Yes, it was an ugly game to watch.
Between the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts, there were five total turnovers, six sacks and 13 total penalties between on Sunday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Tennessee controlled the game most of the day, rolling up 347 yards and getting 24 first downs. The Colts, meanwhile, managed to put together 264 yards of offense and totaled 18 first downs — when they weren’t getting in their own way with sloppy play and dropped passes.
But in the end, thanks to five Adam Vinatieri field goals and Donald Brown’s 4-yard touchdown run with 1:56 remaining in the game, Indianapolis did what it had to do in securing a 22-14 National Football League win over the Titans.
With the victory, the Colts improved to 8-4 on the season and remain undefeated in the division with a 4-0 mark. Tennessee, meanwhile, dropped to 5-7 overall and 0-4 in the division. Indianapolis needs a win or a Titans loss (or tie) over the final four games of the season to clinch the AFC South crown.
Vinatieri, who tied a career best with five field goals, and Brown, who earned the start at running back over a struggling Trent Richardson, were the offensive headliners. But it was an opportunistic Colts defense that intercepted Tennessee quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick three times and forced a Fitzpatrick fumble.
Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman’s pick of a Fitzpatrick pass in the game’s final seconds sealed the win for Indianapolis after the Titans mounted one last-ditch drive, which ended at the Colts’ 33-yard line with 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
“Great team win,” Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano said afterward. “It was a great football team that came in here. Two teams fighting for the same thing. But I’m really proud of our players, I’m proud of our coaches. This group of men found a way to get the job done coming off a disappointing loss [to Arizona last week].
“Again, they’re a resilient bunch … found a way to get the thing done. Had our struggles early on offense. Couldn’t get anything generated. Really proud of the defense playing the way they did. They were asked time and time again to go out there and make stops and got off the field against a team that came in doing a really good job on third down. The turnovers were huge.”
The Indianapolis offense had a tough time much of the game. Penalties, sacks and an inability to catch the ball on a consistent basis hindered the Colts ability to punch the ball into the end zone.
The Titans’ offense seemingly had no trouble moving the ball up and down the field over the course of the afternoon. But every time it appeared as if Tennessee was ready to go on a roll, the Colts defense would force a punt or come up with a big play.
Vinatieri’s field goals — from 47, 48, 45, 37 and 49 yards — kept Indianapolis in the game. Every time Tennessee would forge a lead — 7-6 with 13:13 left in the second quarter and 14-12 at the 7:29 mark of the third quarter — the Colts would find a way to respond.
“[We] moved the ball down [but] we got to find a way to score touchdowns. We know going down the stretch here that you’ve got to score touchdowns and try to put people away,” Pagano said.
“You let people hang around, you’re just asking for trouble. … We still obviously [have] a long way to go and a lot of work to do.”
Quarterback Andrew Luck completed 17 of 32 passes for 200 yards for the Colts. He was also sacked five times and had one interception. Luck also ran five times for 42 yards, including a 24-yard bootleg keeper on his team’s lone touchdown drive.
Brown, who has made a career playing against Tennessee, continued to be a thorn in the Titans’ side on Sunday. He rushed for a team-high 54 yards on 14 carries. On the Colts’ final scoring drive, Brown ran for 46 yards on six carries and scored the game-clincher.
Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, connected on 21 of 37 passes for 201 yards and one touchdown, a 1-yard flip to running back Chris Johnson on fourth-and-goal. The score gave Tennessee its final lead of the game. His 1-yard plunge in the second quarter had put the Titans on top 7-6.
Johnson had a game-high 69 yards rushing in 18 carries. He also caught six passes for 32 yards. Wide receivers Kendall Wright (six catches for 77 yards) and Nate Washington (five receptions for 81 yards) were Fitzpatrick’s primary targets downfield.
Cornerback Cassius Vaughn recorded two interceptions for Indianapolis while Freeman, who had a team-high nine total tackles, added his theft to close the door on the Titans. Outside linebacker Robert Mathis had a sack and a forced fumble, giving him a career-best 15.5 sacks this season. Freeman recovered the fumble that set up one of Vinatieri’s field goals.
“We’ll take a couple of hours to enjoy this. But everybody is coming in [Monday]. We’re going to watch the tape, we’re going to get treatment, get [in the weight room],” Pagano said. “We’re going to go to work on the next opponent (Cincinnati). We’re not exhaling. We’re going to do everything within our power to keep trending in the right direction.”
Vinatieri’s 5 FGs, Brown’s TD, defense’s big plays save struggling Colts from themselves
Yes, it was an ugly game to watch.
Colts take another look at Shakir Bell
Under general manager Ryan Grigson, the Indianapolis Colts have searched nationally and internationally for talent to build a program that has won 23 of 34 games in the last two seasons.
On Wednesday, the Colts took a look at some Indianapolis-area talent, including former Warren Central High School and Indiana State standout Shakir Bell.
Police: Colts owner had $29K in cash when arrested
CARMEL, Ind. (AP) — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay had $29,000 in cash and bottles of prescription drugs in his vehicle when he was arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving, according to a police arrest report.
Family source: Irsay has gone to treatment facility
The family of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said Tuesday that he has placed himself in a treatment facility after police found multiple prescription drugs in his vehicle during a traffic stop.
The 54-year-old Irsay, who acknowledged a painkiller dependency more than a decade ago, faces preliminary charges of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. He was arrested near his home in suburban Carmel late Sunday and released the next day.
Colts owner has double image in media
Colts owner Jim Irsay is known in NFL circles as a tough businessman and eccentric billionaire who enjoys interacting with fans about his beloved team and favorite songs from bands like the Beatles and the Grateful Dead. He may end up adding convicted felon to the mix.
Update: Colts owner Irsay arrested for DWI
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Colts owner Jim Irsay was jailed today on suspicion of intoxicated driving after police said he failed sobriety tests during a traffic stop and they found multiple prescription drugs inside his vehicle.
Colts sign former Giants receiver Nicks
Ryan Grigson loves to make a deal. The Indianapolis Colts third-year general manager has earned a reputation around the National Football League as a guy who will act decisively and quickly if there’s somebody that he really wants. That trait proved true again Friday as the Colts added former New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks to the team’s roster.
Colts keep Vinatieri, Davis, Bradshaw in fold
With the NFL’s free-agency signing period getting underway at 4 p.m. Tuesday, it was fairly certain that the Indianapolis Colts would be active participants.
The Colts went into free agency with around $40 million of salary cap space in their back pocket. Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson, however, had indicated at the National Football Scouting Combine that he wanted to be judicious in how the team spent its money.
Colts re-sign punter McAfee for five years
Shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, Pat McAfee — the Indianapolis Colts’ punter and kickoff specialist — tweeted that he had a special announcement to make at the top of the hour.
Colts excited to add talent, experience of D'Qwell Jackson
With the National Football League's veteran free agency period set to start on March 11, the Indianapolis Colts front office has started to make the decisions needed to retool for the 2014 season.
Former Cleveland Browns inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who had been released by Cleveland on Feb. 26, signed a reported four-year, $22 million deal with Indianapolis on Thursday. Only the first two years of the contract are guaranteed.
Jackson (6-foot, 240) started 96-of-97 games over the past eight seasons with the Browns since being selected by the team in the second round of the 2006 draft. He played collegiately at Maryland.
EIU’s Garoppolo hopes to impress scouts
Let the Eastern Illinois University quarterback tradition continue.
Mike Shanahan, Jeff Christensen, Sean Payton, Tony Romo and, now, Jimmy Garoppolo. All were record-setting quarterbacks on the Division II and FCS levels.
Grigson says Colts likely not to make big splash in free agency
Don’t expect the Indianapolis Colts to go wild in the upcoming free-agent market.
While the Colts will have anywhere from $33 to $37 million to spend this offseason, Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson says the franchise will be a bit more selective when it comes to signing any prospective veteran free agents.
SEASON IN REVIEW: Colts make progress in 2013 season
The Indianapolis Colts made plenty of progress over the course of the 2013 season.
And the Colts fought through some adversity as injuries hit the team hard at several positions, most notably at wide receiver (Reggie Wayne), tight end (Dwayne Allen), running back (Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw), offensive line (Donald Thomas) and cornerback (Greg Toler).
Moving on: Coach likes what he sees, gets ready for phase three of Colts’ development
Time to move on. In the wake of the Indianapolis Colts’ 43-22 AFC divisional playoff loss at New England last Saturday night, head coach Chuck Pagano is ready to take time off and then start getting after it again late this spring.
Blunt force trauma: Patriots running game too much for Colts
LeGarrette Blount ran the New England Patriots into their third straight AFC championship game.
The 250-pound back had four touchdown runs and New England kept Andrew Luck from a second straight comeback win to beat the Indianapolis Colts 43-22 Sunday night.
‘Still the same Tom’
How do you attempt to stop, or even slow down, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady?
Belichick impressed with Luck's skills, poise under pressure
Bill Belichick doesn’t have to be reminded about the talents of Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck.
Although Belichick’s New England Patriots handed the Colts a 59-24 loss in Foxboro last year, he came away from the game with plenty of respect for the young signal caller.
Colts, Patriots, both with many new faces, to meet in playoffs for fourth time
Here we go again. Yet another Indianapolis Colts-New England Patriots playoff game.
Up next for Colts: Brady, Patriots
Hello Tom Brady.
Thanks to the San Diego Chargers’ 27-10 AFC wild-card playoff win over Cincinnati on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, the Indianapolis Colts will be traveling to Foxboro, Massachusetts to face Brady’s New England Patriots Saturday (8:15 p.m.).
Luck leads huge rally as Colts grab first playoff win for Pagano
What a game.
Just when it looked like the Indianapolis Colts were going to be blown out at home in an AFC wild-card playoff game by the Kansas City Chiefs, the impossible happened.
Colts sell out today's Kansas City game
There will be no local television blackouts in the NFL this weekend.
The Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers said Friday that their weekend wild-card playoff games are sellouts. Normally, teams must sell out 72 hours before kickoff to have a game broadcast in their local market. The NFL gave the Colts, Bengals and Packers an extra day to do it.
The Colts host Kansas City today. On Sunday, the Packers host San Francisco and the Bengals host San Diego.
NFL honors Colts' Mathis with Deacon Jones Award
Robert Mathis never got to see Deacon Jones take down opposing quarterbacks in person.
He learned to appreciate Jones’ creativity over time.
The Colts Pro Bowl linebacker and newly crowned sacks champion was honored Thursday as the inaugural winner of the NFL’s Deacon Jones Award, which goes to the league’s sacks leader. Mathis will be recognized at the NFL award banquet Feb. 1.
Victory over Chiefs means nil, Mathis says
Robert Mathis doesn’t care that the Indianapolis Colts registered a 23-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium two weeks ago.
Record-setting Indy win
Finish the National Football League regular season strong. That’s what the Indianapolis Colts wanted to accomplish Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
In major gain, Colts lead NFL in fewest turnovers
Play clean. That’s been a credo that the Indianapolis Colts have tried to live by this season.
Has Luck's growth been accelerated by Colts' adversity? Probably
Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck is quickly becoming known as a guy who can quickly adjust to any situation.
Toeing the line: Colts’ offensive line getting healthy, finding niche as playoffs near
The Indianapolis Colts’ offensive line has certainly taken its share of hits this season, both on and off the field.
Colts’ chief strength: No panic
The Indianapolis Colts had watched the Kansas City Chiefs march downfield for an easy score on the first series of the game, yet nobody on their sideline seemed to be worried.
In fact, it seemed as if their confidence soared.
Luck has knack for knowing when to run
To run or not to run. When it comes to Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck, his competitive nature usually comes into play.
Loss at Chiefs could cost Colts bye in playoffs
Chuck Pagano doesn’t have to make his Indianapolis Colts players aware of the playoff implications surrounding the team’s road game at Kansas City on Sunday.
Back in the mix: Colts are hoping to improve their playoff seeding in final two weeks of NFL’s regular season
Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano stresses that he is not a scoreboard watcher when it comes to other National Football League games.
- More Colts Headlines
- Colts take another look at Shakir Bell