Titans-Colts Postgame Notes

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TITANS FINISH AT 9-7: With their 33-17 loss to the Colts, the Titans concluded 2018 with a 9-7 record. It was their third consecutive 9-7 season, marking the first time in the franchise’s “Titans era” (1999-present) it has had three consecutive winning seasons. 

DRAFT POSITION: The Titans will have the 19th selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, which will be held April 25-27 in downtown Nashville. Draft position is based on reverse order of NFL standings, with the team with the lowest winning percentage picking first and the Super Bowl Champion selecting 32nd. The 9-7 Titans had the second-best record of the non-playoff qualifiers, behind only the 9-6-1 Pittsburgh Steelers, who will pick 20th.   

2019 OPPONENTS: The Titans’ opponents for 2019 are now set. In addition to home and road contests with their division rivals, they will host the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills. They will travel to face the Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns. The matchups with the Bills (AFC East) and Browns (AFC North) are slotted based on the teams’ third-place finishes in their respective divisions.

TITANS SET TEAM RECORD FOR FEWEST PENALTIES: Although they were penalized nine times against the Colts, the Titans set a new franchise record for fewest penalties in a 16-game season. Their total of 82 penalties, which led the NFL and were 10 fewer than the second-lowest total in 2018 (92 by Carolina and Minnesota), beat the previous franchise record of 84 penalties, set by the 1983 Oilers. 

GABBERT STARTS: With Marcus Mariota inactive due to neck and foot injuries, Blaine Gabbert recorded his third start of the season and the 48th start of his career. He passed for 165 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Luke Stocker in the third quarter. It was his fourth touchdown pass of 2018 (48th career). 

HENRY OVER 1,000: Running back Derrick Henry rushed for 93 yards on 16 carries (5.8 avg.). On a 19-yard run in the third quarter, he went over the 1,000-yard mark on the season for the first time in his three-year career. He finished the campaign with 215 rushing attempts for 1,059 yards. His rushing yardage ranked second in the AFC to Joe Mixon’s 1,063 yards, and Henry finished sixth in the NFL behind Ezekiel Elliott (1,434), Todd Gurley (1,251), Saquon Barkley (1,198), Christian McCaffrey (1,080) and Mixon. Henry’s 12 rushing touchdowns tied James Connor for third place in the NFL behind Gurley (17) and Alvin Kamara (14). 

HENRY’S DECEMBER TO REMEMBER: In five games in the month of December, Derrick Henry’s rushing totals included 97 carries for 625 yards and eight touchdowns. His 625 yards were the most by any NFL player in any calendar month this season. Additionally, Henry authored one of only four calendar months for the franchise since 1970 in which a player rushed for at least 600 yards. Chris Johnson (800 rushing yards in November 2009) and Earl Campbell (633 in October 1980; 662 in November 1980) were the organization’s only other players to accomplish the feat in that timespan.

STOCKER FOR SIX: In the third quarter, tight end Luke Stocker scored on a 22-yard pass from Blaine Gabbert. It was Stocker’s second touchdown of 2018, which set a career high, as well as his fifth career touchdown reception. The reception was the fifth-longest catch of his career and the longest touchdown reception of his career. 

DAVIS LEADS TEAM: Wide receiver Corey Davis led the team with five receptions and 48 receiving yards against the Colts. He also led the squad in receiving for the season, totaling 65 catches for 891 yards and four touchdowns.   

PICK-SIX BY BROWN: In the second quarter, second-year inside linebacker Jayon Brown recorded his first career interception. With the Colts backed up at their own six-yard line, he picked off an Andrew Luck pass that was intended for running back Nyheim Hines and navigated 22 yards for his first career touchdown. It was the team’s second consecutive game with an interception return for a touchdown (Malcolm Butler vs. Washington).

ANOTHER TAKEAWAY BY BROWN: Two drives after Jayon Brown had already recorded a pick-six in the second quarter, he recorded another takeaway, this time a forced fumble and fumble recovery. He stripped the ball from running back Marlon Mack and then recovered it with a seven-yard return. He notched his second forced fumble of 2018 (second career) and first fumble recovery of 2018 (second career).

BROWN IN SELECT GROUP OF THREE: Jayon Brown became the third NFL player in 2018 to record an interception for a touchdown, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the same game, joining Seattle’s Bobby Wagner (Dec. 2 vs. San Francisco) and Chicago’s Kalil Mack (Sept. 9 at Green Bay). Brown became the first Titans player to accomplish the feat since at least 1993. 

SACK BY LANDRY: In the fourth quarter, rookie outside linebacker Harold Landry III sacked Andrew Luck for a seven-yard loss on third down. The play gave Landry 4.5 sacks in 2018.   

TITANS SET NFL KICKOFF RETURN AVERAGE RECORD: The Titans returned five kickoffs against the Colts for an average of 25.6 yards per attempt. They completed the season with 23 total kickoff returns for 737 yards. The team’s 32.0-yard average set a new NFL record, as they became the first team in NFL history to average more than 30.0 yards per kickoff return. The 2013 Kansas City Chiefs owned the previous record with a 29.9-yard kickoff return average (44 attempts for 1,316 yards), followed by the 1972 Chicago Bears at 29.4 yards (52 for 1,528). The former franchise record for kickoff return average in a season was 26.1 yards per attempt by both the 1963 Oilers and 2000 Titans.    

JENNINGS SETS FRANCHISE RECORD: Darius Jennings totaled 22 kickoff returns for 698 yards and one touchdown in 2018. His 31.7-yard average set a new franchise record, beating a record that was established in 1960, the first year of the franchise’s existence. Ken Hall set the mark with a 31.3-yard average that season (19 attempts for 594 yards). Jennings’ 31.7-yard average led the NFL in 2018 and tied for the eighth-best average in the NFL among qualifiers (1.25 attempts per team game) since 1960. 

BIG RETURN TO BEGIN GAME: On the game’s opening kickoff, the Titans ran a reverse and got a big return. Darius Jennings fielded the ball and ran six yards, then handed to Dane Cruikshank, who raced 39 yards to complete the 45-yard return.

KERN CONTINUES SUCCESS: Pro Bowler Brett Kern punted six times for a 45.3-yard gross average and a 45.3-yard net average. All six of his punts were placed inside the 20-yard line, marking his third career game with at least six punts inside the 20. He put three of his punts against the Colts inside the 10-yard line. Kern finished his season with a career-high 16 consecutive punts placed inside the 20, including every punt in the final three games of the season.

SUCCOP TO 500 POINTS IN TENNESSEE: On a 38-yard field goal in the second quarter, Ryan Succop became the fifth player in franchise history with 500 career points, joining Al Del Greco (1,060), Rob Bironas (1,032), George Blanda (598) and Tony Zendejas (548). Succop, who also had two extra points in the contest, has 502 points since joining the team in 2014.

STARTS IN ALL 16 GAMES: Five players recorded their 16th start of the season: safety Kevin Byard, wide receiver Corey Davis, center Ben Jones, defensive end DaQuan Jones and right guard Josh Kline. Davis accomplished the feat for the first time in his career, while Byard (twice), Ben Jones (five times), DaQuan Jones (three times) and Kline (twice) have done so multiple times.

INACTIVES: The Titans’ inactive list included quarterback Marcus Mariota, cornerback Kenneth Durden, running back Jeremy McNichols, outside linebacker LaTroy Lewis, guard Aaron Stinnie, tackle Tyler Marz and outside linebacker Brian Orakpo. Mariota (neck/foot) and Orakpo (elbow) were listed on the injury report prior to the contest.

The Tennessee Titans take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 17 of the 2018 season on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

The Tennessee Titans prepare to take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 17 of the 2018 season on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)