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First Impressions: Colts Fall To The Titans

Posted Oct 16, 2017

Intro: Colts.com’s Andrew Walker takes a closer look at the Indianapolis Colts’ 36-22 loss Monday night at Nissan Stadium.

NASHVILLE — The Indianapolis Colts on Monday night fell to the Tennessee Titans, 36-22, in their Week 6 matchup at Nissan Stadium.

What’s top of mind for the Colts after falling to 2-4 on the year?

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
The Colts came to Nashville on Monday dominating the recent series against the Titans, winning 11 straight and 16-of-17.

With 13:50 left in the third quarter of Monday night’s game, Indianapolis jumped out to a 19-9 lead off the heels of a 26-yard interception return for a touchdown by outside linebacker John Simon, and it seemed as though the Colts were on their way to a 12th consecutive win over their AFC South Division rival.

But, for a fifth straight week, Indianapolis would see its second-half lead disappear — and quickly.

With the Colts’ offense stalling and their defense gassed, the Titans closed the game from that point on a 25-3 run, and now the Colts have a short week left to prepare for the division-leading Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

REVEALING MOMENT
With 10:01 left in the fourth quarter, the Titans officially declared that the momentum was all theirs. On the 15th play of their drive, running back DeMarco Murray scored from three yards out to give the Titans a 22-19 lead, Tennessee’s first since the 47-second mark of the first quarter (6-3). After answering the call to that point of the game, the Colts’ defense was simply on the field for too long, especially on that drive for the Titans, which took 8:24 off the clock; and despite tying the game with an Adam Vinatieri field goal on their next drive, the Colts weren’t able to catch back up.

PLAY OF THE GAME

Simon Says: pick six. John Simon picked an ideal time for his first-career interception; on Tennessee’s first play of the second half, Simon hopped up at the line of scrimmage and showed off his sticky hands to pick off a Marcus Mariota pass, and then outran running back DeMarco Murray 26 yards to the end zone for the Indy defensive touchdown, putting the Colts up 19-9. Simon, a former member of the Houston Texans’ defense, already knew a thing or two about making big plays in AFC South battles, but he adds his flavor now to the Colts-Titans rivalry.

UNSUNG HERO

Right tackle Joe Haeg certainly brought his A-game for the Colts along the offensive line on Monday night. According to Pro Football Focus, Haeg stood out in passing situations, especially; in 40 total pass block snaps, the right tackle allowed just one total pressure on the quarterback, and finished with a pass blocking efficiency of 98.1. Haeg also was a key blocker for a Colts’ running game that finished with a 4.3 yards-per-carry average on the night.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Frank Gore showed an impressive burst on Monday night, particularly in the first half, when he had six carries for 36 yards. Gore would finish his day with 10 carries for 49 yards.

• Yes, you have to count it, but before a 72-yard touchdown run by Derrick Henry in garbage time in the fourth quarter, the Colts’ rush defense came to play once again on Monday. Not factoring in that Henry run, the Titans had 33 carries for 96 yards — an average of 2.9 yards per carry. Not bad against a unit that came into the game ranked ninth in the league in rushing at 124.8 yards per game.

Jabaal Sheard was a constant in the Tennessee backfield, especially in the first half. The outside linebacker finished with three tackles and two quarterback hits, and was certainly in position to make several more plays along the way.

Jacoby Brissett continues to impress in the first half of games. On Monday night, he completed 12-of-17 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown in the first two quarters, for a QB rating of 109.7; and if it weren’t for a drop in the end zone by Donte Moncrief, those numbers would’ve been even better. And, once again, Brissett showed off an ability to extend plays and find his receivers downfield. While he’s on the same boat as the rest of the team as far as figuring out the second half is concerned, it’s still impressive to note Brissett has only been the team’s starting quarterback now for about a month.

WHAT WENT WRONG
• The Colts were just 2-of-9 on third downs on Monday, while the Titans were 6-of-13 — with a little help from their opponent. Twice the Indy defense had committed drive-extending penalties on third downs in which the defense had got a stop, and both of those scenarios resulted in points for the Titans.

Jack Doyle had an up-and-down night for the Indianapolis offense. His eight-yard touchdown reception early in the second quarter gave the Colts their first lead, 10-6, and he would finish his night with seven total receptions for 50 yards. But Doyle also lost a key fumble in the third quarter, leading to a Titans field goal, and the tight end also had a couple key drops throughout the evening.

• The Titans certainly won in the time-of-possession battle, as they held the ball for 35:53 to just 24:07 for the Colts. Three three-and-outs to start the second half, as well as couple long Titans’ drives during that same span will do that.

INJURY REPORT
The following players were injured during Monday’s game:

• Running back Robert Turbin (left arm; didn’t return): Turbin’s arm/wrist buckled has he braced his fall during a third-down reception in the fourth quarter. Look for an update on Turbin on Tuesday.

WHAT’S NEXT
The Colts continue AFC South play next week, when they play host to the division-leading Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3) on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. on CBS. The Jaguars are coming off a 27-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at EverBank Field.

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