Offense Comes to Life vs. Colts

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans were grabbing momentum, but the Colts held onto the lead.

The Titans' offense started slowly but surged after falling 21 points behind the Colts with 2:25 left in the first half. Tennessee held Indianapolis to three field goals in the second half and scored three touchdowns, but its comeback ran out of clock.

Tennessee lost its sixth straight and third in a row at home Thursday night, falling 30-28 after scoring a touchdown and extra point as time expired at LP Field.

"I am just disappointed for the guys, because I thought effort has not been the issue with them and I thought they put forth a winning effort, deserved to win, but just didn't find a way to do it," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.

Running back Chris Johnson had 111 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries and caught a team-high eight passes for 68 yards. Tight end Bo Scaife caught four passes, including two touchdowns, and tight end Craig Stevens caught a 7-yard touchdown from quarterback Kerry Collins.

"I'm proud of my team and I'm proud of my teammates," Scaife said. "We hung in there and we fought against a good team. We hadn't been playing well the last couple of weeks so I think we came out and even though we got down early, we bounced back and played well. In this league, the only thing that matters is wins."

Collins went 28-for-39 for 244 yards and three touchdown passes for a passer rating of 113.6. It was the first time the Titans (5-8) had started the same quarterback in consecutive weeks since Oct. 10 and Oct. 18.

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning stopped a recent flurry of interceptions (11 in his previous three games), completed 25 of 35 passes for 319 yards and two touchdowns, helping Indianapolis (7-6) snap its three-game losing streak.

"I think he did a nice job just managing the game altogether," Colts coach Jim Caldwell said. "Peyton is Peyton, I'm sure he felt good about his performance, and certainly we did as well."

Goal-line penalties give Colts extra chances

The Titans were twice penalized on third-and-goal plays that initially appeared to be incompletions. The flags gave Indianapolis fresh sets of downs on its first two trips inside the 10-yard-line.

On third-and-goal from the eight, officials flagged Titans safety Michael Griffin for pass interference in the end zone. Fisher protested the call to no avail, and Indianapolis received the ball at the one-yard-line. Javarris James plunged into the end zone from that distance three plays later for a 7-0 lead.

The Colts moved the ball down the field on their next possession, too, with a 50-yard completion from Manning to Reggie Wayne on third down. Tennessee appeared to have stopped Indianapolis on third-and-goal from the 5, but officials called holding on safety Chris Hope, giving the Colts a fresh set of downs from the two-yard-line. Manning hit Garcon on quick slant for the touchdown two plays later.

Griffin said officials told him that he "hooked" Pierre Garcon as both were tracking the pass by Manning. He also was uncertain about the call that went against Hope and wanted to go back on the field for one more quarter.

Britt returns to lineup

Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt returned to the Titans' lineup for the first time since Oct. 31 and brought some spunk to the offense. The second-year pro was targeted eight times by Collins and caught four passes for 39 yards.

Britt injured his hamstring early against San Diego, and Tennessee has not won since he left the game. While Britt brought energy, his aggressiveness on one play led to a costly fumble.

Britt was fighting through a tackle, trying to turn a short loss into a gain when the ball came lose. It halted the Titans' first significant drive and gave the Colts the ball at their own 41, from where Indianapolis engineered a 10-play drive by converting the 50-yard pass to Wayne and benefitting from the holding penalty against Hope for a 14-0 lead.

"I thought he did well. He played hard. He made a couple of plays," Collins said. "The fumble was unfortunate, but the guy's fighting for yards. It was an effort thing."

Second fumble charged on rare punt play

Tennessee was forced to punt from its 44 with 2:42 remaining in the first half. Long snapper Ken Amato sent the ball over Brett Kern's head, and Indianapolis recovered the ball at the Tennessee 19 for a fumble charged to the Titans.

"I have been doing these a long time, I can't remember having a punt (snap) sail over my punter," Fisher said. "And you know, I don't think I ever remember seeing that. And certainly that contributed to us falling behind."

Manning hit Garcon for a 19-yard touchdown to put the Colts up 21-0 two plays later with 2:33 left in the first half.

TD-interception ratio important in rivalry

Manning improved to 12-5 against the Titans and 10-1 when his number of touchdown passes exceeds his number of interceptions. He is 0-2 when throwing more interceptions than touchdowns and 2-2 when the number of touchdowns and interceptions are equal.

He had thrown four interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns, against Dallas Sunday. Manning said he hadn't paid attention to the buzz about his recent interceptions.

"I don't want to offend anybody, but I don't read your column or anybody," Manning said. "I really don't. … (Brother) Eli taught me about five years ago, that I don't read the good and I don't read the bad. … People always say, 'Hang in there.' I went, 'I never was out there, wherever there is.' I have always been in 'there.' I will always be in 'there.' Wherever 'there' is, I have never left."

Offensive touchdown streak ends

Tennessee snapped its franchise-record streak of 14 quarters in the final minute of the second quarter. The Titans capitalized on a facemask penalty during a kickoff return by Marc Mariani. They started the drive at their own 45—their best starting field position in the first half—and mixed runs by Johnson and passes of 21 yards from Collins to Washington on a third-down-and-6 and 25 yards from Collins to Johnson. The running back found the end zone two plays later, after picking up blocks from left tackle Michael Roos and fullback Ahmard Hall.

Continue to battle

Hall said, although the best the Titans can finish is 8-8, they will keep churning in the final three weeks of the season.

"We have no quit in us. We were criticized for being quitters last week (after losing 17-6 to Jacksonville)," Hall said. "Guys don't quit. We're professional athletes. We get paid to do a job, and then you don't want to quit on a guy like Coach Fisher. He's a great guy, a player's coach. He treats us well. You definitely don't want to quit on him. We got the running game started. We can try to hang our hats on that and try to get a win and use that formula to get a win next week against the (Houston) Texans."

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