After a dominant performance in week one against the Browns, the Titans came back down to earth in week two. After a promising three quarters, the Titans let the Colts hang around in the fourth quarter — and it bit them.
Just like last week, the Titans found themselves in an early hole. A deep attempt from Jacoby Brissett to T.Y. Hilton fell incomplete, but Adoree’ Jackson was flagged for an obvious defensive pass interference. Eric Ebron caught a shovel pass and barrelled into the endzone to cap that first drive, getting the Colts out in front.
After an opening three and out, Arthur Smith’s offense went to work. Short passes and chunk runs from Derrick Henry had the Titans on the move. A ten play drive was capped by a touchdown from David Quessenberry — yes, David Quessenberry — in the back of the endzone off of play-action.
Indianapolis answered with a long drive of their own — complete with a questionable pass interference call, a couple of botched sack attempts and a questionable spot. Brissett converted a key 3rd and 15 after all of that, then found Parris Campbell in the back of the endzone to reclaim the lead.
The Colts took a 13-7 lead into halftime after Tennessee failed to get anything else going outside of their lone touchdown drive.
A three and out to start the second half and a good punt return from Adoree’ Jackson had the Titans in Colts’ territory early in the third quarter. A little RPO action saw Corey Davis snag a big gain over the middle, barrelling down inside of the five yard line.
Tennessee lined up in a gun formation on the goal line, handing it to Derrick Henry who did the rest. That quick drive put the Titans up 14-13 with 11:31 to play in the third quarter.
A Brissett fumble and Harold Landry recovery allowed the Titans to add three more points off of a Cairo Santos field goal from 49 yards out, taking the lead to 17-13.
After some shaky moments in the first half, Dean Pees defense really settled in during the third quarter. Logan Ryan was all over the field making plays on the football. Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans each made plays in coverage, as well at the line of scrimmage. Though the Titans struggled to bring Brissett down this afternoon, he was under pretty constant pressure for the most part.
That Tennessee defense got another stop to take us to the fourth quarter, which is where Derrick Henry took over — or so it seemed. Three straight runs to start the next Titans’ drive had Tennessee to midfield. Mariota found A.J. Brown to move the chains. A defensive pass interference call gave Tennessee 14 more yards.
But Arthur Smith got a little too cute from there. A misdirection play to Adam Humphries and a Mariota sack ended the drive — promptly followed by a Santos miss. That felt like a time to ride Derrick Henry into the sunset, but Smith chose otherwise. The missed field goal had the Colts still breathing, alive and well.
However, Indy couldn’t take advantage. The Tennessee defense continued to stand tall as Jurrell Casey got pressure on Brissett to force a quick three and out.
A quick three and out from the Titans gave the Colts another shot with under seven minutes to play. What happens when you let a team hang around? Usually, nothing good.
Jordan Wilkins exploded on the next drive for a huge run to get inside the Titans’ five yard line. A fade to T.Y. Hilton gave the Colts the lead right back — but Adam Vinatieri missed the extra point once again.
Indianapolis now held a 19-17 lead.
That miss left the door open for the Titans, who were suddenly tasked with playing from behind. After two incompletions to start the drive, Tajae Sharpe appeared to have the first down, but worked backwards behind the sticks. That brought up 4th and 2, forcing a punt with four minutes to play.
After a Marlon Mack run for two and an incomplete pass, Brissett scrambled to the first down marker. He was ruled inches short — and Frank Reich went for it.
A Brissett sneak was successful, giving the Colts a new set of downs with 2:20 to play.
Mike Vrabel emptied out his timeouts and utilized the two minute warning to get the ball back with a little over a minute to play. The Colts punted back to the Titans giving the ball to Mariota and company at the Tennessee 28.
Mariota got rolling with a short pass to Delanie Walker, then followed that with a scramble to midfield. Another short pass to Brown kept the clock moving, bringing up third down. Mariota spiked the ball to force 4th down with 15 seconds left.
The fourth down attempt went to Brown, but the ball from Mariota was high and fell incomplete. Mariota’s performance down the stretch of this one simply wasn’t good enough.
The Colts would hang on to win 19-17.
This was one that the Titans will want back. They had plenty of chances to put this one away, but failed every time. The Colts hung around and stole one today — a game that could prove critical in the playoff race later.
The Titans will be back in action on Thursday night against the Jaguars.