The Indianapolis Colts have now lost five straight to the Tennessee Titans, falling to their divisional rival 19-10 on Sunday. With a lot on the line and a goal of capturing their first AFC South win since 2014, the Colts couldn’t seem to get out of their own way.
TURNOVERS DETRIMENTAL AS COLTS’ OFFENSE STRUGGLES AGAIN
After putting together a strong performance offensively against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 6, the Colts’ offense — yet again — struggled to find success against the Titans Sunday. Two drives early on that showed promise were quickly stifled by ill-advised turnovers from quarterback Matt Ryan, who now leads the league with nine interceptions.
Ryan’s turnovers have hampered Indy’s offense at times this season, and his two interceptions, including an untimely pick-six, loomed large Sunday as ten of Tennessee’s 19 points came off those turnovers.
In running back Jonathan Taylor’s first game back, he totaled 58 rushing yards on ten carries. The ground game found a fair amount of success, so some may be wondering why the Colts didn’t lean on perhaps their best offensive player more often, especially with the inconsistencies in the passing game for much of the afternoon.
Despite outgaining the Titans in total yardage 292 to 254, it was ultimately the offense who couldn’t get out of their own way and committed far too many turnovers that cost the Colts a chance at coming away with their third straight win.
DEFENSE DOES ITS JOB WHILE NOT GETTING MUCH HELP FROM OFFENSE
Indianapolis’ defense did its job Sunday, holding the Titans to 254 total yards on offense. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was sacked twice and had only 132 passing yards on 13 completions. Additionally, Tennessee’s offense, which entered Sunday’s game as one of the NFL’s best at scoring touchdowns in the red zone, didn’t score a single offensive touchdown and scored 12 points on field goals on all trips inside the red zone.
The Titans’ leading receiver was tight end Austin Hooper, who had only three receptions for 56 yards on the afternoon. Running back Derrick Henry was also kept in check for the most part as well. While Henry had 130 rushing yards on 30 attempts, he broke off a few big runs late to surpass the 100-yard mark and hadn’t really gashed Indy’s run defense the same way he did back in Week 4.
As has been the story for much of the 2022 season, Indy’s defense did its part Sunday and put together a much stronger performance the second time around against Tennessee. But it was all for nothing, as the offense failed to play complementary football.
PLAYOFFS, FIRST AFC SOUTH TITLE SINCE 2014 LOOK LIKE A LONG SHOT AFTER 3-3-1 START
Sunday showed what the Colts are through seven games in 2022: Average. Even when Indianapolis’ defense hasn’t performed well, the offense hasn’t provided much assistance aside from perhaps a few games this season. Simply put: The offense is far too inconsistent each week and commits costly turnovers in crucial spots.
The Colts, who have aspirations of capturing their first AFC South title since 2014, look like a 7 to 8-win team seven games in. They’ve got talent on both sides of the ball, but Indianapolis can’t seem to find its footing and struggle to play complimentary football on a week-to-week basis.
At this point, an AFC South title and playoff berth look like long shots. There are still 11 weeks of regular season football left, and we’ve seen the Colts come back from worse starts (1-5 in 2018, 1-4 in 2021), but the struggles that have haunted them so far this season may be too much to overcome.