Colts Finish In Fine Fashion For 10th Straight Win Over Titans

Intro: The Colts didn’t make it easy on themselves Sunday in Nashville, but they finished, and that was the most important thing in finding win No. 3. A look back on the Colts’ 34-26 victory over the Titans.

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NASHVILLE – They needed it.

No roundabout way other then the Colts (3-4) came to Nashville in Week Seven having to get back on track.

The alternative would have had the Colts in a hole that virtually no NFL team recovers from to make the postseason.

"Sink or swim" was how Robert Mathis described the 2-4 Colts looking to avoid dropping a third divisional game in four weeks.

For large chunks of Sunday the Colts were staying well above the water.

But when the waters got rocky, and the Colts fell behind, the offense and defense took respective turns steering the ship back into port, sending the visitors home with their 10th straight win over the Titans.

"Especially coming off a loss on the road where you virtually have the game (won), for these guys to respond and rebound and come to work, great, great character in that locker room," Chuck Pagano said after his team got their first divisional win of 2016, after a missed opportunity in Houston last week.

"They refuse to surrender. They know they are a good football team."

After an opening-drive touchdown for the Titans (3-4) on Sunday, the Colts controlled virtually the rest of the first half.

Photos from the week 7 matchup against the Tennessee Titans.

A late-half touchdown from the Titans cut the Indy lead to 17-13 at halftime.

The Colts padded their cushion in the third quarter and were on the verge of a similar scenario they encountered last week in Houston.

Leading 20-13 late in the third, the Colts had a defensive drive where they allowed first downs after a 2nd-and-20, a 3rd-and-15, a 3rd-and-19 and a 3rd-and-7.

If a loss came on Sunday, the Colts could point right to that drive as to why.

But the Colts avoided disaster by responding to a 23-20 deficit with winning football from each unit.

Andrew Luck, who was outstanding all afternoon with a depleted skill group, first led a 12-play touchdown drive.

Luck found Jack Doyle for a seven-yard touchdown on a third-and-goal with 1:55 remaining, which gave the Colts a 27-23 lead.

Without three of his top four pass catchers, Luck was still 27-of-39 for 353 yards and three touchdowns on the afternoon.

"Chuck's big message all week was 'Do your job. Do your part to help this team win,'" Luck said of an offense that was missing three important pass catchers and starting left guard Jack Mewhort.

"I thought the coaches laid out an incredibly aggressive and inventive game plan to go do that and we made enough plays at the end."

While Luck's job was all but done on the afternoon, the defense had to do its part. Sound familiar?

T.Y. McGill, the defensive star of the preseason, slammed the door shut on victory No. 3.

On the Titans' first play following the Doyle touchdown, McGill split a double team and stripped Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Robert Mathis scooped up the bounding ball and took off 14 yards the other way for the game-sealing touchdown.

Another Sunday for the Colts brought yet another game with zero shortage of end-game drama.

Making sure the entertainment ended the way they wanted it to, the Colts capped things in Nashville like they weren't able to do in Houston.

It was a step in the right direction for a team that is trying to do what they can to have a big say in how the AFC South is going to look come November and December.

"We can make things a heck of a lot easier on ourselves if we just get some things cleaned up," Pagano said summing up Sunday's 34-26 victory. "And we have to do it.

"But it's great to get a win."

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