NASHVILLE TENNESSEE – The Indianapolis Colts keep digging themselves into early holes — and proving they know how to come back and win.
Donald Brown ran for two touchdowns, Andrew Luck added another and the Colts rallied yet again, this time beating the Tennessee Titans 30-27 on Thursday night.
The Colts (7-3) trailed 14-0 in the first quarter and have been outscored 35-0 in the first quarters in their past three games — two of them victories. They also have trailed in six games after the first quarter this season.
“At the end of the day winning is what matters,” Luck said. “We were fortunate in this game to survive our mistakes and have a chance to win. … But we know that’s got to be fixed.”
Adam Vinatieri kicked three field goals, including a 50-yarder, and Coby Fleener had a career-high eight catches for 107 yards to help the Colts bounce back quite nicely from a 38-8 home loss to St. Louis. They have yet to lose back-to-back games under coach Chuck Pagano and are 8-0 coming off a loss.
“Obviously, starting out like that is something we’re all too familiar with,” Fleener said. “That’s something we have to work and get corrected.”
The Colts are back in charge of the AFC South too, now having beaten all three divisional opponents on the road.
“We’re not worried about that yet,” Luck said. “We’re worried about this next game.”
The Titans (4-6) lost their second straight and fifth in six games, blowing the big lead. Chris Johnson ran for two touchdowns and 70 yards in the first quarter, but had only 16 yards after that.
“We’ve got to find that winning formula, whatever it is,” Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “We have to find a way to pull these games out at the end. It’s a tough locker room in there right now. That’s two in a row that kind of slipped away from us. Two big ones, two costly ones for us.”
Fitzpatrick drove Tennessee 80 yards in four plays, capping the drive with a 19-yard TD pass to Delanie Walker with 1:54 left. But the Titans, just like they did in becoming the first team to lose to Jacksonville this season on Sunday, couldn’t execute an onside kick with the ball not even covering 10 yards before Colts linebacker Pat Angerer covered it up.
The Colts had the ball less than 6 minutes in the first quarter and wound up holding the ball more than 32:23. They also outgained the Titans 366-340 after Tennessee opened with a 148-4 edge in total offense with its quick start.
Indianapolis sealed the victory with an 11-play drive capped by Brown with an 11-yard TD with 3:01 left, and the Colts ran on 10 of the 11 plays for 60 yards. That was the Colts’ fourth drive of 11 plays or more, and Brown praised the maligned offensive line for a phenomenal job. So did Pagano, who said the linemen took it personally.
“They had a point to prove,” Pagano said.
Luck finished 23 of 36 for 232 yards passing.
Incognito fights back
Richie Incognito filed a grievance Thursday against the Miami Dolphins over his suspension by the team.
A person familiar with the situation told AP that the guard filed the grievance over his suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. The person spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because the grievance has not officially been announced.
Incognito was suspended by the team Nov. 3 for misconduct related to the treatment of teammate Jonathan Martin, who abruptly left the Dolphins late last month to receive help for emotional issues.
The NFL is investigating whether Incognito harassed or bullied Martin. Incognito has said the conduct was all part of the normal locker room environment.
ESPN first reported the grievance.
Incognito has missed one game, and the suspension by the team can last for four games. The Dolphins, who have not said how long Incognito is suspended, did not immediately comment about the grievance.