NASHVILLE – The Titans found a way on Sunday.
Playing without five starters on defense, and on a day when starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill returned to action, the Titans beat the Broncos 17-10 at Nissan Stadium.
The defense was relentless all day, and the offense made enough plays to win it.
"It definitely makes me proud," Titans safety Kevin Byard said. "I say it all the time: Guys get an opportunity to go out there and ball out when other guys are down. It's the way this league goes: When one guy goes down, 'Are you going to take advantage of your opportunity? Or, 'Are you going to let it slip away?"
The Titans didn't let it slip away.
The defense produced six sacks and 18 quarterback hits while shutting out the Broncos in the second half.
Tannehill, meanwhile, completed 19-of-36 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns – both to receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine.
It all added up to another win, as the Titans improved to 6-3.
"For us to go out there and keep battling in all three phases, it is absolutely huge," Titans HC Mike Vrabel said. "I thought (the guys) never quit, and they tried to pick each other up and support each other. When the offense needed a play, the defense was able to come and help. And when we gave up a touchdown on defense, we needed a drive offensively, we needed a big play (our offense came through). And I thought our special teams kept us in there.
"Guys took advantage of their opportunities. … They battled."
It was ugly early.
The Broncos took a 7-0 lead on a 66-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Russell Wilson to receiver Jalen Virgil.
The Broncos extended their lead to 10-0 on a 39-yard field goal by kicker Brandon McManus.
But the Titans got off the mat.
The Titans put together a beautiful scoring drive at the end of the first half, and capped off the 13-play, 75-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine with 12 seconds left before halftime, which made it 10-7 at the break.
The Titans then took a 14-10 lead on a beautifully executed flea-flicker that ended with Westbrook-Ikhine being on the receiving end of a 63-yard touchdown toss from Tannehill, who took a pitch back from Derrick Henry.
"I've felt better in my life," said Tannehill, who missed the past two games with an ankle injury, "but the win tastes good, I'll tell you that much. … Things were ugly early, but guys hung with me and kept battling and we found a way to start making some plays."
The Titans made it 17-10 with 2:59 left on a 35-yard field goal by kicker Randy Bullock, and the team then held on down the stretch.
Cornerback Terrance Mitchell intercepted Wilson with 11 seconds left to seal the win on a day when DeMarcus Walker (1.5), Rashad Weaver (1.5), Mario Edwards (1), Naquan Jones (1) and Dylan Cole (1) all tallied sacks.
The Titans were without five starters on defense – DL Jeffery Simmons, OLB Bud Dupree, ILB Zach Cunningham, CB Kristian Fulton and safety Amani Hooker.
"Next man up," Walker said. "We just had to continue fighting, and the guys on the field had to make the plays they had to make."
The Titans return to action on Thursday night at the Green Bay Packers.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Denver Broncos in Week 10 at Nissan Stadium.