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Titans Rally to Beat Colts, 20-16

Posted Nov 26, 2017

The Titans rallied from a 10-point second half deficit to beat the Colts on Sunday. The Titans improved to 7-4 with the win.


INDIANAPOLIS – After reaching the end zone late in the third quarter on Sunday, tight end Delanie Walker leaned over the football, and pretended to perform CPR.

“It was just meaning, getting the offense going, putting some life back in us to get things going,” Walker said with a smile. “I just thought of it at that moment. I just thought it was a good idea after I scored a touchdown.”

On cue, the Titans came to life after Walker’s celebration.

And in the end they finished off the Colts, rallying from a 10-point deficit to pull out a critical 20-16 win.

It gave the Titans their first series sweep over the Colts since the 2002 season, and their first win ever in Lucas Oil Stadium.

More importantly it improved the team’s record to 7-4. The Titans are once again tied for first atop the AFC South with the Jaguars, who lost to the Cardinals on Sunday.

“This was huge for us,” center Ben Jones said. “We needed to get back on track, and it’s another division win, and that puts us that much closer to where we want to be in the end.”

The Titans didn’t start well here on Sunday against the Colts.

The finish? Well, it was big time.

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 17-of-25 passes for 184 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions. It was running back Derrick Henry who played a key role down the stretch, and he finished the game with 79 yards – all of them came during the fourth quarter, when the Titans rallied, and closed the deal.

“Did I look like I was running angry?,” said Henry, who ran with authority down the stretch. “I was just trying to make plays.”

The Titans got a much-needed break late in the third quarter, and cashed it in.

First, the break: Titans safety Kevin Byard recovered a fumble at the Indianapolis 4-yard line late.

Mariota then connected with Walker for a two-yard touchdown, which cut the lead to 16-13 with 1:50 remaining in the third quarter.

“That was the turning point in the game,” Byard said. “I think everyone in the whole stadium knew once that happened, it was a different game.”

After getting a stop on defense, the Titans went to work to take the lead.

A nine-play, 77-yard drive was capped off with a one-yard touchdown run by running back DeMarco Murray, and it gave the Titans a 20-16 lead with 5:59 left.

The Titans defense made plays all game, sacking Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett eight times in the contest.

Defensive lineman DaQuan Jones had two sacks on the day, while linebacker Brian Orakpo had 1.5. Linebackers Derrick Morgan (1), Wesley Woodyard (1), Avery Williamson (1), Erik Walden (1) and Jayon Brown (.5) all had sacks as well.

“It was a relentless rush,” coach Mike Mularkey said. “I thought (DC) Dick LeBeau called a great game to get some guys freed up to put the pressure on.”

Up until late, the Titans sputtered on offense.

The Titans took a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter on a 29-yard field goal by kicker Ryan Succop. It capped off an 11-play, 53-yard drive that included a 17-yard completion from Mariota to receiver Eric Decker on third-and-seven. The Titans defense forced a three-and-out on the game’s first series, as Jones ended the possession with a sack.

The Titans extended the lead to 6-0 on another Succop field goal, this one from 45 yards.

The Colts tied the game on back-to-back field goals by kicker Adam Vinatieri, and then took a 13-6 lead at the half on a 14-yard touchdown run by running back Frank Gore. Vinatieri’s third field goal of the game made it 16-6 midway through the third quarter.

Mariota and the offense struggled to get on track. Playing without receiver Rishard Matthews (hamstring), the Titans couldn’t finish drives early, and they couldn’t get them started during a long stretch in the middle of the game. Mariota threw two interceptions on what he called “poor throws.”

But the Titans got off the mat when it mattered most.

Mularkey said the play of the defense was huge. Aside from the sacks and the Byard fumble recovery, the Titans stiffened up in the red zone on several occasions, allowing the team to hang around.

Then the Titans found a way to win.

The Titans face the Texans next Sunday at Nissan Stadium. The Titans are now 3-1 vs AFC South opponents.

“This was huge,” defensive lineman Jurrell Casey said. “One, (we) check off the list of coming up here and not winning, so that was huge. And two, we are still in the hunt for the playoffs and making sure the Titans take over this division, and that is what we are trying to get done.

“At the end of the day, we believed in one another. We knew we had 60 minutes, and we always preach: Play 60 minutes of Titans football. And that is what we did today.”