INDIANAPOLIS – PAINTER SHOWS ABILITY TO RUN- A new name topped the list of most rushing yards for the Colts on Sunday.
Quarterback Curtis Painter ran seven times for 79 yards, which ranked as the fifth-highest single-game total by a quarterback in franchise history. The 79 yards rushing are the most for a Colts signal-caller since Bert Jones rushed for 92 yards against the New York Jets on October 20, 1974.
With the Colts trying to make a fourth quarter comeback, Painter scrambled three times for 58 yards on a drive that went 77 yards in 10 plays.
"We did a little option at Purdue, so I got to run it a little bit, but I guess that was more by design, so it's been a few years," Painter said of his scrambling.
His 79 yards rushing helped the Colts ground attack outgain the Titans, 158-96.
In the passing department, Painter had career-highs in completions and attempts, as he was 26-49 for 250 yards on Sunday.
Painter also played a crucial role in a pair of records for two of his targets Sunday afternoon.
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne had five receptions for 61 yards, and he passed Steve Largent for 20th-place on the NFL's all-time receptions list with 822 for his career.
Leading the team with 77 yards receiving, tight end Dallas Clark had six catches. The receptions tied his season-high, while the yards were the most he has had in a game this season. Clark now has 419 career catches, and he moved into 23rd-place on the NFL's list for career receptions by a tight end.
The Colts offense had its most productive drives following halftime, something Painter said was due to a higher pace with the no huddle offense.
"I think one thing that it always gives us is tempo," Painter said. "Everybody on this team is kind of used to that style and it kind of gets everybody into rhythm a little bit better. I think more than anything that's what it does, it gets us going and kind of hitting plays one after another."
OFFENSIVE LINE SHUFFLED AGAIN –For the fifth time in eight games, the Colts offensive line had a different look to it Sunday afternoon.
Left guard Seth Olsen and right guard Mike Tepper made their first NFL career starts.
A product of Iowa University, Olsen was signed by the Colts on September 12th and has played mainly on special teams since being added to the roster.
Tepper joined the Colts on January 5, 2011. He was with the team in training camp and saw his first action at Tampa Bay in week four, when he was signed off the practice squad the day of the game. He has been on the practice squad subsequently, but was activated and opened his first career game at Tennessee.
The Colts lost starting guards Joe Reitz and Mike Pollak in the New Orleanss game last week and right tackle Ryan Diem also missed the Tennessee contest due to injury.
The injury bug once again hit the offensive line when right tackle Quinn Ojinnaka went down with a knee injury in the fourth quarter on Sunday. Michael Toudouze, who was signed last week, replaced Ojinnaka.
Despite all the injuries, the Colts still out-rushed the Titans, 158-96, with a 6.1-yard average per rush.
DEFENSE SHUTS DOWN JOHNSON –In the 2010 season finale, the Colts defense held Pro Bowl running back Chris Johnson to 39 yards on 20 carries.
The unit proved Sunday that the performance was not an aberration, holding Johnson to 34 yards on 14 carries.
"They completed of couple passes and got of couple field goals, but I don't think they had an effective day moving the ball up and down the field," cornerback Jerraud Powers said. "We did a good job controlling Johnson. They schemed up a couple things and had some nice runs and had a nice throw here and there. It is the NFL, it is going to happen every now and then."
Leading the way for the defense was the NFL's leading tackler Pat Angerer. The middle linebacker had 10 tackles on Sunday including two for loss.
Defensive tackle Dan Muir got his first start of 2011 on Sunday and helped the defense hold the Titans to 3.1 yards per rush.
The defense got off to a fast start Sunday forcing three straight three-and-outs after giving up a field goal on the Titans initial drive. The stops came when the Titans started possessions twice in Colts territory and kept them within striking distance.
"I thought we came out fine this week from a defensive standpoint," Powers said. They came out and got a quick three, but other than that we were getting off the field, getting some stops and making some plays here and there."