from kicker Ryan Succop to bring the score to 3-0. Succop widened the difference to 6-0 with another field goal made from 45 yards on the following drive. Succop’s counterpart for the opposition, Adam Vinatieri made a 26-yard try of his own to keep his team within three at 6-3 with 10:05 to play in the half.
The Titans allowed their divisional foe to hang around as halftime approached. Tennessee’s next outing on offense made it only 14 yards in four plays before Mariota was intercepted by corner Rashaan Melvin at the Indianapolis 45. The Heisman-winner was attempting to find receiver Harry Douglas, who was active off of the Injured Reserve list for his first game of the season.
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett took his offense 45 yards and set Vinatieri up for another three-point try, this one made from 28 yards away. The turnover brought the game to a tie at six apiece.
Two plays and :13 elapsed off the game clock, Mariota threw yet another interception on a pass intended for rookie Taywan Taylor, who lost his footing on the play. Indianapolis walked away with a touchdown and only :38 left in the half after Frank Gore bullied his way forward for 14 yards and the only Colts touchdown of the day and his team up 13-6 at the half.
Mariota now has 12 interceptions on the year, the highest total for a season in his three-year career.
Indy forced two punts and added an additional three points on a Vinatieri make from 42 to pull ahead by double digits before the ever-present, un-quantifiable momentum swung in Tennessee’s favor late in the third quarter. Linebacker Avery Williamson sacked Brissett on first down and Brissett promptly made matters worse with a botched snap and fumble, recovered by Byard, to put the Titans at the Colts four-yard line with a first-and-goal.
— NFL (@NFL) November 26, 2017
Mariota did not waste the efforts of his defense and found his tight end Delanie Walker for a touchdown pass on play action. The score brought the Titans within three at 13-16 and the defense stopped Indianapolis to allow the comeback drive.
Up Next: The Titans host another AFC South match-up at Nissan Stadium Sunday, December 3rd against the Houston Texans (4-6).