Second-half struggles sink Titans in loss to Colts

Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 4:58pm
Staff reports

Jake Locker threw a pair of second-half interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown as the Tennessee Titans lost their third straight game and fifth of the last six, 27-23 to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at Indianapolis.

"We played a good, solid first half in a lot of ways and played to how we thought we were able to," coach Mike Munchak said. "... Turn the ball over twice, one for points, really both times for points. Ten points when you had two turnovers and that put us in a spot and they converted in the four-minute drill to win the game.

"So we had opportunities once again and didn’t make the plays in the second half.”

The Titans (4-9) led by 13 at halftime, 20-7, and were back on top 23-21 after Rob Bironas’ third field goal, a 25-yard kick with 10:48 to play in the fourth quarter.

The Colts (9-4) answered with two Adam Vinatieri field goals, the second with 3:48 remaining. That 40-yard kick came three plays after Locker’s second interception, which Indianapolis’ Darius Butler made at the Tennessee 35 and returned eight yards.

Locker and the rest of the Titans’ offense got the ball back just once after that. They made one first down but then punted with 2:42 to play. The Colts held the ball for the remainder of the game.

"We didn’t close out the game the way we needed to," defensive end Derrick Morgan said. "We gave them some opportunities to score. A couple turnovers on offense, but it’s on us to keep them off the field.”

Indianapolis went ahead for the first time when cornerback Cassius Vaughn intercepted a pass deep in Titans territory and retuned it three yards for a touchdown. That made it 21-20.

"We came out of the locker room at halftime winning the game and expecting to put up the same kind of effort we did in the first half," running back Chris Johnson said. "It just gets frustrating when you see a team slowly coming back. They made some big plays. They came out after halftime and drove down and got a score. Then they got us down on our one-yard line and got an interception, a pick-six. The momentum can switch very quick.”

The loss guaranteed the Titans their second losing season in three years and dropped them to 0-5 against AFC South opponents in 2012. It was just their second defeat in six games they led at halftime.

Tennessee took control of the contest with 13 unanswered points in the second quarter. The lone touchdown came on Will Witherspoon’s 40-yard interception return.

Locker gave the Titans an early 7-0 lead when his 18-yard touchdown pass to Jared Cook capped the opening possession.

The second-year quarterback was 15-for-20 for 213 yards and the touchdown in the first half but finished 22-for-35 for 262 yards and his third straight multi-interception game. Since he returned from a shoulder injury he has thrown five touchdown passes and seven interceptions.

"We just made some mistakes," Locker said. "We had turnovers. We didn’t have that in the first half. Those are things that can be a difference between gaining a bunch of yards and scoring points and not."

Johnson became the eighth player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first five seasons. He reached that mark in the first half but finished with just 44 yards on 19 attempts.

Kenny Britt led all players on either side with eight receptions for 148 yards. It was his first 100-yard receiving game since Sept. 18, 2011 and his highest single-game total since he had 225 on Oct. 24, 2010 against Philadelphia.

14 Comments on this post:

By: jwk6179 on 12/9/12 at 4:14

The article failed to mention that this loss also officially eliminated the Tennessee Titans from the play-offs. They are one of four AFC teams (Chiefs, Jaguars and Raiders) that have been officially eliminated from play-off contention. WTG, Titans!!

By: courier37027 on 12/9/12 at 4:31

While other teams are racing beyond the Titans in standings, local fans call it "rebuilding".

The Titans are now playing for pride. And no one plays better for pride than your Tennessee Titans. Maybe they can earn a first round bye in the Pride Playoffs.

By: shinestx on 12/9/12 at 9:06

LOL... Jake Locker should change his name to Jake Loser.

By: shinestx on 12/9/12 at 9:09

Actually, for the first time in 15 years, I did not care that the Titans were playing. I didn't watch the game.. nor care. I went out and ran errands. When I tuned occasionally into the radio I was at first surprised that they were winning... then everything returned to normal. I turned the game off after the field goal that put Indy up by 1. After that, I just assumed the Titans would lost. I was right.

By: TITAN1 on 12/9/12 at 10:56

LOL! The joy suckers are rearing their ugly heads! REAL fans back their HOMETOWN team through thick and thin! GO TITANS! Life is good gentlemen! Learn to enjoy it! God bless!

By: Jughead on 12/10/12 at 8:57

Hahahahaha---the Titans will be perennial losers as long as Bud steers the ship. You would have to pay me to attend a Titans game.

Terrible, awful product--year in, year out.

By: Silverado1960 on 12/10/12 at 9:38

Much like shinetex said is true. Titans do it everytime like that with a full head of steam in the first half, then let it all go in the second.
Bud Adams got his money, so the rest never matters is the way some of us think & it's sad to see it.
Makes me wonder why Tennessee even has a team at all, & I watch it, but it's like watching a dead horse fall on the track most of the time.

By: thud241 on 12/10/12 at 10:20

There are some really good players with the Titans, but as a team chronically sub par with an occasional flash of near mediocrity. Probably the closest thing the NFL has to a farm club. Watching them play makes one really appreciate the Weather Channel.

By: jwk6179 on 12/10/12 at 10:21

TITAN1, Bud Adams depends on fans like you to drink his Kool-Aid and to believe that he really cares about the city of Nashville and really wants to be here. The only thing Bud Adams cares about is your money and for you keep buying his excuse for a NFL team.

By: TITAN1 on 12/10/12 at 12:50

jw,, you are a riot! LOL!

By: Jughead on 12/10/12 at 3:30

@Titan: Hurry tp LP Field, remove your pants, and bend over. Repeat every year x10.

By: 4gold on 12/10/12 at 7:15

A decade of rebuilding while Colts beat them with one year of rebuilding. You could see the landslide coming in first half when they kept settling for field goals. Locker still cant get into the end zone. But not all his fault. The O line was the major failure last year and they did next to nothing to beef it up. Now they have been paying for it all year long and act surprized. Plain and simple they STINK. Titan1 can do the one man wave. We made the final four. First four to be eliminated.

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville a great place to live!

By: TITAN1 on 12/10/12 at 8:01

jughead, I'm curious. Do you talk as filthy to people in person as you do anonymously online? I sure hope you are a better person than that and that you just let your juvenile ways come out online.

By: TITAN1 on 12/10/12 at 8:03

4gold, I'm just not a whiner and complainer like you are. You will never be happy because you always choose to be negative.