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Knee-jerk reactions: Colts capture 31-28 OT win against Titans to improve to 7-5 on 2023 season

The Colts improve to 7-5 with an overtime win over the Tennessee Titans.

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Robert Scheer/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Indianapolis Colts improved to 7-5 on the season with a 31-28 victory over the Tennessee Titans in overtime. In one of the wildest games of the season, the Colts (somehow) managed to top Tennessee and will now turn their attention to the Cincinnati Bengals, who will face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday Night Football.

QB GARDNER MINSHEW, OFFENSE COME UP CLUTCH FOR COLTS IN OT

Down 28-25 with just over three minutes left to go in overtime, the Indianapolis Colts asked their veteran quarterback to deliver in the moment, and Gardner Minshew did just that with completions to wideouts Alec Pierce and Michael Pittman Jr., who grabbed the game-winning score. In one of Minshew’s better performances of the season, he marched Indianapolis right down the field to secure the overtime win. Yes, Minshew had some misses throughout Sunday’s contest, including two passes intended for Pierce that would’ve changed the momentum of Indianapolis. But let’s be sure to give Minshew the credit he deserves, as he completed 26-of-42 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner to Pittman Jr. in overtime. In a game where the Colts leaned on their veteran quarterback, Minshew delivered when it mattered most.

On a day where the Colts struggled to run the ball consistently with backup running back Zack Moss (19 attempts, 51 rushing yards), it was their wide receivers that showed up in a massive way. Wideouts Michael Pittman Jr. (11 receptions, 105 yards and one touchdown) and Alec Pierce (three receptions, 100 yards and one touchdown) both had massive afternoons that were instrumental in the Colts again finding a way to win close against Tennessee. Tight end Kylen Granson also had 72 receiving yards on three receptions.

In total, Indianapolis’ offense amassed 367 yards of offense and did just enough in key spots to help themselves secure a second victory over the Titans this season. Winning ugly matters in the NFL, and for the last few games, the Colts have been able to find ways to get it done. Additionally, Indianapolis extends its winning streak to four games, the most for them since 2018.

COLTS’ RUSH DEFENSE STRUGGLES BUT PASS RUSH AND SPECIAL TEAMS MAKE PLAYS WHEN IT’S NEEDED MOST

Yet again, Indianapolis rush defense struggled mightily in stopping opposing running backs Derrick Henry and Tyjae Spears. Henry, who had two total rushing touchdowns on the day, got going early with a touchdown on Tennessee’s opening possession and garnered a total of 102 rushing yards on 21 attempts before exiting the game late with a possible concussion. For Spears, the rookie rushed for a career-high 75 yards on 16 attempts, an average of 4.7 yards per carry. Defensive tackle Grover Stewart has been missed greatly by this Colts’ defensive front, and it’s shown throughout recent weeks. There’s no question that Indy will certainly be glad to get him back into the starting lineup Sunday against the Bengals.

Indianapolis’ pass rush again came alive in key spots for the Colts Sunday. The Colts’ defense, which now has 42 sacks on the season, including 21 in their last four games, sacked Titans’ quarterback Will Levis six times Sunday. Defensive ends Samson Ebukam and Kwity Paye each had two sacks and six total tackles as well. While Indy’s pass rush may not have closed Sunday’s game out as they did in Week 12 against Tampa Bay, they’ve been playing about as consistently as arguably any unit over the last month.

How many people had two blocked punts for the Colts on their bingo card? You won’t see me raising my hand, but that’s exactly what Indy’s special teams’ unit did Sunday. Both blocked punts resulted in ten total points for the Colts, including a return for a touchdown, which swung the momentum in Indy’s favor late in the third quarter. Indianapolis’ offense had its struggles in the red zone throughout points of Sunday’s game, and both blocked punts not only came at the right time but were critical in the Colts’ victory.