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(Monday, October 27th)
Final Score: Tennessee 31, Indianapolis 21
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Chris Johnson and LenDale White combined for three rushing touchdowns and 90 yards, as the Tennessee Titans stayed perfect with a 31-21 win over the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC South battle.
Kerry Collins threw for 193 yards on 24-of-37 passing, without a touchdown or interception, for the Titans (7-0), who have won the first seven games of the season for the first time in franchise history.
Dating back to December 16 of last season, Tennessee has 10 consecutive regular season wins, the longest current streak in the NFL. Rob Bironas added three field goals for the Titans.
Peyton Manning threw for 223 yards and two scores on 26-of-41 passing, but was intercepted twice for the Colts (3-4), who have lost two in a row and are tied with Jacksonville and Houston at the bottom of the division. Indianapolis has won the outright AFC South crown every year since 2004, but missed out on a chance Monday night to get back in the division race.
"They're (Colts) not the team to beat anymore. I think we made a statement tonight in the division," said Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck. "I think we've made a statement all year with our play. I think right now the Titans are the team to beat."
Dallas Clark caught both TD passes from Manning in a seven-reception, 94-yard effort, as Indianapolis had a streak of eight consecutive Monday night wins snapped. Dominic Rhodes ran for 70 yards on 17 attempts in place of Joseph Addai, who sat out with a hamstring injury.
"There's a healthy way to be angry and to bounce back and do something about it," said Manning. "That's what we need to do. We have to hang together. We have to play better as a team. We had the lead and they made the plays in the second half, and we didn't."
Manning's second TD connection with Clark gave the Colts a 14-6 lead with less than four minutes gone in the third quarter, but the Titans rallied with 25 consecutive points to take control of the game.
Tennessee began the next drive at the 20-yard line and the series took up most of the stanza. Collins converted a key 3rd-and-10 with a 23-yard pass to Justin McCareins to the Indianapolis 35.
Collins later found Brandon Jones over the middle on a pass under pressure, a 15-yard gain to get to the two-yard line. White couldn't push into the end zone on his first two carries from there, but plowed through on 3rd-and-goal. Collins completed the two-point conversion with a pass to Ahmard Hall in the right side of the end zone, tying the game at 14-14.
The drive took 14 plays and lasted 7:45.
After Rhodes was thrown back for a yard loss on 4th-and-1 on the next Indianapolis drive, the Titans took the ball just into Colts territory. Alge Crumpler fumbled after making a catch, but luckily for Tennessee it bounced out of bounds at the 34-yard line.
The drive, though, stalled, and Bironas drilled a 48-yard field goal just into the fourth quarter for a 17-14 lead.
Indianapolis' next series ended in another fourth-down failure, as Manning's pass to Marvin Harrison fell incomplete at the Tennessee 34. The Titans took the opportunity and embarked on another time-consuming touchdown drive.
In 13 plays and 6:51, the Titans went 66 yards. On a 3rd-and-8 Collins found Lavelle Hawkins for 13 yards to reach the Indianapolis 25, and the Titans advanced to the one-yard line, where White ran in for another score. With just 4:37 remaining, the Titans held a 24-14 lead, and any hope of a Colts comeback ended soon after.
On third down, Manning threw to Clark, but the ball went off his hands and into those of Chris Hope near midfield. He ran it back 39 yards to the Indianapolis 16, and on the next play, Johnson sprinted 16 yards into the end zone for a 31-14 Tennessee lead.
Manning had a one-yard touchdown run with 1:17 on the clock, but the Colts didn't get any closer.
Bironas' 34-yard field goal with 9:43 left in the opening quarter gave the Titans the lead, but later in the quarter the Colts surged ahead on a 10-yard TD connection from Manning to Clark.
Bironas hit a 44-yard attempt shortly into the second quarter, and the game remained 7-6 heading into halftime.
Indianapolis scored on the first drive of the second half. After reaching the Titans' 19, Manning pump-faked and found Clark behind the linebackers over the middle to make it 14-6.
In addition to Addai, other inactives for the game were Colts safety Bob Sanders (ankle) and Titans defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch (groin)...Johnson ran for 77 yards on 19 attempts, while White had only 13 yards on 10 tries...At halftime, quarterback Steve McNair, running back Eddie George and tight end Frank Wycheck were inducted into the franchise's ring of honor. McNair (1995-2005) accumulated the most wins of any franchise quarterback with 76 victories, earning NFL co-MVP honors following the 2003 season, leading the team to four playoff appearances and earning three Pro Bowl selections. Wycheck (1995-2003), who made three Pro Bowl appearances, holds the franchise record for consecutive games with a reception (99, 1996-2002) and became only the fourth tight end in NFL history to record 500 receptions in a career.Four- time Pro Bowler George ended his eight-year (1996-03) tenure with the team as the franchise's all-time leading rusher with 10,009 yards and started every game in his time with the team...The Titans host Green Bay on Sunday, while the Colts play Sunday night at home against New England.
10/28 01:30:02 ET
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