NFL

Final Three Minutes Dooms Titans

Photo by: AP / Mark Zaleski

Andrew Luck completed 27-of-39 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns as his Indianapolis Colts defeated the Tennessee Titans 34-26 in front of 65,470 people at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. The Colts improved to 3-4 and the Titans dropped to 3-4, ending their two game win streak and have lost their 10th straight game to their AFC South division rivals.

“Because the first 57 (minutes), we played a good football game,” said Titans Head Coach Mike Mularkey. “That’s why. And we’ve played well, if you’ve been watching. If you know anything about it, we’ve played well in spurts.”

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In the final three minutes, the Colts scored fourteen points, including a strip-sack of Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. T.Y. McGill sacked Mariota, stripped the ball and Robert Mathis picked it up and ran 14 yards for the game clinching touchdown. The Titans kicked a field goal to make it 34-26 in the dying seconds. However, Titans kicker Ryan Succop’s onside kick attempt went out of bounds and Luck was able to run out the clock on the Colts’s final possession.

“I was trying to step up in the pocket and make a throw to the left,” Mariota said in his post game press conference. “You know, they moved from the pressure, probably could have moved away from it.  It was one of those things that was kind of perfect timing for him. I was separating my hands to throw the football.  He just kind of poked at it and ended up knocking it out.”

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Mariota finished up 22-of-37 with 232 yards, two touchdowns and the aforementioned fumble. He also ran for 14 yards.

“Unfortunately, including myself, just missed on those opportunities,” Mariota responded when asked about the implications of losing to the Colts. “Like I said, I wouldn’t trade that situation with anybody.  I believe in those guys in the locker room.  Sometimes you come up short.  You’ve got to battle your way back.  We have short week this week, flush it quick and move on.”

Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri converted his 43rd consecutive field goal during the game, setting an NFL record for consecutive field goals made.

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“You know, there’s a lot of good kickers out there that have played a lot of games and obviously Mike Vanderjagt held the record and I can’t say enough about him – one of the most accurate kickers of all-time,” said Vinatieri. “So, you know, Gary Anderson was the other one that was right there too. I have huge admiration and respect for those guys and everybody else too. I never really think about and concern myself with personal goals and personal records and stuff. For me, I’m happy that we won the game and that this is a little bit to go along with it. I’m sure I’ll sit back some day down the road and enjoy it but just very excited that we got a win today.”

Also, there was a Big Man Touchdown in Nashville! Offensive tackle Taylor Lewan caught a short dump off pass by Mariota and ran ten yards for a touchdown. According to Pro Football Focus, it is the first time an offensive lineman has caught a touchdown pass for the Tennessee Titans.

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The Tennessee Titans will not have time to dwell on this loss. Thursday, they will welcome the Jacksonville Jaguars to Nissan Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30PM EDT (7:30PM CDT).

Photos used in this article are by James Kenney and Mark Zaleski of the Associated Press.

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