Colts Own Mistakes In Loss To Titans, Emphasize Quick Turnaround Ahead Of Primetime Thursday Matchup Vs. Jets

As the Colts digested their 34-31 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, they did so knowing the loss needs to — and will be — quickly flushed ahead of Thursday night’s primetime home game against the New York Jets. 

Carson Wentz

The Colts don't have much time to chew on their 34-31 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, not with a primetime date against the New York Jets fast approaching at Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday night.

But in the immediate aftermath of a gutting loss, the Colts took ownership of Sunday's defeat, starting with head coach Frank Reich.

Reich specifically put Carson Wentz's pick-six — which broke a 24-24 tie with about a minute and a half remaining in the fourth quarter — on him.

Reich called for a screen to tight end Mo Alie-Cox, expecting the Titans' pass rush to over-commit to trying for a safety and allowing Wentz to drop the ball off to Alie-Cox. But Tennessee's defensive line read the play, and Wentz wasn't able to throw the ball into the ground for an incompletion. He flicked the ball in the air with his left hand to avoid a safety and cornerback Elijah Molden intercepted it for a touchdown.

"That was 100 percent my fault," Reich said. "It was a bad call. It was a screen to Mo and they were sitting right on it. We hadn't thrown that — didn't think they would ever be thinking that at that point in the game. I've been around too long to know you don't call a screen backed up in that situation.

"I told Carson right after that play, he came over to the sideline, I said that's 100 percent my fault. That's a terrible play call. Now just go make it right."

Wentz and the Colts' offense did make it right, with a 38-yard strike to Michael Pittman Jr. and a heave to Ashton Dulin that drew pass interference in the end zone leading to a one-yard Jonathan Taylor touchdown that tied the game at 31. A DeForest Buckner sack of Ryan Tannehill sent the AFC South clash into overtime, and the Colts won the toss, giving them a chance to win the game with a touchdown.

But after trading three-and-outs with the Titans, Wentz threw toward Michael Pittman Jr. but was picked off by safety Kevin Byard, who returned the interception 14 yards to the Colts' 32-yard line. A few plays later, Randy Bullock hit a 44-yard field goal that dealt the Colts a 34-31 loss.

"Probably tried to do too much," Wentz said. "Tried to force one there to Pitt. He had a step on the underneath coverage but Byard came out of the sky and made a heck of a play."

Those two interceptions ended a Colts franchise record-setting streak of 212 pass attempts without an interception for Wentz. But while Reich and Wentz took responsibility for each of those plays, running back Jonathan Taylor pointed his thumb, too.

"It's on all of us, it's not just on Carson," Taylor said. "Everyone has to be in their spots, the timing has to be correct, pass pro has to be on 100. There's a lot of things that go into it and it doesn't all fall on Carson's shoulders."

The Colts' defense held Derrick Henry to just 68 yards on 28 carries (2.4 yards per carry); his longest carry went for nine yards. But while that was an undoubtedly impressive afternoon slowing down the best running back on the planet, the Colts did allow A.J. Brown to have 155 yards on 10 catches with a 57-yard touchdown.

"They found a way to get him the ball in different ways," cornerback Kenny Moore II said, "in the slot, on the outside, moving him around offense, going in motion, so they did a pretty good job of doing that and the offense won over the defense."

While the sting of Sunday's loss will linger through the evening, the Colts will have to quickly move on starting Monday with the Jets flying to Indianapolis in just a few days. The last time the Colts suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss, they did so on Monday night against the Baltimore Ravens and had to quickly flush that one, too (which led to a 28-point dismantling of the Houston Texans six days later). That same approach will be necessary for this team heading into hosting the Jets in primetime on Thursday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.

"It's a long season, we know where we're at," Wentz said. "Fortunately a loss like this, we got a quick turnaround. Thursday Night Football, it's always tough on our bodies but sometimes it's good for your mindset to just move past this one.

"… Thankful we got a quick one here. Quick turnaround, it's at home too which is nice. Just no time — I'll watch the tape early on, move on, wake up in the morning and it's on to the next."

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