INDIANAPOLIS – A championship-type start from the Colts on Sunday, in front of the 2006 Super Bowl XLI team, led to the 2016 squad getting a very important win.
After jumping out to a 21-0 lead on Sunday, the Colts hung on for a 24-17 victory over the Titans—the 11th straight win they’ve had over Tennessee.
The celebration of Sunday’s victory will be short with the Colts (5-5) getting ready for a Thanksgiving night matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5).
Here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.
TORRID START – It was a start the Colts hadn’t seen since Peyton Manning was under center. The Colts scored touchdowns on each of their first three drives Sunday—doing that for the first time since 2009. The 21-0 lead for the Colts (in the game’s first 20 minutes) was the biggest margin Indy has had this season.
PLAYS COME LATE – It was a very sluggish end to the second quarter and third quarter for the Colts. With the Titans making things more than interesting, the Colts got the winning plays late. On defense, it was Clayton Geathers stoning DeMarco Murray on a 4th-and-1. Then, on offense, Andrew Luck found T.Y. Hilton for a 3rd-and-5 completion to ice the victory.
SACK-FILLED AFTERNOON – Coming into Sunday, the Titans had given up just 13 sacks in the first 10 games of the season. But the Colts found a way to sack Marcus Mariota five times in Week 11. The sacks were the highlight of a pretty solid day for the defense, with Murray (the NFL’s second-leading rusher) held to just 3.3 yards per carry.
2006 TEAM HONORED – It took a while for the concessions to see any halftime business on Sunday afternoon. The Colts honored their 2006 Super Bowl team at half, with fans staying in their seats to show their appreciation. Fittingly, Robert Mathis (sack) and Adam Vinatieri (49-yard field goal), two players on that ’06 team, had big-time plays in Sunday’s victory.
WORK ON THANKSGIVING – For just the fourth time in franchise history, the Colts will be playing a game on Thanksgiving. This one will come at home, with the Colts (5-5) taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5). This will be the first time the Colts have ever played a home game on Thanksgiving.
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This week’s “Back-Up of the Game” presented by Venyu is inside linebacker Edwin Jackson.
The days of Jackson taking home this honor might be coming to an end.
It’s not because of Jackson’s play.
The 2015 undrafted free agent appears to have secured the vacant starting linebacker spot next to D’Qwell Jackson.
On Sunday, the younger Jackson had five tackles, a sack and still filled his duties on special teams (with a tackle on that unit, too).
The sack for Jackson came on a play when he was in coverage, but came up to get the elusive Marcus Mariota on the ground.
In total, the Colts had a season-high five sacks on Sunday (the Titans had given up just 13 sacks in their first 10 games of the season). This one from Jackson came on the final drive for the Titans.
“That D-line, they were getting him out of the pocket,” Jackson said in describing his sacks. “I’ve got to say thanks to the D-line — they were busting their butts up front and making Mariota feel pressure to get out, and back deep he had nowhere to throw it, so he had to get out of there. And I was just on the back side in the zone just doing my job and making sure that he doesn’t bust loose and get more yards. So it was a team effort: it started up front, they held it down in the back with the coverage, and I was just in my zone handling my work, so we all contributed to the team effort.”
The win was a team effort as well, and Jackson figures to be a big part of that down the stretch.
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