Indianapolis 24, Tennessee 17
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, November 20, 2016
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts certainly needed every bit of their impressive start Sunday afternoon in Lucas Oil Stadium.
Indianapolis scored touchdowns on each of its first three possessions, including two Andrew Luck scoring passes, and the Colts held on to defeat the Tennessee Titans 24-17.
After three precise drives to begin the game, Indianapolis' final eight possessions included a missed field goal attempt, an interception, three punts and a made field goal at the end of the first half and the end of the game.
"The start was great, but we need to learn to sustain that start," said Luck, who completed 12 of 16 first-half passes for 186 yards with two TDs, no interceptions and no sacks. In the second half, he was 3 of 12 for 76 yards, no touchdowns, an interception and two sacks.
Despite Sunday's inconsistency, with a Nov. 6 victory at Green Bay -- the Colts' bye was Nov. 13 -- it marks the first time this season that Indianapolis (5-5) has won consecutive games. Tennessee (5-6) had won four of six before losing to the Colts for the second time this season.
Luck finished 15 of 28 for 262 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Indianapolis drove 64, 75 and 80 yards for touchdowns the first three times it had the ball, building a 21-0 lead with 10:35 left in the second quarter on Luck's 2-yard scoring pass to T.Y. Hilton. That drive included a 50-yard completion to Phillip Dorsett to the Titans' 11-yard line.
"We have to put teams away," Luck said. "Teams in this league are too good not to be able to do that. Today, the defense really helped us. We have feed off each other.
"Winning is especially nice going into a short week. It's going to be cool playing on Thanksgiving night (against the Pittsburgh Steelers)."
Luck's 2-yard touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief with 2:32 left in the first quarter had given Indianapolis a 14-0 lead. That score was set up by Luck's 49-yard completion to Frank Gore to the Tennessee 5.
"I love the way we started, and then our defense was outstanding," Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano said. "But we knew it would take all 60 minutes. We did hold DeMarco Murray in check (21 carries for 70 yards). However, we hit a lull offensively, and there wasn't a whole lot of energy after the start.
"There were plays to be made that we didn't make. We needed to find a way to make a play in the second half. I feel fortunate. It's huge for us to win two in a row. We have to find a way to keep the momentum rolling into Thursday's game against Pittsburgh."
The Titans pulled within 21-7 on Marcus Mariota's 3-yard touchdown pass to Murray with 20 seconds to go in the second quarter. Tennessee drove 68 yards in 12 plays to get on the scoreboard.
Mariota's 34-yard touchdown pass to Tajae Sharpe with 6:35 remaining in the third quarter capped a nine-play, 98-yard drive and cut the Colts' lead to 21-14.
Tennessee closed the gap to 21-17 with 12:14 left in the fourth quarter on Ryan Succop's 47-yard field goal. That Titans' scoring drive began at the Tennessee 6.
Mariota completed 25 of 38 passes for 290 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Mariota is encouraged by the way the Titans are playing after a 1-3 start that included two home losses.
"We're in the thick of things (in the AFC South)," Mariota said. "We just have to find a way to put a few of these together. If we want to be where we want to be, we have to step up and make plays in certain situations.
"If we want to be the team that we can be, slow starts like that can't happen."
Indianapolis extended its lead to 24-17 with 10:50 to play on Adam Vinatieri's 49-yard field goal. Luck's 50-yard completion to Hilton gave the Colts a first down at the Titans' 25.
Titans coach Mike Mularkey said Tennessee's slow start was the difference in the game.
"We did not play well the first few series on either side of the ball," Mularkey said. "But no one panicked. We know we can come from behind against anybody. Then we started to come back in the second half and had a chance. Penalties killed us on some of the drives.
"We have to learn to get over the hump and win games on the road that we have a chance to win."
The Titans were penalized 11 times for 109 yards. The Colts were penalized eight times for 70 yards.
NOTES: The Colts honored the 2006 Super Bowl champions during a halftime ceremony that included MVP QB Peyton Manning and WR Reggie Wayne. ... Colts PK Adam Vinatieri's streak of 44 consecutive made field goals ended with 2:13 remaining in the second quarter when he pushed a 42-yard attempt wide right. It was his first miss since Sept. 21, 2015. ... The Titans were penalized six times for 68 yards during the first 30 minutes. ... Indianapolis RB Frank Gore had 106 yards of first-half offense, including 71 receiving yards ... The Colts now lead the series 31-13, including a 34-26 victory on Oct. 23 in Nashville, Tenn.
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Team Stats Summary
Indianapolis will play their next game at home against Pittsburgh. The Colts have a W/L % of .200 after a win and .800 after a loss.
Tennessee will play their next game on the road against Chicago. The Titans have a W/L % of .167 after a win and .800 after a loss.