It doesn’t matter where they play.
It doesn’t matter what their records are.
It doesn’t matter what color uniforms they wear.
It doesn’t matter who their coach is.
The Indianapolis Colts have the Titans’ number. They’ve cracked the code.
The Colts won their 11th straight game over the Titans in the series Sunday in Indy, beating the team 24-17. They have now won 16 of the last 17 games against the Titans.
It was 21-0 before the Titans knew what hit them. The Colts scored three touchdowns in their first three series. The Titans were busy practicing punting.
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck knew they needed a fast start. They got that but tapped the brakes too much in the second half.
“We need to learn how to sustain that start,’’ Luck said. “When we have a chance to put a good team away, we have to learn to do it. Teams are too good in this league for us not to be ruthless.’’
The Titans did win one facet of the game. Colts’ kicker, Adam Vinatieri, had made a NFL record 44 field goals in a row, but he was wide right on a 42-yard attempt. At least the Titans played outstanding field goal defense.
The Titans came up just short of catching them, but it was the same old story.
Just when Titans Coach Mike Mularkey said last week that his team had learned to win close games against good teams, it turns out the Green Bay Packers are not the Lombardi Packers, but a middle of the pack team.
The Titans regular season record against the Colts is 13-31. The Colts swept the Titans for the 10th season overall and are 18-6 at home.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota did his part and is becoming a steady, productive player.
Mariota was sacked five times for a loss of 36 yards. He hit on 25 of 38 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns. He added five runs for 29 yards, a 5.8 yard per carry effort. The Colts held the Titans DeMarco Muray in check for much of the game. He had 21 carries for 70 yards, a 3.3 yard per carry average. The Colts stopped him late in the game on fourth and one.
After the first half the Titans defense held the Colts to three points in the second half. Colts running back Frank Gore had 71 yards on four carries, a 17.8 yard per carry average.
Luck hit wide receiver T.Y. Hilton five times for 97 yards and a touchdown.
The Titans did not have their best day. A fake punt on fourth and two fooled no one. They converted third downs only five times in 14 situations. They were one of three on fourth downs. Just when you think they have cut down on penalties, the Titans had 11 flags that cost them 109 yards – not what they needed.
They dropped below .500 at 5-6 on the season while the Colts evened their record at 5-5.
The Titans will have to wait until next year.
They had chances to win both games against the Colts, but they are still learning to do what it takes.
Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.