NASHVILLE – It was a painful ending for the Titans on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.
The Titans lost the game – 31-28 to the Colts in overtime – and they also lost three key players to injuries in the process.
"I asked the guys to fight at the beginning of the week, and that's exactly what they did – they fought," Coach Mike Vrabel said afterward. "It's unfortunate that (the Colts) made one more play than we did.
"But I'm proud of the football team, the way we fought. We lost. We didn't give in, it's just unfortunate we didn't win."
After kicker Nick Folk made a 46-yard field goal with 4:19 left in overtime to give the Titans the lead, the Colts scored a touchdown to win it.
A four-yard touchdown pass from Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew to receiver Michael Pittman with 2:31 remaining in overtime decided the game, and sent fans home disappointed.
The Titans lost Derrick Henry (concussion), Jeffery Simmons (knee) and punter Ryan Stonehouse (knee) to injuries in the contest.
Quarterback Will Levis completed 16-of-33 passes for 224 yards and a touchdown in the game.
"It's tough," Levis said. "It's the NFL. It's a battle, especially these division games. We knew it was going to be a street fight all week. I was proud of how we fought, but at the end of the day they got the best of us, and it sucks. It's disappointing."
Henry finished the game with 102 yards and two touchdowns, before leaving in the fourth quarter.
In the end the Titans couldn't get a stop on defense when they needed it, and a long stretch with little to no production on offense – the team had five straight three-and-outs and didn't have a first down in the third quarter – came back to haunt them.
The Titans also had mishaps on two punts, including one that was blocked and returned for a touchdown.
With the loss, the Titans dropped to 4-8.
"Both sides were giving everything they got," linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair said. "I love playing in games like this – you could feel how much it means. The energy, the atmosphere, it was amazing. But it's never good when you don't come out with a win, and that's the hard part."
The Titans – and Colts – started fast.
And, in many ways, this crazy game never really slowed down from a wild and wacky standpoint.
The Titans made plays, but they also made costly mishaps.
After Levis connected with tight end Chig Okonkwo for a 39-yard completion, Henry busted loose on the left side and raced to the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown. It gave the Titans a 7-0 lead just 1:40 into the contest.
But the Colts answered back in a hurry, as Minshew connected with receiver Alec Pierce on a 36-yard touchdown pass just over a minute later to make it 7-7.
The Titans reclaimed the lead at 10-7 on a 24-yard field goal by kicker Nick Folk.
The Titans then stretched their lead to 17-7 with 10:26 left in the second quarter on another touchdown run by Henry, this one from five yards out.
A pair of field goals from Colts kicker Matt Gay made it 17-13 at the half.
The Titans defense rose up with a pair of red zone stops in the first half, including one at the five-yard line with defensive lineman Denico Autry sacked Minshew, forcing a fumble, and defensive back Elijah Molden recovered it at the nine-yard line.
The Titans defense stiffened up in the red zone again in the third quarter, as the Colts settled for another short field goal, from 23 yards, to make it 17-16.
But the Colts took the lead when a Ryan Stonehouse punt was blocked, and returned for a touchdown. Titans safety Amani Hooker returned an interception for two points when the Colts went for two, and the Colts led 22-19 after three quarters.
The Colts stretched the lead to 25-19 after another disaster on special teams – the Colts got to Stonehouse before he could punt it – and they cashed what was ruled a fumble in for another field goal. Stonehouse was injured on the play, and Folk handled punting duties the rest of the contest.
The Titans had five three-and-outs on offense during the second and third quarter of the game, when the Colts changed the momentum.
Simmons and Henry both left the game in the second half and didn't return.
After the Titans tied the game on a three-yard touchdown pass from Levis to receiver DeAndre Hopkins with 5:26 left, the extra point was missed, and it was 25-25 with 5:26 left.
The game then went into overtime, and the Titans let it slip away.
"It's very difficult, very difficult," Titans running back Tyjae Spears said. "There were some plays we wish we had back on offense, plays we wish we had back on defense, and special teams, too. But things happen, and we just have to adjust to them. We can't sit here and cry about everything that happened, we have t move forward."
The Titans return to action next Monday night at the Miami Dolphins.