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Colts hang tight to top Titans in crucial AFC South matchup


Zack Moss upstaged the return of Jonathan Taylor by running for a career-high 165 yards and two scores and Gardner Minshew was sharp in relief of the injured Anthony Richardson to lead the Indianapolis Colts past the Tennessee Titans 23-16 on Sunday.

The Colts (3-2) snapped a seven-game losing streak at home by beating the Titans (2-3) for the first time in six tries.

Richardson left with a right shoulder injury late in the first half. He stayed down several minutes before walking slowly from the field to the injury tent with his shoulder drooped. Several minutes later, he came out of the tent and walked with the team’s medical personnel into the locker room.

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Richardson was ruled out early in the third quarter after going 9 of 12 for 98 yards. Minshew was 11 of 14 for 155 yards in relief of Richardson.

Michael Pittman makes a catch

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (11) makes a catch against Tennessee Titans cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting (0) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

On a day when most expected Taylor or Tennessee’s Derrick Henry to be the focus, it was Moss who dazzled. He averaged 7.2 yards on 23 carries in his second 100-yard game this season, caught two passes for 30 yards and made play after play — just one day after the Colts announced they signed Taylor to a three-year contract extension.

Tennessee had won the previous four in Indy, but this one hardly resembled the others. Although Ryan Tannehill was effective and efficient while going 23 of 34 with 264 yards, he had a game-sealing interception in the waning seconds. Henry was held to 43 yards on 13 carries.

The difference was that while Moss scored TDs, the Titans settled for field goals.

Moss’ 56-yard sprint up the middle late in the first quarter gave Indy a 7-3 lead. The teams traded two more field goals before halftime and then Tyjae Spears scored his first career TD on a 19-yard run to open the third quarter.

But Moss answered by powering across from 3 yards out on the next series to give Indy a 17-13 lead.

Indy put it away by making two more field goals, stopping Henry on fourth-and-1 from the Indy 5-yard line with 8:03 to play, using all but 60 seconds left on the clock and picking off Tannehill.

DeAndre Hopkins caught eight passes for a season-high 140 yards for Tennessee.

BY THE NUMBERS

Titans: The Titans started this week with the NFL’s No. 4 run defense. … Henry nearly had his second TD pass in two weeks, but Hopkins’ left foot came down out of bounds. … Hopkins had more yards receiving than the rest of the Titans combined (124). … Tennessee is 0-3 on the road this season.

Colts: Indy won its first home game since October 2022. … Taylor carried six times for 18 yards in his first game action since Dec. 17. … Minshew has relieved Richardson in two of Indy’s wins this season. He started the other game. … Rookie Josh Downs caught six passes for 97 yards.

INJURY REPORT

Titans: DT Jeffrey Simmons left in the first half with what appeared to be a shoulder injury and WR Treylon Burks missed his second straight game with an injured left knee. Jeff

Colts: In addition to losing Richardson, TE Mo Alie-Cox entered the concussion protocol after his head bounced hard off the turf in the second half. LT Bernhard Raimann and DE Kwity Paye both sat out, still in the protocol and three-time All-Pro LB Shaquille Leonard (groin) missed the game.

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UP NEXT

Titans: Travel to London to face Baltimore next Sunday.

Colts: Head to Jacksonville next Sunday for a rematch with the Jaguars.



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