INDIANAPOLIS — It was Week 7 last season — in Nashville, no less — that the Indianapolis Colts were able to show off a huge reason why they have been so successful the past few seasons against the Tennessee Titans.
That major reason, of course, is because Indy has had No. 12 under center.
The frustrated Colts had given up an 11-point lead to the host Titans, who needed just one defensive stand to finally halt a 10-game losing streak to their AFC South Division rivals. Instead, that No. 12 guy, quarterback Andrew Luck, marched the troops 70 yards down the field and, with two minutes left, found tight end Jack Doyle for a game-winning touchdown in Indianapolis' eventual 34-26 victory.
And, just for good measure, Luck and the Colts did it again about a month later, this time at Lucas Oil Stadium. Facing a 3rd and 5 from his own 24-yard line with just more than two minutes left, Luck was flushed out of the pocket to his right. With a couple of Titans defenders bearing down on him, he launched a pass downfield to his No. 1 receiver, T.Y. Hilton — who had found a small opening between two defenders — at the 30-yard line.
The play, which resulted in a first down, allowed the offense to milk the rest of the game clock and preserve a 24-17 victory.
For those keeping track, it was the 11th straight Colts victory over the Titans.
For Tennessee tight end Delanie Walker, the bit is getting old. In a recent appearance on the NFL Network's Good Morning Football, he was asked if his team was aware of just how bad their issues against the Colts, and Luck, have gotten.
"We are aware of it," Walker said. "That's something we've got to change."
It's not like Luck has saved the very best football of his career each time he plays the Titans. Although he's been solid — completing 181-of-294 passes (about 62 percent) for 2,353 yards with 15 touchdowns to eight interceptions in nine career games against Tennessee — it's those little plays he's able to make in high-pressure situations against the Titans, such as the 3rd and 5 pass to Hilton, that have been the difference between wins (nine) and losses (zero).
"It seems like no matter what we dial up or what we put together, no matter how close we keep the game, we just can't find a way to close it out," Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey said of their games against the Colts last year to The Tennesseean. "And I think that's the part that sucks. It's not like we're just out there getting blown out by these guys. We're too close in these games not to be able to come out with at least one of these games with a win."
The point? The Colts should be well aware that the Titans have done a pretty good job improving their roster the past couple offseasons in particular, and while Tennessee ended up being ousted by the Houston Texans last season and missing the playoffs despite putting together a nine-win campaign, their real roadblock each year wears speed blue and white.
For Walker — who has found himself in the middle of plenty of scuffles with the Colts in recent seasons — "the biggest thing," he said, is, "we've got to beat Luck."
"As you said, 'Luck, Luck, Luck,'" Walker told Good Morning Football host Kyle Brandt. "We've got to beat 'em. And it's going to start with us playing great football when it comes down to playing the Colts."
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