The Indianapolis Colts Defense and special teams clamped down on the Tennessee Titans and helped spark a second-half scoring blitz in a 34-17 victory on the road Thursday night.
The Titans were held scoreless in the second half as a trio of special teams mistakes helped the Colts steam away for the victory.
Despite trailing 17-13 at halftime, the Colts gained control of the game in the third quarter. A shanked punt from Trevor Daniel traveled just 17 yards before going out of bounds and giving the Colts a short field at the Titans’ 27-yard line. It took Indianapolis just four plays before Nyheim Hines scored on a 2-yard touchdown run as the Colts took a 20-17 lead.
After forcing a three-and-out, Daniel had a punt blocked by E.J. Speed and returned six yards for a touchdown by T.J. Carrie as the Colts lead grew to 27-17.
After a 12-play, 52-yard drive, Stephen Gostowski missed a 44-yard field goal wide right to preserve the 10-point lead for the Colts.
A 40-yard pass from Rivers to Michael Pittman set up a 2-yard quarterback sneak touchdown run by Jacoby Brissett as Indianapolis slammed the door shut. A last chance to mount a comeback for Tennessee ended with a turnover on downs inside the Colts red zone.
It wasn’t all defense and special teams for the Colts either. Indianapolis out-gained the Titans by a 430-294 margin on Thursday night.
Hines scored two touchdowns – one rushing, one receiving – and racked up 115 yards from scrimmage for Indianapolis. Philip Rivers completed 29 of 39 passes for 308 yards with the touchdowns to Hines to carry the night for the Colts’ offense. Michael Pittman also caught seven passes for 101 yards.
The Titans did strike first with D'Onta Foreman scoring on a 5-yard pass from Ryan Tannehill on the opening drive to take a 7-0 lead.
Rodrigo Blankenship and Gostkowski traded field goals before Rivers and Hines connected for a 13-yard touchdown to even the game at 10-10 in the second quarter. Tennessee retook the lead on a 1-yard jet sweep touchdown run from tight end Jonnu Smith to grab a 17-10 advantage.
Blankenship’s 43-yard field goal to end the half would trim the deficit to four before the defense took control after the break.
Tannehill completed 15 of 27 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown. Derrick Henry carried 19 times for 103 yards for the Titans.
Colts defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad was ejected in the closing minutes for Indianapolis after punching Titans tackle Ty Sambrailo.