INDIANAPOLIS – The win streak against the Colts is over.
The up and down fortunes of the Titans, well, they continued here on Sunday in a 23-16 loss to the Colts.
Everyone with the team knows the inconsistency needs to stop.
“It’s very frustrating,” Titans running back Derrick Henry said. “You want to be that team that starts to excel, and puts a couple of wins together back-to-back, and we are not doing that. We have to lock in, focus and figure out what we need to do to be able to do those things.
“We have to be better individually, and collectively.”
The Titans let one get away at Lucas Oil Stadium, and they dropped to 2-3 in the process.
The Titans had won five straight against Indianapolis heading into the contest. After a season-opening loss in New Orleans, the team has now alternated wins and losses through the first five games of the 2023 season.
“We just got our ass whooped, from the starting whistle to the end,” outside linebacker Arden Key said. “We came out flat, and they just beat our ass out there. They just whooped our ass from start to finish.”
Trailing 10-6 at the half, the Titans took the team 13-10 on a 19-yard run by running back Tyjae Spears. The score capped a four-play, 75-yard drive that gave the Titans momentum at the start of the third quarter.
But the momentum was short-lived, as the Colts drove right down the field and scored on a four-yard touchdown run by Zack Moss to make it 17-13. It was the second rushing touchdown of the day for Moss, who ran for over 165 yards in the contest.
Nick Folk’s third field goal of the contest, from 34 yards, made it 17-16 with 2:02 left in the third quarter before the Colts extended their lead to 20-16 with 13:22 left in the contest on Matt Gay’s 35-yard field goal.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Henry was stuffed on a fourth-and-one run from the five-yard line, a gut-punch to the team’s comeback efforts. The Colts added a field goal with a minute left to make it 23-16, and the Titans couldn’t rally.
The Titans were forced to settle for too many field goals in this one, and it came back to haunt them. The Titans were just 1-of-4 scoring touchdown in the red zone on Sunday.
“That’s a part of it, our (inability) to score touchdowns down there,” Titans Coach Mike Vrabel said when discussing why his team lost. “But it’s much more than that. We have to play better on defense, and we have to be able to run the football and do the things we know are going to help us win.”
The Titans took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter on a 27-yard field goal by Folk.
But the Colts answered back quickly on a 56-yard touchdown run by Moss with just 41 seconds left in the first quarter to make it 7-3.
Later, a 43-yard field goal by Gay gave the Colts a 10-3 lead.
A 53-yard field goal by Folk capped a 10-play, 48-yard drive made it 10-6 Indianapolis with 4:39 left in the first half.
The Titans got a big stop right before the half, keeping Indianapolis out of the end zone – and completely off the scoreboard – with a 4th and short stop with seconds left before halftime.
The stops were few and far between in the second half, however.
Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson was injured late in the second quarter, and replaced by Gardner Minshew II, who finished the game for Indianapolis.
“You keep winning one and losing one, that’s how you end up 8-9 or 9-8, and that’s not what we want to be,” Titans safety Kevin Byard said. “We have to string together some wins.”
The Titans return to action next Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens in London.