Titans overcome Ryan Tannehill scare, complete sweep of Colts
The Tennessee Titans overcame a scare after quarterback Ryan Tannehill left the game with an injury, scored for the first time in the fourth quarter and held on for a critical AFC South win Sunday over the Indianapolis Colts at Nissan Stadium.
Tannehill was able to return after injuring his ankle in the fourth quarter and led the Titans to the 19-10 win over the Colts for the second time in 21 days.
The Titans (4-2), who have been outscored 81-20 in the second half this season, kicked a 38-yard field goal with 13:47 left to take a 16-7 lead.
That field goal by Randy Bullock came on the play after Tannehill was hurt.
After leaving the field on his own power, Tannehill spent about 10 minutes in the medical tent. He came out still limping and was able to return to the field on the Titans’ next possession.
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Tannehill hit tight end Austin Hooper with a 19-yard pass that set up another field goal for Bullock, this one from 48 yards.
The Titans secured the win when Amani Hooker recovered a fumble by Michael Pittman Jr. at the Tennessee 43 with 3:22 remaining.
Tannehill finished 13-of-20 for 132 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
Derrick Henry rushed for a season-high 128 yards on 30 carries.
It was the Titans’ fourth consecutive win over the Colts (3-3-1).
New Colts offense, no problem for the Titans
The Titans were far from intimidated by the new offense the Colts put into place since the last time the two teams played just 21 days earlier.
Since losing to the Titans 24-17 on Oct. 2, the Colts started leaning more heavily on the passing game and went to a no-huddle, up-tempo attack.
The offense, which did usually huddle this game, did not seem to bother the Titans.
The Colts threw passes on their first three plays, seven of their first nine and 11 of their first 17 before Matt Ryan was intercepted by safety Andrew Adams, who returned it 76 yards for a touchdown.
It was the longest interception return for Tennessee since Zach Brown returned one 79 yards for a touchdown in 2012 against Jacksonville. The Titans added Adams to the active roster after signing him off the Pittsburgh Steelers’ practice squad on Sept. 21.
On the Colts’ next possession, Ryan was intercepted by David Long at the Indianapolis 38. It was Long’s second interception in the last two games. He had a game-winning pickoff the goal line against the Washington Commanders.
The Titans kept pressure on Ryan most of the game.
Ryan finished 32-of-43 passing for 234 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He was sacked three times.
Ryan Tannehill breaks Steve McNair’s record
Steve McNair, a three-time Pro Bowler and NFL co-MVP, is regarded by many as one of the Titans’ toughest players in franchise history, but an argument can also now be made for Tannehill.
Tannehill broke McNair’s record for consecutive regular-season starts Sunday. He made his 49th start, which broke the record set by McNair, who played for the Oilers/Titans from 1995-2005.
Tannehill, in his 10th NFL season, began his streak Week 7 of the 2019 season when he replaced Marcus Mariota after a 2-4 start. Tannehill went on to lead the Titans to the AFC Championship Game.
Vrabel undefeated after bye
Mike Vrabel is now 5-0 in regular-season games after bye weeks.
The Titans’ only loss under Vrabel after an off week came when they fell to Cincinnati in the playoffs last season.
The Titans also got healthier during the time off. Hooker (concussion) and linebacker Bud Dupree (hip) both returned from injuries.
They were still without linebackers Zach Cunningham (elbow) and Joe Jones (knee), guard Nate Davis (foot), wide receiver Kyle Philips (hamstring) and fullback Tory Carter (neck).
More than 130 former Oilers/Titans attended the game as part of the franchise’s homecoming.
Eddie George, Chris Johnson and Warren Moon shouted from in a microphone, ‘Who run it,’ before the Titans came out of the tunnel, a phrase the Titans used in a video teaser this season.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell attended the game and accompanied Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk onto the field along with several of the former Titans during pregame festivities.
The former players were recognized on the field at halftime.
Reach Mike Organ on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.