INDIANAPOLIS — Titans running back Derrick Henry rushed for over 100 yards and three touchdowns in the first half leading Tennessee to a 45-26 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
“Obviously, tough loss, came in here feeling confident, feeling prepared, and was just a very poor effort – got outplayed, got outcoached, really in all three phases, so not good enough,” said head coach Frank Reich. “We have to learn from it – a loss is a loss.”
The loss is a staggering blow to the Colts’ campaign in the AFC South as it has allowed the Titans to take sole possession of first place in the division as well as an edge over the Colts on the hunt for the NFL Playoffs.
The Colts were able to keep pace with the Titans in the early going with quarterback Philip Rivers leading two score drives to leave tied 14-14 midway through the second quarter.
With the Colts defense missing key players on the defensive line (Denico Autry and DeForest Buckner) because of COVID troubles, the Titans took advantage as their ferocious rushing attack opened up stellar passing options for Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He engineered more scoring efforts to make it a 35-14 Tennessee lead by halftime.
Henry would finish the day with 178 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Penalties and turnovers would cost the Colts in the second half as Rivers was unable to hit his receivers who were mostly shut down by the Titans secondary.
Rivers would finish the day with 295 yards passing along with two touchdowns and an interception. Back-up quarterback Jacoby Brissett added two rushing touchdowns and running back Nyheim Hines carried the load out of the backfield in the absence of Jonathan Taylor.
“I think they did ramp up the pressure and pressured a heck of a lot more than in the first outing,” said Rivers. “Was it in correspondence to injuries upfront? I don’t know. I thought the guys up front fought their tail off.”
Hines had only 10 carries for 29 yards but added eight receptions for 66 yards.
The Colts fall to 7-4 and are in the last Wild Card spot in the playoff hunt behind the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins.
Indianapolis can try and keep pace with Tennessee next week if they are able to beat the Houston Texans on the road.