INDIANAPOLIS — One game.
After all the trials and tribulations, ups and downs, inspiring wins and gut wrenching losses the first 11 weeks of the regular season, the Indianapolis Colts now find themselves just one game out of first place in the AFC South Division.
That's because the Colts (5-5) took care of business on Sunday, defeating the Tennessee Titans (5-6) to take over second place in the division, while the AFC South-leading Houston Texans (6-4) fell to the Oakland Raiders, 27-20, in their Monday Night Football matchup last night in Mexico City.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, meanwhile, continued their nosedive on Sunday, when they fell to the Detroit Lions, 26-19, for their fifth straight loss.
The path for the Colts doesn't get any easier, however, as they welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to Indianapolis on Thursday for a Thanksgiving Night showdown at Lucas Oil Stadium. Adding to the challenge of the game is the fact quarterback Andrew Luck on Monday was placed in the league's concussion protocol, making his availability for the quick turnaround murky at best.
But before officially moving on to Thursday's game, let's take a comprehensive look around the AFC South during Week 11 of the 2016 regular season, via the AP:• Detroit Lions 26, Jacksonville Jaguars 19
Eric Ebron had a go-ahead, 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter and the Detroit Lions went on to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 26-19 Sunday.
Ebron's first carry of his career, a handoff as he went from left to right after lining up as an off-the-line tight end, was set up by his career-long, 61-yard catch.
The Lions (6-4) have won five of six despite trailing in the fourth quarter of every game. For a change, Matthew Stafford didn't have to lead a game-winning drive in the final minutes.
Jacksonville (2-8) has lost five straight.
The Jaguars had a chance to force Detroit to punt, or to go for it on a fourth-and-3 from their 46. Nose tackle Sen'Derrick Marks, though, was penalized for encroachment on a play in which Stafford probably didn't intend to have the ball snapped.
Stafford converted a third-and-5 from the Jacksonville 36 with a 7-yard pass to Theo Riddick with 2:18 left that helped set up Matt Prater's 43-yard field goal with 22 seconds left.
Tavon Wilson sealed the victory with an interception with 2 seconds left.
Coming off a bye, the Lions were very rusty on offense.
They had more punts (five) than rushing yards (two) and just 18 yards passing late in the first half, but led 6-3 because Andre Roberts returned a punt 55 yards early in the second quarter. They were also fortunate their defense scored, putting them ahead 16-9 early in the third when Rafael Bush returned an interception 39 yards for a TD.• Indianapolis Colts 24, Tennessee Titans 17
Andrew Luck led the Indianapolis Colts to a big early lead Sunday, and the defense held on in the second half for a 24-17 victory over Tennessee.
Game highlights from the Colts win over the Titans.
Indianapolis (5-5) evened its record by winning back-to-back games for the first time this season.
And by earning their 11th straight victory in the series, the Colts climbed into second place in the AFC South.
For Tennessee (5-6) , it was more frustration against an old nemesis.
Luck was 15 of 28 for 262 yards with two touchdowns and one interception as the Colts scored touchdowns on each of their first three possessions for a 21-0 lead.
Tennessee rallied with a 3-yard TD pass from Marcus Mariota to DeMarco Murray in the final minute of the first half and a 34-yard TD pass from Mariota to Tajae Sharpe midway through the third quarter.
But the Titans never caught up. Their last gasp ended when Murray was stopped for no gain at the Colts 19-yard line with 2:42 to go.
Indy's T.Y. Hilton had five catches for 97 yards including an acrobatic TD catch in the first half, a ball that went through the hands of Titans cornerback Perrish Cox.
Mariota was 25 of 38 for 290 yards with two TD passes. Murray ran 21 times for 70 yards.
His streak of consecutive games with a rushing TD ended at five, tying Earl Campbell's franchise record.• Oakland Raiders 27, Houston Texans 20
Derek Carr woke up a struggling Oakland offense by throwing two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter as the Raiders capped a successful trip to Mexico with a 27-20 victory over the Houston Texans on Monday night.
Oakland had been held to 120 yards through three quarters with the running game going nowhere and Carr finding few open receivers downfield. But that suddenly changed in the fourth quarter to give the Raiders (8-2) their fourth straight win for the first time since 2002.
With star receiver Amari Cooper lined up in the backfield, Carr found fullback Jamize Olawale open for a 75-yard catch and run that tied Houston (6-4) at 20.
Then Oakland took advantage on two questionable spots by the officials to take over on downs at the 15 and drove 85 yards in five plays to take the lead on a 35-yard pass to Cooper.
That set off loud celebrations from the pro-Raiders crowd of 76,743 in the second regular season game ever played in Mexico. What was originally scheduled as an Oakland home game featured Raiders music during stoppages, Tommie Smith lighting the Al Davis torch in a memorable return to Mexico City nearly a half-century after his Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympics and frequent "RAI-DERS!" chants.
While the atmosphere was electric, the field was a bit slippery leading to some falls and the high elevation 7,380 feet above sea level played a factor. The Raiders needed to use a timeout on defense at one point in the fourth to catch their breath and receiver Michael Crabtree was seen gasping for breath at one point.