Strong second half leads Colts over Titans
Nashville, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Donald Brown rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns and Andrew Luck ran for a score as the Indianapolis Colts overcame an 11-point halftime deficit to down the Tennessee Titans, 30-27, on Thursday.
The Colts (7-3) trailed 17-6 at intermission but came out of the locker room in attack mode. Brown's first touchdown run on the opening drive of the second half was followed by a Devon Wylie fumble on the kick return. Two plays later, Luck scored on a quarterback keeper from 11 yards out to put Indianapolis in front.
Late in the fourth, Brown's 11-yard touchdown run gave Indy a 30-20 edge with 3:01 to play. Ryan Fitzpatrick came back and engineered a 4-play scoring drive, throwing deep for Nate Washington for a 42-yard pickup before hitting a wide open Delanie Walker out of the 2-minute warning from 19 yards out for a score.
The Titans (4-6) were out of timeouts, however, and had to settle for a Rob Bironas onsides kick attempt. Linebacker Pat Angerer, who led the Colts with nine tackles, fell on the kick to seal the win for Indy.
"This win speaks to the character of this team," said Colts head coach Chuck Pagano. "Guys were bound and determined to make amends for the home loss to St. Louis. They wanted to come down here and find a way no matter what."
Indianapolis improved to 8-0 with Luck under center following a loss, and now holds a commanding three-game lead in the AFC South.
"We have six more games to play," said Tennessee head coach Mike Munchak. "We can win them all."
The Titans started the game from their own 20 and quickly had the Colts' defense scrambling. Indy wasted a timeout on the third play of the game, and Fitzpatrick utilized his underneath options to carve up the defense. Fitzpatrick picked up consecutive first downs to Kendall Wright on crossing patterns to the Indianapolis 30. Chris Johnson did the rest, taking a handoff through a hole on the right side of the line and sprinting untouched to the end zone for the opening score.
Johnson showed his versatility on a 7-yard touchdown run on the Titans' next possession. The 28-year old back made a quick cut on 2nd-and-2 to get to the second level and had the strength to avoid two tackles as he fell past the goal line.
"We definitely let this one slip away," said Johnson. "We have to make plays for 60 minutes if we want to make it to the playoffs."
Indy started on its own 5 after a special teams blunder on the kick-off, but a 14-yard screen pass to Trent Richardson on first down quickly moved the chains. Luck moved the Colts' offense into field goal range before stalling on 3rd-and-8, and Adam Vinatieri put the visitors on the board with a 48-yard kick.
Tennessee caught a break late in the first half when three straight penalties on Indy -- a roughing the passer call on Robert Mathis and unnecessary roughness calls on Cassius Vaughn and Erik Walden -- set up a short Bironas field goal for a 17-3 margin. The Colts entered the contest as the least penalized team in the league, averaging just 3.7 per game.
Vinatieri kicked a 30-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.
Indianapolis has been outscored in the first half the last three games, 66-9.
The Colts' offense came alive in the second half. Brown's 6-yard score wrapped up an 11-play, 74-yard march that ate up nearly 6 1/2 minutes.
Luck's touchdown run and another Vinatieri field goal with 1:27 in the third capped a 17-0 scoring barrage in the quarter.
Bironas pulled the Titans back within three with a 38-yard field goal with 11:39 left in the clash, but a series of punts allowed the Colts to milk most of the clock before Brown's second touchdown plunge made it a two- possession game.
The Colts have won 16 straight games when leading entering the fourth quarter ... Luck threw for 232 yards on 23-of-36 efficiency ... Coby Fleener had eight receptions for a career-high 107 yards for Indy ... Fitzpatrick completed 22-of-28 for 222 yards but fell to 24-46-1 as a starter in the NFL ... Walker caught all 10 of his targets for 91 yards and a score ... Indy has won four in a row against Tennessee.
11/15 00:37:03 ET