NASHVILLE –Looking to capture their first road win of the season, the Colts needed more than 60 minutes to get things done in Nashville.
Rookie running back Vick Ballard took a 16-yard screen pass and leaped into the end zone to give the Colts a 19-13 overtime victory at Tennessee.
"I called it, 'getting in the end zone.' The game was on the line," said Ballard to Colts Radio. "We practiced that play a couple of times this week. When B.A. (Bruce Arians) called it on the sideline, I knew it was a good play.
"We ran the ball down the field with Donald (Brown). I guess he got kind of winded, and I came in. I guess they were expecting the run. The screen was off a run play. I guess we set it up nice and it worked out for us."
The Colts grinded out the 80-yard, nine-play game-winning drive behind the legs of running back Donald Brown and a critical third-down catch by Reggie Wayne. Brown gained 39 yards on six straight runs to open the drive. Wayne's catch came after Brown's last carry.
With the Indianapolis offense struggling to finish drives off for much of the game, the Colts relied on a rushing attack that totaled 171 yards on 34 attempts on the afternoon.
"To go into overtime on the road…one of our plans was to get a win on the road," said Ballard. "Getting the first win on the road is big for us. We kept fighting."
At the half, the Colts had 49 yards on 10 rushes, and the club stayed committed to the ground for the second straight week. Last week against Cleveland, the Colts rushed for a then season-best 148 yards.
Brown had 80 yards on 14 rushes. Ballard totaled 55 on 12 carries in his third straight start. Brown had missed the last two games after suffering a knee injury late in the October 7 win over Green Bay. Indianapolis had a 5.0 rushing average at Tennessee, a season-best.
Tennessee led 13-6 late in the fourth quarter, but the Colts drove 80 yards in 14 plays with running back Delone Carter jumping over the pile for a one-yard touchdown. His score knotted the game with 3:24 to go.
On the previous play, Carter ripped off a seven-yard gain on a fourth-and-one to keep the game-tying drive alive.
Bruce Arians was leading a fourth game in place of Head Coach Chuck Pagano, who is fighting a bout of leukemia. Arians has helped lead Pagano's team to wins in three of those outings.
A self-described "gambler," Arians says the team has one mindset when it takes the field.
"We play to win," said Arians to Colts Radio. "When you can win on the road and get that monkey off your back, but in a dramatic fashion with an overtime touchdown like that (it's big). That was a great drive for us.
"Two 80-yard drives, fourth-quarter drives, the overtime drive, the offensive (was solid). Joe Reitz jumped in at tight end when Coby (Fleener) got hurt and added a force in that unit. When we ran the football, the backs ran hard. When we had to make a play in the passing game, we made it."
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was 26-of-38 for 297 yards and a touchdown. Luck hit nine different receivers on the day. His key third-down completion to Donnie Avery in regulation allowed Indianapolis to drain the clock and get into overtime.
Indianapolis won the coin toss and elected to take the ball. Tennessee chose to have the wind, which was gusting all day stronger than 20 miles per hour, at its back. Arians never hesitated with his decision. He wanted the ball regardless of conditions.
"The wind wasn't going to matter, we were going to score a touchdown," said Arians. "We're going to take the ball every time in overtime. I don't care if it's a hailstorm. We're going to take the ball and go win the game."
Wayne led the receivers with seven catches for 91 yards.
The Colts defense held Titans running back Chris Johnson in check for much of the afternoon. Johnson had 21 carries for 99 yards. A week ago, the fleet back ran for 195 yards at Buffalo.
Matt Hasselbeck completed 22-of-29 passes for 236 yards and one touchdown for Tennessee.
The win moves the Colts to 4-3, the first time the team has been over .500 since the 2010 season. It was the club's first overtime game since 2010, and the first overtime win since 2004. The last time Indianapolis won a road overtime game was in Tampa Bay in 2003.
The victory allowed the club to snap a 10-game road losing streak dating back to 2010.
Indianapolis hosts Miami (4-3) in Lucas Oil Stadium next Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
FIRST QUARTER (7:35 remaining)
The Titans won the coin toss and elected to receive, driving 59 yards over 13 plays resulting in a 39-yard field goal by kicker Rob Bironas. Titans running back Chris Johnson had 19 yards rushing on five carries, but it was quarterback Matt Hasselbeck who did most of the damage. Hasselbeck was 5-of-5 for 54 yards passing on the drive. Colts defensive tackle Drake Nevis had a sack of Hasselbeck on a second-and-16 to force the Bironas field goal. Titans 3, Colts 0
FIRST QUARTER (1:06 remaining)
Indianapolis answered the Bironas field goal with one of its own from kicker Adam Vinatieri. The Colts offense marched 83 yards over 12 plays, with the drive stalling out inside the five-yard line. Rookie tight end Dwayne Allen began the drive with receptions of 20 and 17 yards. Running back Vick Ballard started his third straight game and had four carries for 21 yards on the drive. Vinatieri's 20-yard field goal completed the drive. Titans 3, Colts 3
SECOND QUARTER (1:00 remaining)
Titans rookie wide receiver Kendall Wright hauled in a 23-yard touchdown pass to finish off a 12-play, 72-yard drive. In a half that has seen a total of five possessions so far, this was the second double-digit play drive for the Tennessee offense. Hasselbeck has had an efficient afternoon with 13 completions in 16 attempts and 127 yards passing. Bironas added the extra point. Titans 10, Colts 3
THIRD QUARTER (10:20 remaining)
The Colts opened the second half with a 10-play drive capped off by a 44-yard field goal by Vinatieri. With the field goal, Vinatieri became the eighth player in NFL history with 400 career field goals. Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne had a pair of receptions for 26 yards on the drive. A sack by Titans linebacker Akeem Ayers stalled the Colts drive. Titans 10, Colts 6
FOURTH QUARTER (10:26 remaining)
Tennessee pushed its lead back to a touchdown thanks to a 30-yard field goal by Bironas. Johnson had been contained for much of the day, but he had a pair of first-down gains on the drive. Titans tight end Jared Cook had a 29-yard reception on the drive to get the Titans into Colts territory. Titans 13, Colts 6
FOURTH QUARTER (3:24 remaining)
Running back Delone Carter made the most his first two carries of the afternoon. Carter followed up a fourth-and-one conversion with a one-yard leaping touchdown to tie the score. The Colts went 80 yards in 14 plays as the drive spanned 7:02. The Colts got critical catches from wide receiver LaVon Brazill and tight end Weslye Saunders on the drive. Vinatieri added the extra point. Titans 13, Colts 13
OVERTIME (4:49 elapsed)
Vick Ballard scored on a 16-yard pass from Luck, diving to the pylon as the Colts took a compelling 19-13 overtime win at Tennessee. It was the club's first overtime game since 2010 and the first overtime win since 2004. It was the first road overtime win since 2003. Donald Brown had rushes of four, 19, nine, five and five yards to get the Colts into Tennessee territory. Luck teamed with Reggie Wayne on a 20-yard completion prior to the game-winner. It marked the third fourth-quarter comeback for the Colts this year. Colts 19, Titans 13