INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians referred to Sunday's 27-23 come-from-behind win over the Tennessee Titans as a tale of two halves.
He wasn't too far wrong.
Over the first two quarters of the game, Tennessee was firmly in control, taking a 20-7 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Titans had outgained a lethargic Indianapolis offense 270-111, limiting the running game to a paltry 12 yards.
Tennessee's defense, meanwhile, caused havoc whenever the Colts tried to throw the football. The Titans' front four overwhelmed Indianapolis' offensive line, sacking rookie quarterback Andrew Luck three times and picking off two of his passes. One of those interceptions was returned 40 yards for a touchdown by weak-side linebacker Will Witherspoon.
It certainly wasn't a productive half of football for a Colts team that had won eight of its first 12 games this season and is in contention for one of the two available AFC playoff wild-card berths. Things looked bleak for Indianapolis.
Somehow, though, the Colts got their act together over the third and fourth quarters en route to posting their ninth victory of the year.
It started with the opening drive of the third quarter. Indianapolis got the ball first to begin the second half and marched 80 yards in 14 yards, culminating in a 1-yard run by Delone Carter. That narrowed the margin to 20-14 with 8:36 left in the quarter.
Barely three minutes later, on Tennessee's second possession of the half, cornerback Cassius Vaughn intercepted a Jake Locker pass and returned it three yards for a touchdown. The Titans had been pinned at their own 1-yard line after a 52-yard punt by Pat McAfee rolled out of bounds.
Just like that, Indianapolis had rallied for a 21-20 lead. Two Adam Vinatieri field goals, one boomed from 53 yards out and the other from 40 yards, were sandwiched around a 25-yard field goal by Titans placekicker Rob Bironas.