JOE BIDDLE: Titans tame Colts

Tennessee Titans' Marcus Mariota (8) greets fans following an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in Indianapolis. Tennessee won 20-16. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

It wasn’t a game for the NFL’s historic classics vault.

It wasn’t always easy. That’s the way the Titans roll.

But it was a much-needed win over the Indianapolis Colts, a team that had a 9-game stranglehold over the Titans in Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Colts had a 3-3 record Sunday, with a quarterback only his mother would recognize. OK sports fans, what do you know about Jacoby Brissett?

No, he’s not Tennessee’s new football coach. Nor is he the head of Homeland Security. He was the Colts quarterback when the Titans won 36-22 at Nissan Stadium. Oh, that Jacoby Brissett.

Brissett suffered a concussion about two weeks ago and was in concussion protocol before being cleared to play just days before Sunday’s game.

The Titans trailed at halftime, 13-6. But they outscored the Colts 14-3 to get out of Naptown with a 20-16 win, running their record to 7-4 while the Colts dropped to 3-8.

Colts Coach Chuck Pagano’s postgame comments sounded a lot like some of Titans Coach Mike Mularkey after blowing leads and losing games.

“It’s a 60-minute game, not a 30-minute game, not a 45-minute game,’’ Pagano said. “We had plenty of opportunities to put that team away. We didn’t take advantage of those opportunities.’’

Pagano recited the number of penalties his team had. He talked about the turnovers the Titans got against the Colts.

“It’s about doing your job. It’s about finishing. It’s about playing 60 minutes,’’ Pagano surmised.

The Titans had their own problems. For the second game in a row Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was bitten by the interception snake. He threw two interceptions against the Colts. One was tipped, the other a bad pass.

That followed last Thursday’s four-interception game against the Steelers on Thursday night football.

Mariota was able to right the ship and finished 17 for 25 that included a touchdown pass.

The Titans ground game took over in the second half, depending on veteran DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry to keep them in the game.

Henry showed his mettle with 79 yards on 13 carries. Murray came in to aid a running attack that gained 92 yards on 28 carries that counted a one yard touchdown that put the Titans on top 20-16 with 5:59 left in the game.

Tight end Delanie Walker had four catches for 63 yards and a touchdown with a perfect throw from Mariota that ate up 37 yards. Rookie wide receiver Corey Davis caught all four of his targeted passes.

Next Sunday it will be off to Houston to try to keep pace in the AFC South race.

Joe Biddle is a sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at