8:25 PM ET, November 14, 2013
LP Field, Nashville, TN
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Indianapolis Colts keep digging themselves into early holes -- and proving they know how to come back and win.
The Colts (7-3) trailed 14-0 in the first quarter and have been outscored 35-0 in the first quarter in their past three games -- two of them victories. They also have trailed in six games after the first quarter this season.
More Colts-Titans coverage
Coming off a bad loss and a wobbly first half by the Colts, Andrew Luck fired up his troops and led them to an important victory, writes Mike Wells. Blog
Tennessee had a chance to beat the Colts and stay in the AFC South race, but, as usual, the Titans ended up dropping the ball, writes Paul Kuharsky. Blog
"At the end of the day, winning is what matters," Luck said. "We were fortunate in this game to survive our mistakes and have a chance to win. ... But we know that's got to be fixed."
Adam Vinatieri kicked three field goals, including a 50-yarder, and Coby Fleener had a career-high eight catches for 107 yards to help the Colts bounce back quite nicely from a 38-8 home loss to St. Louis. They have yet to lose back-to-back games under coach Chuck Pagano and are 8-0 coming off a loss.
"Obviously, starting out like that is something we're all too familiar with," Fleener said. "That's something we have to work (on) and get corrected."
The Colts are back in charge of the AFC South, too, now having beaten all three divisional opponents on the road.
"We're not worried about that yet," Luck said. "We're worried about this next game."
The Titans (4-6) lost their second straight and fifth in six games, blowing the big lead. Chris Johnson ran for two touchdowns and 70 yards in the first quarter but had only 16 yards after that.
"We've got to find that winning formula, whatever it is," Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "We have to find a way to pull these games out at the end. It's a tough locker room in there right now. That's two in a row that kind of slipped away from us. Two big ones, two costly ones for us."
Tale Of Two Halves
Chris Johnson got the Titans off to a hot start with two first-quarter rushing touchdowns. The Colts turned the tables in the second half with nearly 100 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Indy averaged 43.5 rushing yards in its previous two games, with no touchdowns.
Rushing Yards By Half
|*-- Includes 3 TDs|
-- ESPN Stats & Information
Fitzpatrick drove the Titans 80 yards in four plays, capping the drive with a 19-yard TD pass to Delanie Walker with 1:54 left. But the Titans, just like they did in becoming the first team to lose to Jacksonville this season on Sunday, couldn't execute an onside kick with the ball covering not even 10 yards before Colts linebacker Pat Angerer covered it up.
The Colts had the ball for less than six minutes in the first quarter and wound up holding the ball more than 32:23. They also outgained the Titans 366-340 after Tennessee opened with a 148-4 edge in total offense with its quick start.
Indianapolis sealed the victory with an 11-play drive capped by Brown with an 11-yard TD with 3:01 left, and the Colts ran on 10 of the 11 plays for 60 yards. That was the Colts' fourth drive of 11 plays or more, and Brown praised the maligned offensive line for a phenomenal job. So did Pagano, who said the linemen took it personally.
"They had a point to prove," Pagano said.
Luck finished 23-of-36 for 232 yards passing.
The Titans came out with the start they only wish they had Sunday, when they lost to Jacksonville 29-27. Fitzpatrick did not turn the ball over once in replacing Jake Locker, who is out for the rest of the season with a Lisfrac injury to his right foot.
The Titans were up 17-6 at halftime and looked to be in control as the Colts had a mini-meltdown with three personal fouls, including linebacker Erik Walden head-butting Walker after ripping the helmet off the Titans tight end.
The Colts won their fourth straight and for the ninth time in 10 games over their divisional rival, with Vinatieri's 30-yard field goal as the first half expired helping settle the Colts down. That was the first of 20 straight points, as they dominated in the third quarter, holding the ball for more than 11 minutes in taking a 23-17 lead.
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They opened the third quarter with an 11-play drive during which Luck completed all five of his passes for 42 yards, including two on third down. Brown capped the drive with a 7-yard TD.
Then Devon Wylie, signed to the roster Tuesday for an injured Damian Williams at returner, ran into teammate Craig Stevens and fumbled on the kickoff for Tennessee. Daniel Herron recovered for the Colts at the Titans' 20, and Luck scrambled for an 11-yard TD two plays later.
It was yet another special teams gaffe this season by the Titans.
"For whatever reason, we just can't hold on to the football," Titans coach Mike Munchak said. "Another seven-point play really."
The Colts forced Tennessee to a three-and-out, and the Titans finally held in forcing Indianapolis to a field goal. Vinatieri kicked his third of the night, a 50-yarder that went just over the crossbar. That capped 17 unanswered points in the third quarter as Luck connected on his first eight passes and was 9-of-11 for 71 yards in the quarter.
Vinatieri tied his career best with his fourth field goal from at least 50 yards this season. He is 4-of-6 this season in that range. ... The Colts are 8-0 under Pagano when not turning over the ball. ... The Colts improved to 4-1 on the road this season. ... Walker caught a career-high 10 passes for 91 yards. ... Titans WR Justin Hunter was being evaluated for a head injury.
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 14: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass before the game against the...(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||5.3||6.3|
Comp - Att
Yards per pass
Sacks - Yards Lost
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||3-4||2-3|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|TD||11:36||Chris Johnson 30 Yd Run (Rob Bironas Kick)||0||7|
|TD||04:06||Chris Johnson 7 Yd Run (Rob Bironas Kick)||0||14|
|FG||11:26||Adam Vinatieri 48 Yd||3||14|
|FG||02:32||Rob Bironas 25 Yd||3||17|
|FG||00:00||Adam Vinatieri 30 Yd||6||17|
|TD||08:33||Donald Brown 6 Yd Run (Adam Vinatieri Kick)||13||17|
|TD||07:36||Andrew Luck 11 Yd Run (Adam Vinatieri Kick)||20||17|
|FG||01:27||Adam Vinatieri 50 Yd||23||17|
|FG||11:39||Rob Bironas 38 Yd||23||20|
|TD||03:01||Donald Brown 11 Yd Run (Adam Vinatieri Kick)||30||20|
|TD||01:54||Delanie Walker 19 Yd Pass From Ryan Fitzpatrick (Rob Bironas Kick)||30||27|
Chris Johnson got the Titans off to a hot start with 2 first-quarter rushing touchdowns, helping Tennessee reach the century mark in rushing by halftime. The Colts turned the tables in the second-half with just shy of 100 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. Indy averaged 43.5 rushing yards in their previous 2 games, with no touchdowns.[+]
Rushing Yards by Half Thursday
Chris Johnson rushed for 80 yards in the first half, including 2 touchdowns which tied a career high in a game. In the second half, Johnson was held to 6 yards on 4 carries. When Johnson rushes for fewer than 10 yards in the second half, the Titans are 3-12.
In the first 7 weeks this season, before Reggie Wayne's torn ACL, Andrew Luck's average pass traveled 9.4 yards downfield, seventh-longest among qualified quarterbacks. In his last 3 games, Luck's average pass traveled 7.0 yards downfield, tied for 24th in the league since Week 8. - Luck averaged 6.0 air yards per attempt Thursday night, the second-lowest rate of his career. The Colts are 5-1 in Luck's career when his average pass travels 7.7 yards or less downfield. - Luck completed 6-of-7 passes for 91 yards on play action. Last week, Luck tied a career-low with 1 play-action completion. The Colts are 7-0 when Luck completes at least 6 play-action passes in his career. - Coby Fleener was targeted 10 times on Thursday, resulting in career highs in catches (8) and yards (107). Five of Fleener's 8 receptions resulted in Colts' first downs. Fleener has been targeted 8.3 times per game since Reggie Wayne's injury, after he averaged 4.6 targets in the first 7 games with Wayne.
Since Trent Richardson joined the Colts in Week 3, Donald Brown has averaged 6.1 yards per carry compared with Richardson's 2.8. During that span, Andre Ellington (7.4 yards per carry) is the only running back averaging more yards per carry than Brown (min. 25 rushes). - Since the Richardson trade entering Week 3, the only running back to average more yards after contact per carry than Donald Brown's 2.4 is Adrian Peterson (2.5). - Brown rushed 10 times for 51 yards in the second half, including both of his touchdowns. Brown's second-half carries and yards are both season highs.[+]
Colts Rushing, Since Trent Richardson Trade
The Colts ran the ball just 8 times in the 1st half and fell behind by 11, but in the 2nd half, they kept it on the ground to fuel the comeback.[+]
Colts Running Late - Thursday at Titans
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Andrew Luck is only the third quarterback since the merger not to lose back-to-back games in his first 26 starts. Most Starts By QB Before Losing Consecutive Starts, Since Merger 1st Start Dan Marino 33 1983 Kordell Stewart 28 1995 Andrew Luck 26 2012 >>Source: Elias Sports Bureau - Since 2012, Andrew Luck has 5 scrambles for touchdowns, tied with Christian Ponder for most in the league. - Ryan Fitzpatrick completed a career-high 79 percent of his passes Thursday night. When Fitzpatrick has completed 70 percent or more of his passes, his teams are 3-4. - Delanie Walker set career highs in targets (10), receptions (10) and yards (91). Since 2006, the only tight ends to be targeted at least 10 times in a game and catch all of their targets are Jimmy Graham (Week 5 2013), Jason Witten (Week 4 2012 and Week 12 2010) and Kellen Winslow (Week 12 2007). - Since Week 2, Kendall Wright is the only receiver to record at least 54 receiving yards in each game.
- Chris Johnson's 30-yard touchdown run is his longest run this season. - The TD marks Johnson's first rushing touchdown against the Colts since Week 14 2010, breaking a five-game drought without a rushing TD against Indianapolis. - All four of Johnson's rushing touchdowns this season have come with seven or fewer defenders in the box. - Johnson's two rushing touchdowns in the first quarter tonight match his total from the entire season entering tonight. - Chris Johnson has never rushed for three rushing touchdowns in a game in his career.
Andrew Luck has struggled in the 1st half since losing Reggie Wayne (injury occurred late in Week 7 vs Broncos). He has failed to record a touchdown (pass or rush) in the 1st half in 3 straight games (Weeks 9-11), after recording 7 touchdowns in the 1st half in the team's 1st 7 games.[+]
1st Half Performance - Andrew Luck This Season
Tonight, Luck is 1-4 for 17 yards on throws more than 10 yards downfield. In the two and a half games since losing Reggie Wayne, Luck has completed 9-27 (33.3%) passes more than 10 yards downfield, tied for 28th among 35 qualified QBs. In the first eight weeks with Wayne, Luck completed 46.3% of such passes, tied for 18th among qualified QBs.
Chris Johnson has 2 Rush TD on 8 carries tonight... He had 2 Rush TD on 150 carries this season entering the game.
Andrew Luck was 1-5 for 17 yards under duress and 2-6 for 15 yards against five or more pass rushers in the first half against the Titans.
ESPN Stats & Information
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