Colts Defense Hobbles the Titans on TNF

Lauren Carpenter
·6 min read



On paper, this game was skewed in favor of Indianapolis and the final box score reflects their season-long stats. The Colts Defense is ranked first against QBs, second against RBs, 10th against WRs, and second against TEs. Despite the final 34-17 score in favor of Indianapolis, this was not a game where they entirely dominated, but it was rather a tale of two halves.

A Snapshot

The first half reminded me quite a bit of a Caesar salad. It was sort of filling, had a bit of zest, but at the end of the day, it was still just a salad. It was slow going after the Titans RB D’Onta Foreman (no, not Derrick Henry) scored a touchdown on their first drive. That score, and a Colts field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship, were the only two scoring drives in the first quarter.

The second quarter picked up a bit with both teams scoring a touchdown and field goal each. The Titans went into halftime with the momentum and a 17-13 lead.

The second half was a different story and the Colts turned on their proverbial jets. QB Ryan Tannehill was under tremendous pressure and it seemed like he spent most of his time on the grass instead of upright making plays. He was officially sacked only once but he took some big hits that disrupted the offensive rhythm. The Colts scored on their second drive of the half, taking the lead by three points at 20-17. However, it was the Colts special teams’ blocked punt and touchdown that propelled Indianapolis into overdrive.

After that, the Titans were unable to score, turning the ball over on downs and then missing a field goal. In an exciting twist, (perhaps the shaved parmesan of the Caesar salad) QB Jacoby Brissett hopped in the game to score a two-yard touchdown.

Despite having two more drives and nine minutes left in the game, The Titans could not get anything going to cut the lead. The Colts led in time of possession 31:18 to 28:42 and total yards with 430 to 294, dousing the Titans' division lead with a bucket of ice water. They are now tied for first place in the AFC South with 6-3 ahead of the lowly 2-6 Texans and 1-7 Jaguars.

Fantasy Impacts

Other than Nyheim Hines and rookie WR Michael Pittman, there wasn’t much to write home about in terms of fantasy production. If you started Blankenship, you were pretty happy with his 10-point finish, as well.

Hines posted a rushing and a receiving touchdown on 12 rush attempts for 70 yards and five receptions on six targets and 45 receiving yards. On his birthday, no less. He looked explosive scoring 28.5 points in PPR while RB Jordan Wilkins and rookie RB Jonathan Taylor did their best to give Hines a water break.

Pittman had 28 yards in the run game, but it was his seven receptions for 101 yards that gave him 19.2 points. This was while WR T.Y. Hilton was active after dealing with a hamstring injury and catching four receptions for 40 yards. I am going to keep a close eye on Pittman moving forward and wouldn't mind stashing him as we move toward the fantasy playoffs.

WR Corey Davis scored 11.7 points on five receptions for 67 yards, giving you a nice cushion if you had to start him. TE Jonnu Smith caught two receptions for a whopping 14 yards and even rushed in a one-yard touchdown. He finished with a decent 9.5 points at a position that is mostly a dumpster fire for fantasy.

Unfortunately, WR A.J. Brown severely disappointed after having three out of the last four weeks with 20 plus points before yesterday’s matchup. He was targeted several times but uncharacteristically dropped a handful of crucial passes. He finished the day with only 3.1 points, leaving fantasy GMs in a hole heading into Sunday.

Even Henry wasn’t immune to the Titans’ woes Thursday night. He didn’t have a terrible game, rushing for 103 yards, but it wasn’t all that great with only 11.9 points to start Week 10. His stat line would have been considerably better if he was given the goal-line look that Foreman vultured at the beginning of the game.

QB Philip Rivers was a popular streamable option and he was serviceable with 16.32 points. On the other side of the ball, the Colts’ defense proved too much for Tannehill. He completed only 15 of his 27 attempts for 147 yards and a touchdown and a meager 10.78 points.

Thursday night games are usually known for being strange, but this game seemed oddly vanilla. Foreman’s touchdown was really the only weird thing that happened since it was supposed to be Henry in the end zone. The Colts Defense lived up to their reputation, pressuring Tannehill, disrupting the passing game, and stuffing King Henry and the run. The Titans Defense predictably struggled against Colts being ranked 20th against both QBs and RBs and second to last against WRs. So, it turned out exactly as it should have, which feels strangely empty. Exactly how I feel two hours after eating a salad.

There is a bit of insight we can take away from Thursday’s matchup in the Colts’ run game. At least for now, Hines appears to be the more productive back moving forward. Taylor had seven rush and Wilkins’ eight to Hines' 12 attempts. More importantly, Hines looked like the better back while Taylor looked like he was in the dog house after his costly fumble last week. The Colts have a juicy schedule for the RB position through Week 15 and Hines is poised to keep delivering after this week.

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Injury Updates

Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey will miss Week 10 with a shoulder injury after being held out for six weeks with an ankle sprain. He could be back in action in Week 11. … Miami RB Matt Breida is back at practice. RB Myles Gaskin is on IR. … Texans RB David Johnson remains in concussion protocol and did not practice. … Washington’s RB Antonio Gibson returned to practice in full. … Bengals RB Joe Mixon did not practice Thursday. … Rams RB Darrell Henderson is expected to play as is WR Cooper Kupp who is banged up. … Lions WR Kenny Golladay missed practice with a hip injury and is unlikely to play this weekend. TE T.J. Hockenson missed practice Thursday with a toe injury. … Ravens RB Mark Ingram returned to practice Wednesday but was absent with his lingering ankle injury on Thursday. … Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake was limited at practice. … Patriots’ RB Damien Harris was also limited at practice after a big hit on Monday night that took him out of the game. … Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy and TE Noah Fant were full participants at practice Thursday. … Chargers RB Justin Jackson missed practice again on Thursday, making another start for Kalen Ballage a possibility.