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(Sunday, December 6th)
Final Score: Indianapolis 27, Tennessee 17
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Peyton Manning threw for 270 yards and a touchdown and Joseph Addai ran for two scores, as the Indianapolis Colts remained undefeated on the season with a 27-17 victory over AFC-South rival Tennessee at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts (12-0) tied an NFL record with their 21st consecutive regular-season win, matching the mark set by the 2006-08 New England Patriots. Indy will look to surpass the Pats' mark next Sunday against Denver and stay perfect on the season alongside New Orleans, which was a 33-30 overtime winner against Washington on Sunday.
Having already clinched the AFC South title, the Colts improved their positioning for home-field advantage in the conference playoffs.
"I think we are building upon what we've already had here previously, in terms of how we do things and the way we do them. We have a great organization from top to bottom," said Colts head coach Jim Caldwell, who is the first coach in NFL history to have won each of his first 12 games.
Manning was an efficient 24-of-37 passing while Addai ran 21 times for 79 yards. Pierre Garcon totaled a career-high 136 yards on six receptions, Reggie Wayne caught four passes for 48 yards and Austin Collie hauled in one of his four grabs on a four-yard TD.
Vince Young completed 24-of-43 passes for 241 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for the Titans (5-7), who saw their improbable five-game win streak come to an end.
Young became the catalyst that sparked the run, taking over for an ineffective Kerry Collins in Week 8 and leading Tennessee to the NFL's first such streak after an 0-6 start to the season.
Chris Johnson racked up 113 rushing yards on 27 carries but failed to find the end zone. Bo Scaife caught five passes for 56 yards and a touchdown, while Kenny Britt hauled in Young's other TD pass -- one of three grabs for 46 yards on the day.
The Colts entered the fourth quarter with a 14-point lead and held Tennessee off the board after a promising drive to open the frame. The Titans gained a first down in the red zone but managed only five yards on the next three plays before Young's fourth-down pass fell incomplete.
Indianapolis turned around and marched the ball 69 yards on a back-breaking 15-play series that shaved nearly 7 1/2 minutes off the clock and ended on a Matt Stover 36-yard field goal for a 27-10 lead.
"It was kind of a classic effort. It's kind of how games go each week. It may look like the margin is fairly wide but usually it narrows -- and we have to battle all the way through to get this one done," Caldwell said.
The Titans' offense took over with 3:14 to play and Young engineered a quick six-play, 46-yard drive capped by a 17-yard TD toss to Scaife to get within 10 with 1:23 left on the clock.
Tennessee tried an onsides kick and recovered it at their own 34, but Young threw four straight incomplete passes, allowing Manning to kneel down and kill the remaining 57 seconds.
"We had good opportunities to nab this game and we did not. We had chances to make the plays and keep the game close. Our approach was to keep the game close and we did...but let it get away at the end," said Titans head coach Jeff Fisher.
Manning was clicking with Garcon right from the start, finding the second-year wideout twice for 63 yards on the opening drive of the game. Their 36-yard connection moved the ball to the Tennessee eight-yard line and Addai took it in on the next play to take an early lead.
The Titans came back with a 69-yard drive that stalled at the Indy two-yard line and Rob Bironas came on to punch a 20-yard chip shot through the uprights for a 7-3 game.
Indianapolis embarked on an efficient 10-play, 77-yard trek late in the first and took a 14-3 lead a little over three minutes into the second on an Addai one-yard TD run. Manning used a pair of short passes to Addai and Dallas Clark on third down to keep the chains moving.
The Titans turned it over on each of their next two possessions, the second of which led to seven additional points for Indianapolis. After surviving a lost fumble from fullback Ahmard Hall, Tennessee got the ball back and moved close to midfield. But Jacob Lacey stepped in front of Young's pass intended for Britt and took it back 10 yards to the Titans' 42.
Addai got three on 3rd-and-1 moments later and Manning converted the next third down with a four-yard TD strike to Collie just past the two-minute warning for a 21-3 margin.
Tennessee, though, struck back before halftime with Young leading the offense 66 yards in eight plays and drawing within 11 on a six-yard TD pass to Britt.
The Colts had just 20 seconds left with which to work, but a costly 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct on Titans defensive tackle Tony Brown helped set up a 43-yard boot by Stover for a 24-10 difference at the break.
A scoreless third quarter featured two lengthy drives, one by each team, with Stover missing wide right on a 52-yard kick early on. Tennessee came back with a more promising series, as Johnson's five-yard run set up a first-and-goal at the Colts' one-yard line.
Young fumbled on first down but recovered to keep the ball at the goal line and a holding call on second down set the drive back 10 yards. Following a short completion, Young scrambled for seven on 3rd-and-9 before a fourth-down pass to Britt was knocked away just outside a minute left in the quarter.
The Colts were without starting left tackle Charlie Johnson because of a foot injury. Tony Ugoh got the start in Johnson's place. However, Indy did see the return of defensive end Dwight Freeney, who missed last week's game against the Texans with an injury to his abdomen and recorded a sack in the win...Clark had three catches for 25 yards for Indy, which ended 9-of-14 on third down...The Titans converted 8-of-15 third-down plays and outgained the Colts, 375-358...Indianapolis holds an 18-12 lead in its all-time regular season series with Tennessee, including a 31-9 win in Nashville in Week 5...The Titans are 1-6 in Indianapolis since the start of the 2003 season.
12/06 18:33:11 ET
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