Today is Tuesday, October 17, 2017.
|Monday, October 16, 2017|
|National Football League|
Mariota, Titans rally past Colts
Tuesday, October 17 at 1:22 AM (EDT)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Spending his first four NFL seasons with the New England Patriots, cornerback Logan Ryan learned quickly about prime-time games and championships.
His new employer, the Tennessee Titans, got a rare crack at the spotlight Monday night.
"We wanted to show our identity to the world," Ryan said. "This was a great chance to play before a national audience."
Tennessee took full advantage of its first Monday night game in three years, exploding for 21 fourth-quarter points to dump the Indianapolis Colts 36-22 in Nissan Stadium.
Marcus Mariota, who threw for 306 yards on 23-of-32 passing, found rookie Taywan Taylor behind the Indianapolis defense for a tiebreaking 53-yard touchdown pass with 5:29 left.
After linebacker Wesley Woodyard stopped Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett for no gain on a fourth-and-1 at the Tennessee 13-yard line with 2:19 remaining, Derrick Henry wrapped it up on a 72-yard scoring jaunt with 47 seconds left.
The result propelled Tennessee (3-3) into a three-way tie with Houston and Jacksonville for first place in the AFC South. What's more, it snapped the Titans' 11-game, 5 1/2-season losing streak to the Colts (2-4).
"We couldn't afford to lose," Ryan said.
For most of the night, though, it appeared Tennessee was going to squander a game its organization pointed to since the schedule came out in April. The Titans' first five scores were field goals, with Ryan Succop connecting from 48, 32, 40, 48 and 23 yards.
All that did was help keep Indianapolis, which hadn't lost to Tennessee since Oct. 30, 2011, in control. In fact, the Colts opened up a 19-9 advantage when John Simon made a leaping interception of Mariota's short pass into the right flat and rumbled 26 yards for a touchdown 70 seconds into the third quarter.
The crowd of 63,888 booed loudly when the Titans turned to Succop for his fifth field goal after they couldn't punch it into the end zone on first-and-goal from the 4-yard line.
Those boos became thundering cheers over the game's last 10 minutes, when Tennessee finally found the end zone and imposed its will on Indianapolis.
A 15-play, 87-yard drive that lasted 8:24 served as the icebreaker. DeMarco Murray powered in from the 3 with 10:01 left to provide the Titans with a 22-19 lead, their first since Succop's second field goal with 47 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
"We take a lot of pride in being physical," Tennessee offensive tackle Taylor Lewan said. "Put the game on us."
After Adam Vinatieri drilled a 52-yard field goal with 7:27 to play, evening the score at 22, Tennessee regained the lead for good four plays later. Playing with a hamstring ailment that basically took away his ability to run, Mariota hit Taylor for the wide receiver's first NFL touchdown.
It surprised none of his teammates that Mariota came up big despite not being 100 percent.
"He made up his mind that he was going to go," Murray said.
The Colts marched down to the Tennessee 13 and tried to fool the Titans by using the mobile Brissett on a bootleg around right end. However, Woodyard closed ground from the backside and pushed him out of bounds just shy of the first down, a ruling confirmed by replay.
Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano felt confident the play would work.
"It was based on tape of what they have showed on film," he said. "I knew exactly what we would run. We weren't exactly grasping at straws."
Henry's long scoring run capped a 131-yard night for the second-year pro and finished off a 319-yard second half for Tennessee.
It also continued an ugly trend for Indianapolis, which has struggled to finish games. The Colts coughed up a second-half lead in a 46-18 loss at Seattle on Oct. 1, and they blew a two-touchdown lead last week in a 26-23 overtime win over 0-6 San Francisco.
"We've got to figure out, obviously, a way to finish games," Pagano said. "We have to play a 60-minute game. Our margin for error is minute."
Brissett finished 21 of 37 for 212 yards and a touchdown, an 8-yard scoring flip to tight end Jack Doyle in the second quarter. However, the Colts picked up only 111 yards after halftime.
NOTES: Hedging its bets in terms of Marcus Mariota's return from a hamstring injury, Tennessee activated both backup quarterbacks -- Matt Cassel and Brandon Weeden. ... Indianapolis inserted Le'Raven Clark at right guard in place of Jack Mewhort, who was placed on injured reserve Saturday with a season-ending knee ailment. ... Titans NT Sylvester Williams was inactive after playing in the first five games and starting three. Austin Johnson got the start in his place.
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