INDIANAPOLIS -- With the game on the line, Donald Brown showed why the Indianapolis Colts elevated him to starting running back.
The fifth-year back, who wrestled the job from Trent Richardson, ran six times for 46 yards with a touchdown on the decisive drive to help the Colts defeat the Tennessee Titans 22-14 on Sunday afternoon.
Brown had eight carries for eight yards in the game before providing the spark during an 11-play, 92-yard drive that burned 6:12 off the clock. His 4-yard touchdown run with 1:56 remaining left the Titans in desperation mode. After the game, Brown, who finished with 54 yards on 14 carries, did not want to talk about starting.
"It's more important how you finish," he said. "You just want to finish strong, help the team any way you can, and when your number's called, make the most of the opportunity."
Tennessee had a chance to answer in the final minute, but Indianapolis linebacker Jerrell Freeman intercepted Tennessee quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to end the threat.
Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Brown earned the job over Richardson, a former first-round draft pick the Colts acquired in an early-season trade with Cleveland.
"Donnie earned the opportunity the way he was working and running the football," Pagano said. "I felt like we were still going to use two backs, but he earned the opportunity to get in there."
Indy's Adam Vinatieri made five field goals and Cassius Vaughn, a cornerback who had intercepted just three passes in his four-year career before Sunday's game, picked off Fitzpatrick twice.
Quarterback Andrew Luck passed for 200 yards for the Colts (8-4).
Fitzpatrick passed for 201 yards with a touchdown and ran for 54 yards. The Titans' other touchdown was in the second quarter. Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions and lost a fumble. Tennessee's players shared the blame with Fitzpatrick.
"He just had one of those games today where it wasn't all on sync," Titans receiver Nate Washington said. "It wasn't just him, it was all of us. We're a family, we're an offense, and we put that blame on us as a whole."
Running back Chris Johnson rushed for 69 yards and had 32 yards receiving with a touchdown for the Titans (5-7), whose playoff hopes took a hit.
"It's unfortunate that we're here, but when you have things that land this way, there's no back down," Washington said. "We're not going to lay down and quit."
In the first quarter, the Colts converted a fourth-and-1 to keep a drive alive, then Vinatieri made a 47-yard field goal to give Indianapolis a 3-0 lead.
Vinatieri hit a 48-yard field goal later in the quarter to bump Indy's lead to 6-0.
Tennessee pulled ahead with a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Fitzpatrick and the extra point in the opening minutes of the second quarter.
Vinatieri answered with a 45-yard field goal to put Indianapolis up 9-7 early in the second quarter.
"Those are by no means chip shots," Luck said. "To have a security blanket like that, to have a guy like that -- it makes a big difference. It really does, especially when we're struggling like that."
The Titans were moving the ball and trying to work their way into field-goal range when Vaughn intercepted a pass by Fitzpatrick in the final minute of the first half.
The Colts, facing a third-and-17 at their 46 with 7 seconds left in the half, caught a break. Luck connected with wide receiver T.Y. Hilton for 20 yards and Tennessee linebacker Moise Fokou hit Luck in the back after he released the ball to tack an extra 15 yards onto the end of the play. Vinatieri's 37-yard field goal as time expired in the first half gave the Colts a 12-7 lead at the break.
Tennessee took the opening possession of the third quarter and faced a fourth-and-goal from the Colts' 1-yard line when Fitzpatrick found Johnson in the end zone for the score. The 14-play, 80-yard drive took 7:31 and gave the Titans a 14-12 lead.
Tennessee was in scoring range again when Colts linebacker Robert Mathis sacked Fitzpatrick and forced him to fumble. Freeman recovered and ran it back to the Tennessee 32-yard line. Vinatieri's fifth field goal, this one from 49 yards, gave the Colts the lead at 15-14.
The Colts, as they often do, hung on for the close victory.
"We've still got a lot of mistakes to clean up, a lot of things we need to improve on," Luck said. "When we win these types of games, it's a positive sign."
Notes: Tennessee TE Craig Stevens (concussion) and WR Damian Williams (hip) were inactive. ... Colts' inactives were ILB Kavell Conner (ankle) and CB Greg Toler (groin). ... The Colts lost to the St. Louis Rams 38-8 in their previous home game, one of their worst home losses ever. ... The Colts improved to 9-0 under coach Chuck Pagano following a loss. ... Colts K Adam Vinatieri became the second NFL kicker to score at least 800 points with two different NFL teams. Morten Andersen was the first player to accomplish the feat. Vinatieri also has scored 100 or more points 16 times in his career, tying an NFL record. ... Titans TE Delanie Walker took a hard hit late in the first quarter and missed the rest of the game with a concussion.