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Six Things That Stood Out

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Six Things That Stood Out for the Titans in Sunday's Overtime Loss to the Colts


NASHVILLE – The Titans lost 31-28 to the Colts in overtime on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

Here's a look at six things that stood out from the contest:

Gritty Levis

Titans quarterback Will Levis called it his worst game as a starter. While his numbers – 16-of-33 with 224 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions, with a rating of 80.9 – were nothing to be ashamed of, Levis felt like he missed way too many opportunities. Plus, there was a long stretch when the offense went stagnant, and it came back to bite the team in the end. "I have to attribute the stagnant drives to my play," Levis said. "Have to be better." Levis showed some grit in the process. He sacrificed his body – he got helicoptered in the air on a violent hit on one run for a first down – and he rushed to the scene in an effort to force a fumble after what was ruled a fumble of his own. "He competes his ass off," Coach Mike Vrabel said of Levis. Added receiver DeAndre Hopkins: "I love (his toughness). I respect it, him going out and giving up his body to get a first down. I want to tell him to go out and be safe, so he can have a long career, but you have to love the way he plays."

Costly Injuries

The Titans lost three key players – running back Derrick Henry (concussion), defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons (knee), punter Ryan Stonehouse (knee) – to injuries during the course of the game. None of the three players returned to the contest, which also saw tight end Josh Whyle leave with an injury. These injuries will be worth monitoring moving forward, "We talked all week about how it was going to be a street fight," linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair said. "And when you have a street fight, some people go down. Obviously, it sucks, but those are some of our leaders on this team, and they mean so much to what we try to do as a team. But I think from top to bottom, everybody picked up their weight, and kept going, kept fighting until the very end."

Special Teams Mishaps

The Titans lost Stonehouse to injury when a Colts rusher came free, and disrupted one of his punts. It was ruled a fumble, and the Colts cashed it in for a field goal. Earlier, the Colts busted loose to block a punt that was returned for a touchdown. Those two plays proved costly in more ways than one – the Colts got critical points off the mishaps, and when Stonehouse, who is also the team's holder, wasn't available to hold on a late extra point, Nick Folk's PAT was missed, and it kept the Titans from taking a late 26-25 lead. "We have to be better," Vrabel said. "It starts with me, making sure that everything that we do is sound, and there's a level of execution. And then obviously be able to identify whether we've got scheme issues, or we have to move some guys around, or make some minor adjustments. And that's the case in all three phases. … It all, it starts with me. Again, when we lose, you can put it on me. Obviously, that's not good enough. We know we have to be able to protect our punters, our kickers, our quarterbacks. You lose games by having those things happen."

Up and Down Defense

The defense gave up too many explosive plays, including the 55-yard completion from Gardner Minshew to Alec Pierce in the closing minutes. It set up a touchdown pass from Minshew to Michael Pittman to win it. "Being in this league and being a competitive guy, and now being in Year 5, understanding that these guys get paid too and they make plays," said cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, who was in coverage on the late deep ball. "Ultimately, if I make that play, we win games like that, so that's what I have to do moving forward. I don't want to put my guys in position where they are on the (four-yard) line, that's on me." Earlier, the Titans gave up a 36-yard touchdown pass from Minshew to Pierce, and the Colts got a 46-yard catch from tight end Kylen Granson as well. The plays allowed ended up overshadowing some gutsy play from the defense in the red zone, as they held the Colts to 1-of-5 (20 percent).

Nick Folk's Day

Titans kicker Nick Folk was a bigger part of Sunday's game than usual. With Stonehouse's injury, Folk had to punt for the first time since his days in college at Arizona. He punted twice for a 40.5-yard average, with a 39.0-yard net. Folk made what might've been the game-winner in overtime, a 46-yarder, before Indianapolis scored late. But Folk also misfired on an extra point, with quarterback Ryan Tannehill holding instead of the injured Stonehouse. "I could go into a lot of detail about this," Folk said of the missed PAT. "I just have to put it in, that's the bottom line. I have to make it." Overall, it was a crazy day for Folk, a 16-year veteran. "I talked to Ryan (Stonehouse), and (I'm) bummed for him – he's having a killer year," Folk said. "He's a great young punter. He'll come back stronger from it. … He'll be back – when I don't know when – but I know he'll be back at 100 percent here quick."

A Tough Loss

The Titans dropped to 4-8 with the loss, and this one hurt more than others. It was evident in the faces, and the mood, of disappointed players after the game. Some guys seemed emotionally and physically exhausted after the game, after putting so much into it. The loss was a killer to hopes of a late-season playoff push. Next up is a big challenge, at Miami, on Monday Night Football. "You can't look at the big picture," Al-Shaair said. "A lot of it is week-to-week. If you try to look too far ahead, it looks like this huge mountain that you have to climb. Nobody knows the future, everything is just a prediction until you go out and do it. I think we can control a lot more than we think, but we have to just take it one day at a time."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 13 at Nissan Stadium.

The Tennessee Titans arrive at Nissan Stadium for their Week 13 Game against the Indianapolis Colts.

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