Titans vs. Colts score: Indianapolis uses 21-point run in second half to take lead in AFC South

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The Indianapolis Colts established themselves as the dominant force in the AFC South, as they defeated the Tennessee Titans by a score of 34-17 on Thursday night. Philip Rivers completed 29 of 39 passes for 308 yards and a touchdown, and clearly made an effort to spread the wealth, as he connected with eight different receivers. The running backs were certainly important in the passing game, as Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Taylor combined to register seven catches for 70 yards and a touchdown, and Hines also rushed for another 70 yards and a touchdown.

As for the Titans, they actually acquired a four-point halftime lead. However, their special teams completely derailed the contest in the third quarter, as the Colts exploded for 21 unanswered points in the second half to put the game away. A quick look at the box score will show you how this one went, as the Colts offense racked up 430 yards of total offense, while the Titans recorded just 294 total yards.

Why the Colts won

Why did the Colts win? They won because of NC State University! During the waning moments of this Thursday night matchup, Joe Buck of Fox Sports declared this "NC State Night," and he's exactly right. As we mentioned, Rivers (NC State alum) threw for 308 yards and a touchdown, backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett came in to seal the game with a two-yard touchdown and Hines accounted for 115 total yards and two touchdowns. While these former NC State players were great, all of Rivers' weapons certainly deserve credit. Rookie wideout Michael Pittman Jr. led all wideouts with seven catches for 101 yards and T.Y. Hilton also caught four of his five targets for a total of 40 yards.

Why the Titans lost

Leading up to this matchup, we spent plenty of time discussing if the Titans offense could find success against the Colts defense or if Rivers could exploit Tennessee's secondary, but we forgot to mention special teams! Reserve punter Trevor Daniel and veteran kicker Stephen Gostkowski both failed to execute on Thursday night, and it was a big reason the Colts were able to pull off a 14-0 run in the third quarter. Daniel shanked a punt, had his next one blocked for a touchdown and then Gostkowski missed a 44-yard field goal after making a 50-yarder earlier in the game. While Daniel is possibly gone after this week, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel was asked about Gostkowski's job security after the game, and he remained mum on the subject -- saying that the team will have to evaluate everything they do. 

Turning point and Play of the game

The Colts jumped on the Titans immediately from the start of the second half. While Indy turned the ball over on downs on their first possession after Jordan Wilkins was stood up at the goal line on fourth down, Daniel then shanked a punt that traveled a total distance of 17 yards on the Titans' ensuing possession. Since the Colts took over at the Titans' 27-yard line, it took Rivers and Co. just four plays to take the lead for the first time in the contest. 

At this point in the game, the Titans needed to respond, but instead they went three and out and Daniel had his punt blocked for a touchdown that extended Indy's lead to 10 points. That's right, the Colts scored two touchdowns in 59 seconds of game time.

What's next 

The Colts return to Indy next week, where they will host the Green Bay Packers next Sunday. Aaron Rodgers and Co. are atop the NFC North with a 6-2 record, and are set to face off against rookie quarterback Jake Luton and the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. The Titans hit the road to take on the Baltimore Ravens, who they booted from the playoffs just last January. There's no doubt that Lamar Jackson will be looking to score some revenge over Tennessee, as he said this offseason that he thinks about that playoff loss "constantly." Before he gets a chance at the Titans, however, the Ravens will have to defeat the New England Patriots in Foxborough on "Sunday Night Football." 

Thanks for joining us! Relive all the action in the live blog below. 

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THU 8:20 P
TEN +1, o48.5
FOX
TEN 1, O/U 48.5

Season Leaders

passing
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P. Rivers 4169 YD, 24 TDS, 11 INTS
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P. Rivers 4169 YD, 24 TDS, 11 INTS
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R. Tannehill 3819 YD, 33 TDS, 7 INTS
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R. Tannehill 3819 YD, 33 TDS, 7 INTS
rushing
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J. Taylor 232 ATT, 1169 YD, 11 TDS
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J. Taylor 232 ATT, 1169 YD, 11 TDS
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D. Henry 378 ATT, 2027 YD, 17 TDS
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D. Henry 378 ATT, 2027 YD, 17 TDS
receiving
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T. Hilton 56 REC, 762 YD, 5 TDS
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T. Hilton 56 REC, 762 YD, 5 TDS
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A. Brown 70 REC, 1075 YD, 11 TDS
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A. Brown 70 REC, 1075 YD, 11 TDS
Live updates
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@Titans via Twitter
November 13, 2020, 4:25 AM

Alright, that'll do it. Both of these teams are now 6-3. Colts take over first place in the AFC South, but they're both firmly in the playoff mix. They play again in Week 12.

November 13, 2020, 4:20 AM

Al-Quadin Muhammad just straight up slapped Ty Sambrailo in the helmet. That was not smart.

November 13, 2020, 4:15 AM

The Titans are officially packing it in, bringing Logan Woodside and D'Onta Foreman off the bench for the rest of the night. Makes sense, down by 17 with about two minutes left.

November 13, 2020, 4:13 AM

That's probably the game right there. Colts are going to move to 6-3 and take over first place in the AFC South, due to the tiebreaker.

November 13, 2020, 4:06 AM

Can we ask the question now. Are the Colts the best team in the AFC South?

November 13, 2020, 4:05 AM

If you're going to run, why wouldn't you bring Henry in for McNichols? And why do the Titans treat Henry like he can't be on the field if they have to pass? You'd think at the very least, a checkdown to Henry with a big play possibility would be beneficial.

November 13, 2020, 4:03 AM

Jacoby Brissett comes in for a QB sneak, which Philip Rivers almost NEVER does. Wow.

November 13, 2020, 3:56 AM

Jacoby Brissett sighting!!!

November 13, 2020, 3:56 AM

Big hit from Jayon Brown to prevent a touchdown right there. Pittman looked like he thought he was about to walk into the end zone.

November 13, 2020, 3:55 AM

Just a nightmare sequence for the Titans, after what looked like a promising drive.

November 13, 2020, 3:49 AM

Are the Titans going to be looking for a kicker soon?

November 13, 2020, 3:48 AM

AJ Brown has caught only one of four targets tonight. He has been conspicuously uninvolved.

November 13, 2020, 3:47 AM

In slow motion, that Leonard hit on Tannehill out of bounds doesn't look as bad -- but that was gonna be called. He just didn't let up after Tannehill ran out. Gives the Titans life as they are in the red zone.

November 13, 2020, 3:45 AM

Not sure what to think about that call. Leonard kind of pushed him out of bounds but Tannehill like flew and it didn't seem like that kind of push.

November 13, 2020, 3:45 AM

Surprised Justin Houston didn't get called for roughing there. Usually when you land on the QB like that, the QB gets a call. The worst kind of roughing call, but stll.

November 13, 2020, 3:39 AM
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