NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans (7-6) begin a three-game stretch against teams from the AFC South this week, as they travel to take on the Indianapolis Colts (0-13). Kickoff at Lucas Oil Stadium (capacity 63,000) is scheduled for noon CST on Sunday, Dec. 18.
This will be the second of two yearly meetings between the Titans and Colts. In the first matchup at LP Field on Oct. 30, the Titans turned a pair of interceptions into two touchdowns by Nate Washington en route to a 27-10 victory. Tennessee's other touchdown came after Patrick Bailey blocked a Colts punt and Jason McCourty recovered the ball in the end zone.
Despite their loss last week against the New Orleans Saints, the Titans remain in the playoff chase with three games remaining on the schedule. The Houston Texans clinched the AFC South Championship with their win last week at Cincinnati, but the Titans are still alive in the Wild Card hunt. Aside from the Texans, the AFC's current division leaders include the New England Patriots (10-3) in the East, the Baltimore Ravens (10-3) in the North and the Denver Broncos (8-5) in the West. Among the Wild Card hopefuls are the Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3), New York Jets (8-5), Bengals (7-6) and Oakland Raiders (7-6). Four division winners and two Wild Card teams advance from each conference.
This week's game will be televised regionally on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF NewsChannel 5. Ian Eagle will handle play-by-play duties, while Dan Fouts provides analysis.
The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will broadcast the game across the Mid-South with the "Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith, analyst Frank Wycheck, sideline reporter Cody Allison and gameday host Larry Stone.
The Titans nearly pulled off a dramatic comeback last week, but the Saints held on for a 22-17 victory at LP Field. After starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck left the contest early in the second quarter with a calf injury, Jake Locker was forced into action and responded with one of the biggest days in franchise history by a rookie quarterback. Locker totaled 282 passing yards—the second-highest rookie total in franchise annals behind Jacky Lee's 331 yards in 1960 (Nov. 25 at Boston). In the second half, he scored his first career rushing touchdown and added a 40-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington. However, on the final play of the game, he was sacked inside the New Orleans 10-yard line as time expired.
Washington led the team with six receptions for a career-high 130 yards. He also reached a new personal benchmark with 798 receiving yards on the season.
On the other sideline, quarterback Drew Brees passed for 337 yards and a pair of second-half touchdowns to wide receiver Marques Colston.
Meanwhile, the Colts enter Week 15 still looking for their first win in 2011. They traveled last week to Baltimore, where they fell by a final score of 24-10.
Head coach Jim Caldwell's squad was dealt a significant blow prior to the season when it was learned quarterback Peyton Manning would be out indefinitely with a neck injury. He has been inactive in all 13 of the Colts' games this season.
In Manning's absence, the Colts have used three different starting quarterbacks—Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter and most recently Dan Orlovsky. Orlovsky, in his seventh NFL season out of Connecticut, has started each of the last two contests, totaling 489 passing yards and three touchdowns in those games.