INDIANAPOLIS — After defeating an AFC South foe in the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, the Indianapolis Colts (4-5) now focus on another divisional rival in the Tennessee Titans (5-4).
Currently a game back from the Titans in the standings, there is a huge opportunity ahead for the Colts. However, the Titans are heating up after pairing together a couple of impressive wins. Let’s take a look at their latest victory.
Tennessee moved to 5-4 on the season with their 34-10 home win over the New England Patriots, maintaining the second spot in the AFC South standings.
The Titans did something Sunday that you don’t often see: smother the Patriots and control the game from start to finish. They held them to 284 yards of offense, 20 percent on third downs and monopolized time of possession by almost six minutes.
Tennessee’s defense held New England quarterback Tom Brady and the passing game to zero touchdowns and a completion percentage just better than 50 percent, also sacking Brady three times.
Without tight end Rob Gronkowski present (ankle and back injuries), receivers Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon combined to catch 13 of their 24 targets for 185 yards.
On the ground, the backfield of Sony Michel, Cordarrelle Patterson, James Develin and James White combined for just 38 yards on 17 carries (2.2 avg) and a touchdown.
Meanwhile, the Marcus Mariota-led Titans offense played ball control all day. Mariota was 16-of-24 passing for 228 yards and two touchdowns, with his second-year receiver Corey Davis catching seven balls for 125 yards and one touchdown.
Running backs Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis kept drives alive by carrying the ball 31 times for 115 yards and a pair of scores.
Like last week with the Jaguars, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has a tough test ahead of him with the Titans’ defensive front featuring the likes of Jurrell Casey, Brian Orakpo and rookies Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry. Tennessee’s front helps make things easier for one of the league’s top pass defenses, allowing just 228 passing yards per game. Just like the Colts have with Malik Hooker, the Titans have their own ballhawk in safety Kevin Byard.
Tennessee’s run defense is only slightly more generous, ranking tied for 10th (99.8 yards per game). Between Weeks 6-8, the Colts offense ran for 189.7 yards per game but came back down to earth last week against the Jaguars, running for 81. The Colts were dominant against the Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders when they were running at their previous volume, so we’ll see if they try to establish it yet again this week against the Titans.
On defense, the Colts will have their hands full with Lewis and Henry. Both players can contribute both as runners and pass-catchers, combining for an average of 120 yards of offense per game.
The biggest test for the Colts’ secondary will be Davis, who is developing into a high-quality top receiver for Mariota and the Titans.
2018 KEY STATS
- 6th on fourth down (75%)
- Tied for 9th in giveaways (10)
- 10th on third down (43%)
- Tied for 22nd in sacks allowed (28)
- 24th in passer rating (89.0)
- 25th in red zone offense on the road (46.7%)
- 26th in yards per carry (3.9)
- 28th in scoring (18.7 PPG)
- 30th in total offense (299.0 YPG)
- 30th in passing offense (184.6 YPG) and passing touchdowns (9)
- 1st in scoring defense (16.8 PPG)
- 1st in red zone defense (34.8%) and on the road (21.4%)
- 6th in total defense (328.0 YPG)
- 6th in pass defense (228.2 YPG)
- Tied for 6th in opponent yards per carry (3.9)
- 10th in opponent passer rating (89.5)
- Tied for 22nd in takeaways (9)