Titans timed up another field goal block, sparking go-ahead play in Indy

INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts’ field goal unit has hardly produced guaranteed points this season, but lined up for a 46-yarder with 5:12 left in Sunday’s game it was ready to break a tie and give the home team a lead.CruikshankColts

Then Dane Cruikshank timed things up and Margus Hunt got tied up with someone he shouldn’t have.

Cruikshank blocked Adam Vinatieri’s kick with ease, Tye Smith grabbed it out of the air and raced to a 63-yard TD. A potential 3-point Colts edge was a 7-point Titans lead.

“I just timed up the snap count as the game went by and got a good feel for it and next thing you know I just kind of came free and just tried to block it,” Cruikshank said. “It worked out perfectly for me.”

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A new hope: After clearing Colts' hurdle, maybe the Titans can really do something big

INDIANAPOLIS – All that hope the Titans sold in the spring and the summer became real here at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday on the shoulders of a 31-17 win against a nuisance of a team that’s always in the way.

Tennessee avenged an early-season embarrassment to the Colts in Nashville when the Titans botched an end-of-game opportunity. Eleven weeks later the Titans have edged ahead of Indianapolis in the AFC South, 7-5 to 6-6.


With a pair of head-to-head games still to come against Houston, the Titans have control of their fate with a quarter of the season in front of them.

The fight back from 2-4 to 7-5 has been equal parts exhausting and exhilarating for a team that has an odd formula it put on display again as it struggled through the first half with lost fumbles from both Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill and was lucky to trail by just 10-7.

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For the Titans with the Colts, it's got to be now

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  – There are so many reasons to believe the Titans have lit the fuse of a pack of firecrackers and the whole thing is starting to go. The Chiefs the first pop, the Jaguars the second and the Colts prime to carry on the rat-a-tat-tat it’ll take for Tennessee to take over.

But sometimes fireworks fizzle out.

For a long time, I’ve said I’ll believe the Titans can beat a good Colts' team when there are meaningful stakes after I’ve seen them do it.ColtsHatch

Sunday's game has an if not now, when feel.

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Scout's Take: Colts' lack of playmakers minimize their chances against Titans

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- With only five games remaining this is a big division matchup.

The Colts have been dealing with more injuries than any other playoff contender this season.

The Colts will be without WR T.Y. Hilton, RB Marlon Mack and TE Eric Ebron. These are the only three playmakers they have on offense.HumphriesColtsRun

The Colts did not activate WR Devin Funchess this week. Also, second-round draft choice WR Parris Campbell has been out
for several weeks but has a chance to play coming back from his broken hand.

Colts head coach Frank Reich will be challenged to find something on offense that will work.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Delanie Walker was an anomaly, a free-agent find who came to Tennessee and did more here than he did before, way exceeding expectations.

In seven seasons in San Francisco where he was a blocker behind Vernon Davis, he never caught more than 29 passes and totaled 123.

In seven seasons in Tennessee, he maxed out with a 94-catch season and totaled 381.DWalkerWave

That came with 28 touchdowns, one more than Frank Wycheck had in nine seasons with the franchise. [Unlocked]

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Extra-time Titans have been Mike Vrabel's best

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Of the Titans’ 15 wins under Mike Vrabel, a third have come after extra preparation time – in an opener, a game following a mini-bye or a game after a bye.

The only such game the Titans have lost since he’s been their coach was the first one, the 2018 opener at Miami that had two lengthy lightning delays to make it the longest game in NFL history and during which Marcus Mariota has his arm stepped on and lost feeling in his throwing hand.VrabelRavens

Vrabel’s coaching record now stands at 15-12.

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Scout's Take: How the Titans took advantage of the Jaguars' defensive run front

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Jaguars season is over, and that is one less team the Titans must deal with down the stretch.

The Jaguars are a disappointment on so many levels and the Titans put them to rest.HenryJax19

This was a game where both teams wanted to establish the run and both teams did successfully.

It was obvious that Derrick Henry and Leonard Fournette would get their carriers, but the biggest difference was the Titans' offense allowed Ryan Tannehill to use his legs to add another dimension and threat to the offense.

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Titans show full offensive capacity, now need a bunch to carry over

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – They can do that.

The Titans can score 42 in a game, 28 in a quarter. They can roll a division opponent. They can pass (252 yards) and run (219 yards) super-effectively, in the same game and win. With homerun touchdown plays of 74 and 65 yards they can render time of possession meaningless.TannehillTDJags19

It was a heck of a lot more like what they said we’d see when they promoted Arthur Smith, signed Rodger Saffold and Adam Humphries and drafted A.J. Brown and Nate Davis.

The Ryan Tannehill-led offense reached its peak in its fifth week, as he threw for two scores and ran for two more, the sort of dynamic combination we expected from Marcus Mariota but are getting from his replacement.

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