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New QBs Lead Colts To Season-Ending Win

A choppy season for the Colts ended Sunday on a discernible uptick – albeit without a playoff bid. The Colts downed the Tennessee Titans, 30-24, at Lucas Oil Stadium to win their second straight game and finish 8-8. However, the Colts' longshot hopes for the postseason died when Houston wrapped up the AFC South title with a victory over Jacksonville.


INDIANAPOLIS --Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley, signed several days earlier to fill the Colts' injury-plagued quarterback position, combined for a workmanlike effort Sunday while doing exactly what they were hired to do.

That is, they managed the game. They took care of the football. They engineered a 30-24 victory for the Colts over the visiting Tennessee Titans.

And the Indy quarterbacks received plenty of help from their teammates in what Coach Chuck Pagano termed a "great team win."

Linebacker Jerrell Freeman led the Colts defense with eight tackles, an interception and touchdown return, and a sack late in the game that helped to preserve the Indianapolis victory. Adam Vinatieri kicked three field goals and finished the season with 107 points, giving him 18 consecutive seasons with 100.

Josh Freeman and Lindley, the fourth and fifth quarterbacks to play for Indianapolis this season, totaled 207 passing yards between them. Freeman led the way with 149 yards on 15-of-28, with one touchdown and one interception. Lindley hit 6-of-10 passes for 58 yards and a touchdown just before halftime.

The Colts finished the season at 8-8, winning for the ninth straight time in the Titans series. Tennessee ended at 3-13.

STAR OF THE GAME – Jerrell Freeman's performance put a nice exclamation point on his season. He came into the game as the Colts' second-leading tackler behind fellow linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. His 23-yard interception return just after halftime gave the Colts a 13-point edge that shrank to three late in the game.

GORE FALLS SHORT – Colts running back Frank Gore needed 109 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the season and attain that mark for the ninth time in his career. He wound up with 76 yards on 19 attempts. With his Sunday total, Gore did surpass 12,000 career rushing yards.

RECEIVERS DO THEIR JOB – Tight end Coby Fleener led the Colts with seven receptions for 88 yards with a touchdown. He caught every pass targeted for him. Andre Johnson, T.Y. Hilton and Phillip Dorsett each caught four passes.

STATS FAVOR THE COLTS – The Colts led in nearly every significant offensive statistic. They recorded 20 first downs to the Titans' 14, and were 41 percent on third-down conversions (7-of-17) to Tennessee's 29 percent (4-of-14). Indy led in net yardage, 327-231. The home team also topped Tennessee in time of possession, 33:17 to 26:43.

THE QUARTERBACK'S QUOTE – "My goal was to go out and play well enough to win," said Josh Freeman, who signed with the Colts last Monday and became the team's third starting quarterback this season. Mission accomplished for the mobile quarterback, who also rushed for 24 yards. Added Freeman: "Today is about the team coming together and getting a big win despite the odds."

Photos from the final game of the 2015 regular season.


FIRST QUARTER (8:57 remaining)

The Colts jumped on the scoreboard first, taking the opening kickoff on a drive that resulted in a 49-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri. Josh Freeman, starting his first game at quarterback for the Colts, completed 4-of-7 passes for 33 yards. Rookie receiver Phillip Dorsett caught a pair of passes for 15 yards and carried on an end-around play for 11. Colts 3, Titans 0.

FIRST QUARTER (2:21 remaining)

The Titans used a big defensive play to set up their first score. When Freeman aimed a pass at Daniel Herron, it glanced off the running back's hands and was intercepted by Da'Norris Searcy. Tennessee took over at the Colts' 5-yard line. On the next play, Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger ran in for the score. Ryan Succop added the extra point.  Titans 7, Colts 3.

FIRST QUARTER (12 seconds remaining)

The Colts didn't let Tennessee's quick-strike score bother them. They came back on their next possession for their own TD, with Freeman throwing a 57-yard pass to Coby Fleener up the middle of the field. One play earlier, Dorsett caught a pass for 11 yards. Vinatieri added the extra point. ** Colts 10, Titans 7.


SECOND QUARTER (10:25 remaining)

The Titans marched 80 yards in 11 plays to score another touchdown. The big play was a fake pass and handoff to tight end Delanie Walker for 36 yards. David Cobb scored the TD on a 1-yard run. Succop hit the extra point. Titans 14, Colts 10.

SECOND QUARTER (6:29 remaining)

Vinatieri booted a 52-yard field goal to cut into Tennessee's lead. It gave Vinatieri 102 points for the season, marking the 18th consecutive year he has reached the century mark. It was Vinatieri's 24th consecutive field goal this season. Titans 14, Colts 13.

SECOND QUARTER (13 seconds remaining)

Ryan Lindley came in at quarterback to lead a Colts scoring drive just before halftime. Fleener caught three passes for 17 yards to get the drive going. Lindley threw for 18 yards to T.Y. Hilton, moving Indy to the Tennessee 18. The touchdown throw from there went to Andre Johnson, who made a nifty catch inches from the goal line before extending the ball for the score. Vinatieri added the extra point, sending the home team up.** Colts 20, Titans 14.


THIRD QUARTER (14:19 remaining)

The Colts defense produced a huge play early in the second half. Safety Dwight Lowery deflected a Mettenberger pass and linebacker Jerrell Freeman intercepted, loping into the end zone for a 23-yard score on the runback. Vinatieri added the extra point, extending the Colts' lead. ** Colts 27, Titans 14.


THIRD QUARTER (7:30 remaining)

Alex Tanney came in to play quarterback and led the Titans on an 11-play, 49-yard drive that resulted in a 49-yard field goal by Succop. The big play was a 12-yard run by David Cobb.Colts 27, Titans 17.

FOURTH QUARTER (11:07 remaining)

The Titans continued to battle, scoring on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Tanney to Dorial Green-Beckham. Tanney was 3-for-3 passing for 30 yards on the march. Succop hit the extra point. Colts 27, Titans 24.

FOURTH QUARTER (2:25 remaining)

The Colts stretched their lead on a 35-yard field goal by Vinatieri. Josh Freeman provided an important first down on third-and-3, running for five yards on a quarterback keeper and helping to burn more clock. **Colts 30, Titans 24.

Photos from warm-ups prior to the final regular season game of 2015.


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