The Tennessee Titans did not need a hundred percent Marcus Mariota to defeat the Indianapolis Colts. Wesley Woodyard made sure it was.
Marcus Mariota reappeared after suffering a hamstring injury last week and threw for 306 yards and a touchdown, Woodyard stopped Jacoby Brissett in a crucial fourth time less than three minutes from the end and the Titans came from behind to defeat 36-22 to the Colts and stay in a triple tie at the top of the South of the AFC.
The Titans could not have cleared a 10-point deficit in the third quarter without Ryan Succop’s four field goals and Derrick Henry’s contribution, who had 131 yards on the road, the final 72 on a break 47 seconds from the end that gave the Colts a shot of grace.
The Colts, who lost for the first time in 12 fights against Tennessee, looked in control after posting the slate 19-9 early in the third quarter thanks to Brissett’s touchdown pass in an eight-yard connection with Jack Doyle and an interception that John Simon returned 26 yards to the diagonals.
However, the Titans’ defense made all the necessary adjustments in the second half. The Colts only generated three points, three clearings, a loose fumble and a field goal, a total of 33 yards in their first five offensive series after the break and Marcus Mariota made sure his defense was fresh.
After Simon’s interception, the Oregon graduate commanded five scoring offenses in his six subsequent series. Two Succop field goals, a three-yard touchdown from DeMarco Murray and a 53-yard spiral to the sidelines with Taiwan Taylor to 5:29 from the final which gave them the definitive lead.
Then it was all defense.
Brissett, who completed 21 of 37 innings for 212 yards, and the aid of two personal foul penalties, led the Colts to the 13th yard of rival territory. With 2:41 on the clock and the need for seven points to match, Indianapolis had no choice but to go for it on fourth down. Woodyard was ready.
Brissett attempted to escape on the right in a bootleg, where 10 of the Titans’ 11 defensive players ate the hoax, not Woodyard, who caught up with Brissett and knocked him down a yard before the first down, and the Colts signed his third away defeat.