INDIANAPOLIS --A solid second-half performance was not enough Sunday as the Colts succumbed to a flurry of first-half penalties and three mistakes that led to touchdowns in the Tennessee Titans' 27-10 victory at LP Field.
Indy was flagged for 10 penalties, including eight in the first half. The Colts opened drives inside their own 20-yard line seven times in nine first-half possessions. Two interceptions and a blocked punt resulted in 21 points for Tennessee.
"Particularly in the first half, they had us backed up quite a bit and we couldn't punch our way out," Coach Jim Caldwell said on the Colts' radio network. "Penalties kind of backed us up, penalties not only on special teams but we had some offensive penalties that put us in a hole."
The loss dropped the Colts to 0-8 at the halfway mark of their season. The outcome overshadowed a sound performance by Indy's defense, which held Tennessee to 17 first downs and 311 net yards. The Colts also contained the Titans' running attack, holding it to 96 yards.
"They really fought," Caldwell said about the defense. "They took control of their gaps and did a nice job. … They made (the Titans) work for everything they got. Their effort was good and solid."
Quarterback Curtis Painter completed 26 passes in 49 attempts, both career highs. He threw for 250 yards and scrambled for another 79 yards on seven attempts. He was the Colts' leading rusher.
Pierre Garcon led the Colts with seven receptions for 66 yards. Dallas Clark had six catches for 77 yards.
For Tennessee (4-3), Matt Hasselbeck passed for 224 yards and a score on 23-of-33. Hasselbeck spread the wealth to nine different receivers.
The Titans built a 20-0 halftime lead as the Colts committed mistakes. Tennessee's Patrick Bailey batted Pat McAfee's punt high in the air and Jason McCourty recovered in the end zone for a Titans touchdown with 9:52 left in the second quarter. Later in the quarter, Michael Griffin intercepted Painter's pass and the Titans added another TD after a 65-yard march.
Yet another interception resulted in a 38-yard touchdown drive by the Titans in the fourth quarter.
"Obviously, we should not let a punt get blocked," Caldwell said. "It's extremely important that you don't let that happen. You couple that with the fact you give them a couple more scores because of turnovers and good field position, that adds to a little difficulty."
The Colts made some offensive fixes and scored 10 second-half points. Adam Vinatieri hit a 22-yard field goal on the Colts' first possession of the third quarter. To get Vinatieri in position, Painter completed important passes to Reggie Wayne for eight yards and Austin Collie for 21. The march was sustained by nice running from Delone Carter, who averaged 5.1 yards on nine attempts in the game.
On their next possession, the Colts marched 80 yards in 11 plays for their lone touchdown. Painter completed 5-of-6 passes for 71 yards. Donald Brown scored from the 4-yard line.
But after the Titans went up 27-10, two late drives by the Colts sputtered in the red zone. The Colts departed empty-handed from Nashville but will have three consecutive games at Lucas Oil Stadium, starting with next Sunday's visit by Atlanta.
"We have a few guys that are banged up," Caldwell said. "We're going to have to take a look at where we are and reshuffle a little bit and keep forging ahead."
FIRST QUARTER (7:01 remaining)
Rob Bironas hit a 51-yard field goal to get the Titans on the scoreboard first. Tennessee quarterback Matt Hasselbeck twice completed third-down passes that kept the drive going. The big play was a 27-yard completion to Damian Williams. Titans 3, Colts 0
SECOND QUARTER (9:52 remaining)
Tennessee's Patrick Bailey blocked Pat McAfee's punt in the end zone and Jason McCourty recovered for a touchdown. The Colts' possession, which opened at their own 16-yard line, began with a pair of penalties -- their sixth and seventh of the game. Bironas added the extra point. Titans 10, Colts 0
SECOND QUARTER (2:31 remaining)
Bironas connected on a 50-yard field goal to extend Tennessee's lead. The big play on the 54-yard drive was a 26-yard completion from Hasselbeck to Williams, followed by an unnecessary roughness penalty on the tackle of Williams. Titans 13, Colts 0
SECOND QUARTER (22 seconds remaining)
After Michael Griffin intercepted a Painter pass, the Titans went back to work. Hasselbeck completed important passes to Jared Cook (for 32 yards) and Javon Ringer (11 and nine yards) before Nate Washington took a lateral for the three-yard touchdown. It marked the fourth consecutive game that the Colts gave up a score in the final two minutes of the first half. Bironas added the extra point. Titans 20, Colts 0
THIRD QUARTER (7:41 remaining)
The Colts gained decent field position for the first time in the game, starting at their own 38-yard line, and capitalized. Painter hit big passes to Reggie Wayne for eight yards and Austin Collie for 21. The march continued with some nice running by Delone Carter. When it stalled at the 4-yard line, Adam Vinatieri connected on a 22-yard field goal. Titans 20, Colts 3
FOURTH QUARTER (13:29 remaining)
The Colts put together a beautiful drive, going 80 yards in 11 plays. Painter completed 5-of-6 passes for 71 yards. Donald Brown scored the touchdown from the 4-yard line. Vinatieri booted the extra point. Titans 20, Colts 10
FOURTH QUARTER (5:20 remaining)
The Titans added to their lead after a Painter pass was batted in the air and intercepted by Barrett Ruud. Tennessee took over at Indy's 38-yard line and scored in seven plays. The touchdown was a 14-yard pass from Hasselbeck to Washington. Bironas added the extra point.Titans 27, Colts 10