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Titans Win A Wild One, 34-31 In Overtime, Over Colts


INDIANAPOLIS – They're known for auto racing in these parts, home of the Indy 500.

Eight games into the 2021 season, the car with the Titans logo on it is way ahead of the pack.

On Halloween day, some crazy stuff happened here on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

But by nighttime, the Titans walked out of Lucas Oil Stadium with quite a treat – a three-game lead in the AFC South, thanks to a wild, 34-31 overtime win over the Colts.

"This was a heavyweight fight," Titans receiver A.J. Brown said after the game. "This was blow for blow, we score, they score. It was a really tough game, and we found a way to get the win.

"I think it comes down to will, and details. (We have) the will, and the want-to."

Once again, the Titans did what they had to do late to win it.

In overtime, Titans safety Kevin Byard intercepted a pass from Colts quarterback Carson Wentz, which gave the Titans the ball at the Colts 32.

Then, with 4:03 left in overtime, Titans kicker Randy Bullock booted a 44-yard field goal to win it. The kick was Bullock's second game-winner in OT this year.

This kick capped of a day when the Titans had to rally from a two-touchdown deficit, and they had to overcome plenty of their own mistakes.

"I just think that's this whole thing about not being a front runner. You know what I mean?," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of his team's resiliency. "You've probably been a part of some teams where you go down 14-0 and guys are bitching and complaining trying to start fights on the sidelines. I never worry about that stuff. These guys are confident in their abilities to make plays and come back. You don't want to be in that position, but if you find yourself in that position there's only one. If we put ourselves in that position, we're the ones that have to get ourselves out."

With the win, the Titans are now 6-2, while the Colts dropped to 3-5.

Eight weeks into the season, the Titans are also currently the No.1 seed in the AFC.

"I've been in a lot of wild games, but this was definitely a memorable one," Byard said. "We just knew going in we were going to have to trade punches.

"I am just proud of the guys and the way they fought the entire game. But we have to keep our foot on the gas. We have another big game coming up in L.A."

The Titans looked like they might win it in regulation.

A two-yard interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Elijah Molden gave the Titans a 31-24 lead with 1:26 left in the fourth quarter. With Titans outside linebacker Bud Dupree's arms wrapped around Wentz, Wentz threw the ball left-handed, and Molden snagged it out of the air and raced in for a two-yard touchdown.

While Titans fans celebrated, at least some Colts fans headed for the exits.

"I was just happy," Molden said. "But really, I think the credit goes to Bud (Dupree) – to me, he's the one that made that play. At that point, I just ran in there and got the ball. It was a pretty easy interception. I didn't have to do much. It was a great rush."

But the Colts answered back with a touchdown of their own, as running back Jonathan Taylor scored on a one-yard touchdown run with 22 seconds left to tie the game at 31-31.

It served up a wild finish, and another gut-check win for the Titans.

"It was a little bit of a roller coaster there," Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "But you have to try and stay steady."

Tannehill completed 23-of-33 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns in the win, but he also threw a pair of interceptions.

While Brown had another big day, with 10 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown, running back Derrick Henry managed just 68 rushing yards on 28 carries, and his longest run was just nine yards as the Colts stacked the box to stop him.

The Titans did plenty of good things on the day, but they also committed 11 penalties for 161 yards, and many of those were costly.

The negatives will be points of emphasis this week, even with the win. But the biggest positive came in the "W".

Since Vrabel became head coach in 2018, the Titans are 5-1 in overtime games, and their .833 winning percentage in those games is the best in the NFL among clubs with at least three overtime appearances. No other team has won more than three overtime games in that span.

The Titans are now 5-0 in 2021 against clubs that advanced to the playoffs in 2020.

After a terrible start, the Titans got off the mat.

The Colts took a 7-0 lead early on a two-yard touchdown pass from Wentz to receiver Michael Pittman, which capped a 14-play, 82-yard scoring drive.

After an interception thrown by Tannehill, Wentz connected with Pittman again, this time from seven yards out, to make it 14-0 with 7:44 left in the first quarter.

Then, the Titans got back in it, starting with a fourth-down stop by the defense.

After that, Tannehill directed an 11-play, 60-yard drive that was capped off with a six-yard touchdown pass to tight end Geoff Swaim to cut the lead to 14-7.

The Titans then tied it up on a 57-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to Brown, who made a defender miss before racing to the end zone with 4:13 left in the first half.

The Colts led 17-14 at the half after a 34-yard field goal by Michael Badgley.

The Titans took their first lead of the contest on a five-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine with 7:42 remaining in the third quarter, which made it 21-17. The scoring toss capped a 14-play, 75-yard drive that took 7:18 off the clock.

The Colts answered back with a five-yard touchdown pass from Wentz to tight end Jack Doyle to make it 24-21 with 1:21 left in the third quarter.

The Titans tied it up at 24-24 with 11:15 left on a 46-yard field goal by Bullock, setting up the wild finish.

The Titans return to action next Sunday against the Rams in Los Angeles.

Yes, the Titans know they can't take their foot off the gas.

"It's a big win," Tannehill said. "We were on the road against a division opponent who is playing really well. So, (it's) a big win for us. We knew it was going to be a tough battle coming in, and it turned out to be exactly that. But, we're eight games into a 17-game regular season, so (there's) a lot of football to be played. (We) just have to stay the course, keep progressively getting better and come ready to play each and every week."

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