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Titans defense received contributions from four unlikely heroes in Colts victory

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans defeated the Indianapolis Colts 24-17 on Sunday. It was a crucial victory in the AFC South. The Titans have captured two consecutive victories. They received contributions from multiple underrated and depth players.

The Titans gave up some things defensively, but it was ultimately a stellar performance. The Titans held the Colts to 17 points and forced three turnovers. It was an impressive showing given that Tennessee’s defense were without five starters (Harold Landry, Bud Dupree, Amani Hooker, Zach Cunningham and Elijah Molden).

Shane Bowen’s defense received contributions from four surprising playmakers, three of which we’re acquired in the previous two weeks. Let’s examine.

Dylan Cole started in place of the injured Cunningham at inside linebacker. Cole played 38 total defensive snaps, which represented 58% of Tennessee’s defensive snaps. Cole was excellent in the run game. He routinely deconstructed blocks and created havoc in the backfield. Cole led the Titans with eight total tackles. Cole was a big reason why Tennessee’s defense held Colts running back Jonathan Taylor to 42 yards on 20 carries. Taylor averaged 2.1 yards per carry. Cole was terrific.

Cole wasn’t Tennessee’s only reserve inside linebacker to make an impact. The newly signed Joe Schobert received playing time due to Tennessee’s injuries at the position. The aforementioned Cunningham missed the contest with injury. Monty Rice remains on PUP, although he traveled with the team to Indianapolis, which could indicate he’s nearing a return. Rookie Chance Campbell is also on IR.

Schobert played 24 defensive snaps (36%) in relief of Cole on occasion. Schobert forced a crucial fumble by stripping Taylor on a pivotal third-and-2. Kristian Fulton recovered the fumble. Schobert earned Tennessee’s highest defensive grade from Pro Football Focus (94.1).

And last but not least, safety Andrew Adams played 45 defensive snaps (68%) in place of the injured Hooker. The Titans signed Adams off the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad on September 21. Adams is a veteran with 35 career starts under his belt, but his ability to flawlessly step into a starting role immediately was impressive. The Titans preferred Adams to Joshua Kalu (32 snaps, 48%) and Lonnie Johnson Jr. (0 defensive snaps).

Defensive end Mario Edwards deserves a shout out, too. The Titans are dealing with various injuries at outside linebacker and across their defensive line. Edwards played 34 snaps, which accounted for 52% of Tennessee’s defensive plays. Edwards gave the Titans valuable snaps.