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Five Things Learned

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5 Things Learned, Colts vs. Titans Week 7

The Colts lost to the Tennessee Titans, 19-10, on Sunday to fall to 3-3-1 on the season. 

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1. Turnovers led to another two-score deficit at halftime.

Scores at halftime of the Colts' seven games this season:

  • Week 1: 10-3 Texans
  • Week 2: 17-0 Jaguars
  • Week 3: 14-10 Chiefs
  • Week 4: 24-10 Titans
  • Week 5: 6-3 Broncos
  • Week 6: 14-13 Jaguars
  • Week 7: 13-0 Titans

"I feel like every game we've played we've been down at halftime," running back Nyheim Hines said.

It may not be a coincidence, then, that in the Colts' three wins, they've been losing by an average of 2.7 points at halftime; in their three losses, they've been losing by an average of 14.7 points after two quarters.

"You just never feel like you can get out of the water," wide receiver Parris Campbell said. "It just feels like you're almost drowning when you're playing catchup the whole game. I felt like there were times in this game where we were rolling, we were putting together long drives, then it would just be a self-inflicted wound. As an offense we just gotta get better."

The Colts had two self-inflicted wounds in the first half on Sunday, with Matt Ryan throwing a pick-six and another interception on consecutive possessions in Titans territory in the second quarter. Those two plays not only resulted in 10 Titans points, but took away opportunities for the Colts to take the lead and/or narrow the halftime deficit in Tennessee territory.

"Offensively, we have to be better," Hines said. "We let the defense down — defense played great today and we played well enough to win except for the turnover category and executing at the end. We just gotta be better."

2. The Colts had a planned rotation at running back.

Jonathan Taylor returned after missing two weeks with an ankle injury to carry 10 times for 58 yards, and he caught seven passes for 27 yards. The snap count breakdown:

  • Taylor: 35 snaps
  • Hines: 24 snaps
  • Deon Jackson: 5 snaps

"Him being out the last number of days and the inactivity was a little bit of it," head coach Frank Reich said of the rotation at running back. "We're on the road. It's not hot, but it was a little bit warmer. We had talked about it all week as a staff. It wasn't going to be a lot of rotation. It was just going to be a little bit of rotation. We think that's normal. We're going to get Nyheim on a series. We're going to get Deon on a series. That was part of the plan. We just need to be more productive in the first half to get more first downs, more opportunities. I think it would have taken care of itself."

3. The Colts' defense was efficient in limiting Tennessee's offense.

The Titans entered Week 7 with the best red zone offense in the NFL, converting over 90 percent of their trips inside the 20 into touchdowns. Tennessee entered the red zone twice on Sunday but the Colts' defense stonewalled them both times, forcing a couple of chip shot field goals by kicker Randy Bullock.

"That was a prideful moment for us, but obviously didn't get the win," linebacker Bobby Okereke said. "Not the result we wanted."

The Colts held Tennessee to 4.5 yards per play, and Okereke recovered a fumble on a botched jet sweep handoff to quarterback Malik Willis. The Titans also converted just five of 12 third downs (42 percent), and their rushing attack was limited to 3.9 yards per carry.

While Derrick Henry had 128 yards, he needed 30 carries to get there, and only had three explosive runs of 10 or more yards.

"For the most part, we kind of limited him," linebacker Zaire Franklin said. "With Henry, most of the time he's busting those 80-yard, 90-yard runs, but we made him earn every yard out there."

But for the Colts' defense, limiting the Titans offense to three field goals and largely muting their effectiveness was overshadowed by the result.

"We stepped up against a great running team," defensive end Yannick Ngakoue said. "But at the end of the day, there's no moral victories. We would like that win more so than not giving up a touchdown."

The Colts take on the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium.

4. Parris Campbell came up big for the second straight week.

With 10 catches (a career high) and 70 yards on Sunday, Campbell now has 17 catches on 23 targets for 127 yards with two touchdowns in his last two games.

For Campbell, his ascent to becoming a trusted target in the Colts' passing offense has been a bright spot – but he wasn't interested in focusing on personal accomplishments after Sunday's loss.

"Man, any day of the week I'd rather have a win," Campbell said. "I mean, obviously I want to do everything I can to help this team in a positive way, but if it's going to end up in a loss — I'd rather have the W."

The Indianapolis Colts have arrived at Nissan Stadium for their Week 7 matchup versus the Tennessee Titans.

5. Other snap count notes.

A few things to wrap up Week 7:

  • Campbell (63/64 snaps) and Michael Pittman Jr. (64/64 snaps) played their usual heavy workloads, but so did rookie wide receiver Alec Pierce, who played a season-high 62 snaps on Sunday. Pierce has seen his snap share increase in each of the last three weeks all the way up to playing 97 percent of the Colts' offensive snaps in Week 7.
  • Rookie safety Rodney Thomas II started the game and played the entire first half before veteran Julian Blackmon tagged in for him in the second half. Thomas and Blackmon rotated at free safety in the fourth quarter; Thomas finished with 38 snaps to Blackmon's 21.
  • The Colts rotated cornerbacks Isaiah Rodgers Sr. (22 snaps) and Brandon Facyson (14 snaps) as well.
  • Defensive tackle Grover Stewart played a season high 75 percent of the defensive snaps and finished with a remarkable 12 tackles, easily a career high.

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