Colts back on track with much-needed win


Andrew Luck still hasn't lost to the Tennessee Titans (3-4) in his career. The Indianapolis Colts' quarterback led a fourth-quarter drive to take the lead. Indy (3-4) added a defensive score to secure a 34-23 victory in Nashville. Here is what you need to know:

1. The much-maligned Colts offensive line played very well and gave Andrew Luck a clean pocket most of the day. Luck, with a heavily taped left ankle, picked apart the Titans' secondary with a diverse array of quick passes, deep shot, pinpoint passes over the middle and heady scampers when warranted. His 37-yard TD strike to T.Y. Hilton was picture-perfect. Facing a Titans defense that earned six sacks each of the past two games, Luck was taken down just twice and hit five times. The stats (27-of-39 passing, 353 yards, 3 touchdowns) don't explain how well Luck played -- Colts receivers had five drops.

2. Marcus Mariota continued his disappointing 2016 season. Accuracy was a major problem for the Titans' scattershot quarterback. Mariota couldn't complete simple sideline throws and missed everything deep. Ball security remained a problem, as he fumbled twice (one lost). His fumble with less than two minutes remaining was returned for a Colts touchdown, sealing the loss. Mariota made some solid throws to keep the game close in the fourth quarter, but Titans fans have to be depressed watching their franchise quarterback miss wide open throws with no pressure in his face.

3. Even in their wins, the Colts make nothing easy. Chuck Pagano's defense kept the Titans in the game with head-scratching penalties, missed tackles and blown coverages. Tennessee's 13-play game-tying touchdown drive epitomized Indy's season. That drive included a ridiculous Colts penalty that negated an interception; two more defensive pass interference flags; conversions of third-and-15 and third-and-19 (including a missed tackle that allowed the yardage); and leaving Delanie Walker wide open in the end zone on third-and-7. For the game, the Colts were flagged 12 times for 131 yards. A week after squandering a 14-point lead, the Colts lost an 11-point advantage before Luck's game-winning drive. Against a better football team, this turns into another loss for Pagano's squad.

4. With the Colts missing two of their top three receivers, tight end Jack Doyle picked up the slack in a big way. Doyle ate up Titans linebackers and safeties to the tune of nine catches (10 targets) for 78 yards and the go-ahead TD. Whenever Luck needed a clutch play, he looked for Doyle. The Western Kentucky product came through.

5. Adam Vinatieri set an NFL record by connecting on his 43rd consecutive field goal try. The 43-year-old, in his 21st season, will be a Hall of Famer after he hangs up the kicking shoe.

6. Two fun plays:

The Colts tried and recovered an onside kick with a 14-6 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter. When a coach is on the hot seat, everything is on the table.

Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan caught a pass and rumbled 10 yards for the touchdown on the opening drive. It was Tennessee's first TD reception by an O-lineman since 1997, per NFL Research. It's always fun when the hogs get involved in pass catching.