CJ is out. Freeney is active. So Ugoh and Diem are the only tackles on the Colts roster to my knowledge today. Yikes. Hope no one gets hurt. By the way, make sure to check out the article in the Links about the NFL ending revenue sharing.
- Indy opens the game with the ball at the 25 after a return by Simpson. Things get off to a rip-roaring start as Collie tips a ball that Garcon hauls in for 27 yards. On third and 6, Manning hits Frenchy for 36 yards inside the 10. Addai converts it immediately with a spinning TD run for 8 yards. 7-0 Colts in 5 plays and 75 yards. BAM. 1:58. Incredible.
- The Titans first drive is extended after a HORRIBLE spot on third down gives the Titans an undeserved first down. It looked like the official gave Chris Johnson a half yard more than he actually got. It looked like Caldwell should have challenged the spot. The Colts didn’t force another third down until the Titans had driven down to the two yard line. Young threw wildly on third down, and the Titans settle for a field goal as Young limps off the field, 7-3 Colts.
- Hey! It’s a “big” return for Simpson. The Colts start their second drive at the 35, but go three and out as the Titans played the Colts physical. It looked like there was clearly a missed PI call on third down. Ah, Mike Winters. Your crew is just stellar, as usual.
- The Titans help out the Colts by dropping a sure TD pass, and after driving out near midfield, Freeney got home on third down and brought down Young to force a Titans punt. Huge play by 93. The Colts will start at the 23.
- Diem starts the drive with a false start, but Manning shrugs it off by dropping a perfect pass in on Frenchy who makes an incredible catch after absorbing contact. 99 yards receiving already for Garcon. Addai gets horse collared for a 15 yard penalty moving the ball into scoring range at the Titans 33 as the quarter ends. The first quarter was a successful one for the Colts. A TD here would really put pressure on the Titans to match them score for score.
- Manning completes a clutch pass to Clark on third and 12 for a first down near the 20. Again at the 10, he hits Joe for a spinning, diving first down at the 1. Joe plows home for his second score. He has played an incredible game already today. 14-3 Colts.
- The Titans immediately attack as Young hits a big 25 gain to Britt. Say what you will, his deep ball accuracy has been excellent all day. Then Session comes up large forcing a fumble by Hall after a short screen. Foster recovers and Indy starts with the ball at midfield. Another TD would go a long way to changing the way the Titans have to play this game.
- GUTLESS! The Colts can’t pick up the first down on third and two as Clark drops a pass, and Caldwell punts from the Titans 46. Horrible decision.
- Johnson picks up four yards on third and three to help get the Titans across the 20. Young then makes a good throw on the next third and 6 for a first down. After blanketing the Titans WRs, the Colts forced yet another third down. They blitz Young, and Freeney forces him out of the pocket. Lacey jumps the route for a pick and the Colts get the ball at roughly the spot they punt from. It worked out for Caldwell again. I still don’t like it.
- Addai continues his strong running, but Ron Winter’s crew has apparently forgotten how to spot the ball. They short Joe by a few inches, forcing a third and short. Joe doesn’t seem to mind though and pounds the ball down to the 30. Hart and Garcon got the ball inside the five, but Diem and Ugoh false start to move the ball back. Manning pays it no nevermind, however, drilling Collie for a huge TD to go up 21-3. This was a huge score because the Titans have the “two for none” with the last possession of the first half and the first of the second half. The defense needs to stay strong, or this will be a game again real quick.
- Massive fail by the defense. After an initial stop causes the coaching staff to call a very aggressive timeout (hoping to force a punt with time left to score), the Titans rip right through the D as Young fires bullets all over the field, eventually getting a TD with :21 to play to cut the score to 21-10. The Titans start the second half with the ball, and this could be a game before the Colts ever see the ball. I’m all for aggression, but why call that timeout on defense if you aren’t willing to go for fourth and short on offense? I don’t like the mixed messages.
- Maybe I spoke too soon. The Titans squib the punt, and Manning makes them pay. First he hits Garcon all the way down to the Titans 45. Then after an incomplete pass, Kyle DeVan baits Brown of the Titans into an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The 15 yards moves the ball inside the 30. Addai plows down to the 25, setting up a 42 yard field goal try. Stover drills the kick, and Indy leads 24-10 at half time. Incredible. Manning (and DeVan) just cut the heart right out of the Titans. Spectacular drive.
As the game starts to get chippy, the Colts are firmly in control. The game is by no means in the bag, but VY will be under a lot of pressure in the second half. The Colts offense has barely been slowed by the Titans, as Manning has posted a rating of 101 and 176 yards and the run game has been active and effective all day as Addai already has 44 yards rushing. Ironically, the timeout Caldwell called that allowed the Titans to get into the endzone (instead of a field goal), gave Indy the time needed for a field goal. I suppose that’s a net loss of one point. No big deal.
- Fine job by the D. Chris Johnson gets some yards, but when VY is forced to pass, the Colts do an excellent job getting pressure on Young and the Titans have to punt. The Indy offense will be looking to score again, but also drain some clock. We should see a lot of Hart and Simpson before this over.
- The Colts mount a productive, but ultimately frustrating drive. They got inside Titans territory, but a holding call on Reggie Wayne and a blown up screen put the Colts in a 3rd and 25 hold. Manning got much of it back, setting up a 52 yard FG try on 4th and 11 by Stover who yanked the kick. It was a tough position to be in, and now the Titans have great field position.
- Ron Winter’s boys strike again. The Colts looked like they had the Titans stopped, but Jacob Lacey picked up a very weak PI call on third and three to keep the drive alive. The Colts are clearly missing Robert Mathis in the pass rush, as the Titans moved the ball down to the one. Then they imploded. A timeout, a fumbled snap, a holding penalty, and a completed passs out of bounds and the Colts fend off yet another first and goal from the one. In the end, that drive cost the Titans more than 6 minutes of game time and a timeout and they got nothing.
- The Colts take over at the two, and Addai BARELY gets the ball out of the endzone on first down. Manning throws incomplete on second down, setting up third and 11 on the one. On third and long, Manning barely avoids the sack, and hits Wayne near the first down marker. He gets (another) horrible spot however, and Indy will have to punt as the quarter ends. Ultimately, you have to consider the third quarter a ‘win’ for the Colts. The score stands exactly as it did at the end of the first half, and when you have a 14 point lead, that’s a good thing. The Titans will get the ball back in great field position, so the D needs another good stand here.
- The Titans take over at the Colts 40. Holding them to a field goal would be a major accomplishment for the defense. The Colts almost came up with that stop, but sloppy tackling on Kenny Britt on third down gave the Titans the first. Again, the D rises up, however, stopping the Titans with a jail house blitz (that does not come CLOSE to landing) that oddly rattles Young who tosses the ball wildly on fourth down. The Colts take over having wasted 4 more minutes of game time. Incredible performance by the D. This game is perfectly illustrating the good and bad of Vince Young.
- The Colts go on an excellent “play from ahead” drive, as Manning completes key third downs to Addai and two more to Wayne and the Colts methodically kill the Titans dreams of victory. Indy burns more than 7 minutes of game clock, both remaining Titans’ timeouts and put 3 points on the board (making it a three score game). That is how you win playoff games, people. Killing the clock with a lead. Tremendous game for the Colts on all fronts.
- No sooner do I congratulate the team, than Kenny Britt rips off a 55 yard return to give the Titans the faintest of heart beats. Young eventually hits Scaife for the third longest TD against the Colts all year (18 yards). The Colts still manage to force them to use half the remaining clock to do it. All Indy has to do is recover the onside kick and the game is over.
- Nope. Clark muffs the onside kick, the ball squirts loose and the Titans get the ball back. How big was that last field goal by Stover?
- No harm. Four plays, lots of pressure, and Young just flings the ball wildly every time. Great win. Dominant performance.