NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Quarterback Jacoby Brissett led the Indianapolis Colts to his first victory over the Tennessee Titans in three tries with a fourth-quarter touchdown pass in a 19-17 victory. But the Colts have a bigger problem with Adam Vinatieri — an issue that almost cost them another win.
QB breakdown: It looked like the Titans had Brissett frustrated, bottled up and on his way to his third straight loss to them. But the Colts, as they did against the Chargers in Week 1, refused to give up on their running game (167 yards) despite being down. Running back Jordan Wilkins broke free for a 55-yard run to get the ball to Tennessee’s 4-yard line on the go-ahead drive. And that’s when Brissett shook off his interception and fumble earlier in the game to throw his third touchdown pass of the game Brissett wasn’t done; the Colts had the ball at fourth-and-1 in their own territory with less than three minutes left in the game when they called a timeout after a failed attempt to try to draw the Titans offside. Punt? No chance. Reich, as he did against Houston last season, brought the offense back on the field and Brissett did just enough to get the first down on a QB sneak. It’s moments like this that are needed for Brissett as he tries to prove he can be the Colts’ franchise quarterback in the post-Andrew Luck era. Those moments also helped make up for what was inconsistent play from Brissett in the first three-plus quarters. He was indecisive, holding the ball too long in the pocket, earlier in the game. His interception in the first half ended a string of 167 straight pass attempts without throwing a pick. Brissett also fumbled while trying to bring the ball back down in the pocket after a pass attempt wasn’t there. He finished 17-of-28 for 146 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
Troubling trend: The Colts tried to downplay Vinatieri’s kicking problems in the days leading up to Sunday’s game. They have to rethink that now. Vinatieri, the NFL’s all-time leading scorer, extended his kicking woes when he missed extra points in the second and fourth quarter. Vinatieri has missed an extra point in three straight regular-season games going back to last season. That’s the longest streak of his 24-year NFL career. He’s also missed an extra point in four of the last five games overall, which includes the playoffs, and he’s missed a total of seven kicks in the past three games.
Buy the Colts defensive front seven: The Colts, despite being without pass-rushers Jabaal Sheard and Kemoko Turay, consistently kept pressure on Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota throughout the game. They sacked Mariota four times, limiting him to just 154 yards passing. That was a drastic change from Week 1 for Mariota, when he threw for 248 yards and three touchdowns against the Browns. A lot is said about the Colts linebackers, led by All-Pro Darius Leonard, and the secondary. But the front that features Justin Houston and Denico Autry accounted for three of the four sacks, including two by Autry.