INDIANAPOLIS – Was it happening again?
Back on Oct. 23, the Colts saw a two-score lead, against a road divisional foe, evaporate for a second straight week. But this time, the visitors would not be denied in making the winning plays.
A Jack Doyle touchdown on a third-and-goal with 1:55 remaining put the Colts ahead 27-23.
The defense, which slowed down Titans' leading rusher DeMarco Murray in the second half, then did its turn in finishing off the Colts' first road win of 2016.
T.Y. McGill's strip of Marcus Mariota, capped by Robert Mathis' fumble return for a touchdown, ended things for the Titans.
Here are seven takeaways from that Week Seven meeting in Nashville and what has changed in the past month:
- Marcus Mariota is hot. The reigning AFC Offensive Player of the Week misfired on some important throws when these teams met earlier this year. Since then, Mariota is 64-of-91 (70.3 percent) with nine touchdowns and two interceptions. He has been sacked just twice in the past three weeks and hasn't had to rely too much on his legs (just 10 rushes for 33 yards).
- More DeMarco Murray coming? Watch Tennessee's 47-25 win over the Packers last week and Murray's presence set up so many scores for the Titans. Back in Week Seven, Murray had 16 carries for 77 yards in the first half, but just 30 yards on nine rushes after intermission. Murray is the NFL's second leading rusher.
- On paper, the Titans' offensive personnel doesn't scream "explosive unit." But the numbers say otherwise. In the last six weeks, Tennessee has averaged 33.7 points per game---the highest in the NFL.
- Speaking of personnel, the Colts should look much different from 10/23. The inactive list that afternoon included Dwayne Allen, Henry Anderson, Jacoby Brissett, Jack Mewhort and Donte Moncrief. It's a real possibility the Colts have all those guys on Sunday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium.
- Even with missing a large bulk of his pass catching group, Andrew Luck was terrific in the 34-26 win in Nashville. Luck threw for 353 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. It was the type of effort that separates elite quarterbacks from the rest of the pack.
- Both tight ends were very effective in Week Seven. Jack Doyle had a career-high nine catches for 78 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Tennessee's Delanie Walker had seven grabs in eight targets.
- Don't sleep on the kickers. Adam Vinatieri set the NFL record for consecutive made field goals down in Nashville (Vinny made two to push his streak to 43 in a row). Titans' kicker Ryan Succop has made 29 straight field goals inside of 50 yards.