Andrew Luck, who has often received credit for the Colts’ unlikely success, was (statistically) terrible on Sunday. He completed 16 of his 34 pass attempts, on his way to a 196-yard performance. His lone touchdown pass was accompanied by two interceptions.
One of those two interceptions came in the closing seconds of the first half on a hail mary-style pass. The other was a blatant missed call by the officiating crew. Luck was evading pressure (as he so often does,) and threw a semi-desperate pass as he was tackled from behind. The pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. After being reviewed, however, his knee was clearly down while the ball was still in-hand.
They missed it, plain and simple. Not only was the final score altered, so was the entire course of the game.
Before the interception the Colts had marched 31 yards on six plays - Their only productive drive (up until the interception) since their first drive of the game.
The interception led the Titans to a commanding 13-point lead at the half.
It looked bad in Indianapolis. Had the Colts’ magic had run out?
The second half opened with a much different tone. After a sharp six-minute, 80-yard drive, the Colts were back within six points. The defense then forced a three-and-out on the Titans’ ensuing drive.
The Colts got the ball back at their own 41-yard-line. They, too, were unable to move the ball and punted the ball back to the Titans.
Indianapolis punter Pat McAfee sent a beauty out of bounds at the Tennessee one-yard-line. Jake Locker then connected with Colts’ corner Cassius Vaughn for a pick-six out of his own end zone.
The Colts took the lead, and a substantial amount of momentum. The defense played inspired football from this point forward. They held the Titans to just three points in the remainder of the game. Darius Butler reeled in an interception with 6:23 left in regulation, which had that nail-into-coffin feel to it.
The Colts won a game that had every chance to run away from them. They were sleepy in the first half, and that will kill them when a dominant opponent is on the other side of the ball.
That’s another story; the point here is: The Colts can win behind a force other than Luck. No pun intended, seriously. The rookie quarter back didn’t need to place the team solely on his back Sunday. Instead, the defense and special teams combined for a well-rounded effort.
This style of play will give the Colts a chance in every game, regardless of their opponent.