NASHVILLE, Tenn. —** Here’s a look at six things that stood out for the Titans in their 20-16 win over the Colts:
The Disruptive DaQuan Jones**
Defensive lineman DaQuan Jones got after it from the get-go. Jones started the sack attack on the first series when he wrapped up Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett, and got him to the ground. On the first play of Indy’s second series, Jones set the tone in run defense when he tackled Frank Gore for a three-yard loss. Jones had two sacks on the day, and he was a disruptive force throughout.
Derrick Henry’s momentum
When running back Derrick Henry got revved up on Sunday, he was impossible to stop. In the fourth quarter, Henry produced runs of 10, 10, 7, 14 and 9 yards before ripping off a 16-yard run, which was hammered home with an impressive stiff-arm late. It was part of a 79-yard fourth quarter for Henry, who has done plenty of damage in his in two games against the Colts this season: 32 carries, 210 yards and a touchdown.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota threw two more interceptions on Sunday because of what he simply called “poor throws.” He’s now thrown six interceptions in two games, and has a career-high 12 heading into Week 13. While Mariota needs to settle down, he’s still made some big throws at big times. He made a beautiful throw to tight end Delanie Walker on a 37-yard completion early, and his touchdown pass to Walker was a thing of beauty as well. I expect Mariota to settle down and play well moving forward, and getting receiver Rishard Matthews back will help.
The relentless pass rush
I’ve covered the Titans since 1999, and I saw a first from the defense on Sunday – an eight-sack game. It was incredible. The sacks just kept coming, especially in the first half, when the team had six. And they came from everywhere. In addition to Jones (2), linebacker Brian Orakpo had 1.5 sacks, and linebackers Derrick Morgan (1), Wesley Woodyard (1), Avery Williamson (1), Erik Walden (1) and Jayon Brown (.5) all had sacks as well. It was the most in the Titans era.
Defense on Hilton**
Colts quarterback T.Y. Hilton is a dangerous threat, and he’s had some big games against the Titans in the past. A year ago, Hilton racked up 12 catches for 230 yards and two touchdowns in two games against the Titans. This season, Hilton managed just 3 catches for 34 yards in the two games combined. Credit goes to the entire Titans secondary, especially cornerbacks Logan Ryan and Adoree’ Jackson. On Sunday, Hilton was targeted just five times, and he had two catches for 15 yards.
Red zone defense
Coach Mike Mularkey called the team’s defensive performance in the red zone “the difference in the game.” The Titans hung around and managed to win it at the end because the defense forced the Colts into field goals rather than seeing them score touchdowns. Indianapolis reached the Tennessee 8- and 10-yard lines in the first half, and settled for field goals. In the second half, they made it to the 24 but settled for another field goal. Without those stops, and safety Kevin Byard’s fumble recovery at the 4, the Titans wouldn’t have had a chance to win it late.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 12 at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)