NFL Game Summary - Tennessee at Indianapolis|
(Sunday, December 9th)
Final Score: Indianapolis 27, Tennessee 23
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Adam Vinatieri kicked a pair of fourth-
quarter field goals to lift the Indianapolis Colts to a 27-23 victory over the
Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts (9-4) rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit for their third
straight victory to improve their playoff chances. Indianapolis has won seven
of its last eight and is still within striking distance of first-place Houston
in the AFC South. The 11-1 Texans play at New England on Monday night and face
Indianapolis twice in the final three weeks of the season.
Andrew Luck had a subpar day, but still came away with a win. The rookie
completed just 16-of-34 passes for 196 yards with a touchdown and a pair of
interceptions for the Colts, who have won five straight at home and improved
to 6-1 at Lucas Oil Stadium this season.
Vick Ballard ran for 94 yards on 19 carries in the victory, while Reggie Wayne
caught six passes for 64 yards with a touchdown and moved into 10th place on
the all-time receptions list.
Jake Locker threw for 262 yards on 22-of-35 passing with a touchdown and a
pair of costly second-half interceptions in defeat. Tennessee (4-9) has
dropped three in a row since its bye week and fell to 0-5 within the division.
Vinatieri drilled a 53-yard field goal to give Indianapolis a 24-23 lead with
6:23 remaining and Locker was picked off by Darius Butler less than a minute
later to set up Vinatieri's 40-yard kick for a four-point game.
The Titans were forced to punt it away with less than three minutes to play
and three timeouts, but never saw the ball again as the Colts picked up two
first downs to seal it.
Luck was dismal in the first half. He threw a pair of interceptions -- one
that was returned for a touchdown -- and the Colts went to the break down
But they used a strong first offensive series, solid special teams and a big
play on defense for two scores in the third quarter to move in front.
Luck directed an 80-yard touchdown drive to start the second half. He twice
found Wayne to convert long third downs and Delone Carter scored from a yard
away on another third down to finish the 14-play set.
"He's resilient," Colts interim coach Bruce Arians said. "He doesn't let one
play dictate what's going to happen on the next play. He's got tremendous
resolve. He looks at the pictures and he's ready to go."
A Ken McAfee punt pinned Tennessee at its own one midway through the third and
Locker tried a quick throw on the first play, but Cassius Vaughn stepped in
front of the intended receiver at the three and fell into the end zone to give
Indianapolis a 21-20 lead.
Tennessee responded with a 16-play drive that chewed up more than 10 minutes,
but had to settle for Rob Bironas' third field goal of the day -- a 25-yard
kick that made it 23-21 with 10:28 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Titans took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards on nine plays for a
touchdown. Locker keyed it early with a 32-yard scramble and finished it with
an 18-yard scoring strike to Jared Cook.
Bironas missed a 57-yard field goal try on Tennessee's next possession and the
short field helped the Colts tie it. Luck hit T.Y. Hilton for 36 yards on the
second play and connected with Ballard out of the backfield for 10 to convert
3rd-and-4 before finding Wayne in the back of the end zone from four yards
The Titans answered with a 40-yard field goal from Bironas to move back in
front early in the second quarter. A 46-yard pass from Locker to Kenny Britt
on 3rd-and-8 set up the kick.
Luck then gave Tennessee its second touchdown with an ill-advised throw. As
the rookie was being dragged down for a sack, he flung a pass that hit Titans
defensive lineman Will Witherspoon in the gut just five yards away.
Witherspoon managed to hold on to the ball, then rumbled to the end zone for a
40-yard return and a 17-7 lead with 4:40 left in the first half.
The play was reviewed and replays appeared to show that Luck's knee had
touched the turf before he released the ball, but the call on the field stood.
A 31-yard Bironas field goal in the final minute send Tennessee to the break
with a 20-7 advantage.
"It's another disappointing loss," Titans coach Mike Munchak said. "We played
a good, solid first half in a lot of ways, but let them get back in the game
in the second half."
Luck eclipsed Peyton Manning's team rookie mark of 3,739 yards passing, set
in 1998 ... Wayne surpassed Andre Reed (951) for 10th on the NFL's all-time
receptions list ... Witherspoon has three career interception returns for
touchdowns ... Britt caught eight passes for 143 yards, notching his seventh
career 100-yard receiving game and first of 2012 ... Titans running back Chris
Johnson had just 44 yards on 19 carries, but reached the 1,000-yard rushing
mark for the fifth time in as many NFL seasons. He became the eighth player to
accomplish the feat, joining Barry Sanders, Corey Dillon, Curtis Martin, Eddie
George, Eric Dickerson, LaDainian Tomlinson and Tony Dorsett ... Colts head
coach Chuck Pagano, after completing a third round of chemotherapy for
leukemia earlier this week, was in the building.
12/09 18:07:33 ET