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.