Titans rewarded with 1st Monday off this season for big win
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey wouldn't even answer when asked about Tennessee ending its stretch of futility against the Colts, simply shaking his head to ignore the question in the locker room.
Thinking about possibly ending the skid against their AFC South rivals can wait.
The Titans want to spend a few extra hours enjoying their biggest win in recent seasons.
They will turn their attention officially to Indianapolis on Wednesday because routing the Green Bay Packers 47-25 earned players their first Victory Monday off this season. It's a well-deserved break for a franchise second in the AFC South and at .500 this late in a season for the first time since 2011.
Tennessee coaches started Monday trying to figure out how to beat the Colts in Indianapolis where the Titans haven't won since 2007, and coach Mike Mularkey expects most players will either work or study on their own. The Titans have never won in eight games at Lucas Oil Stadium and have lost 10 straight overall and 15 of the last 16.
Mularkey said the Titans have to learn how to win these games.
''We have to do that in Indy,'' Mularkey said. ''We have to do that Week 11. We have to do that because we're in the chase for a playoff spot. Those are things we have to learn how to do, and I think we're learning. This is a process we're going through right now. We're learning a lot about ourselves. These are the games we've got to learn how to win.''
The Titans (5-5) not only have turned around from a 1-3 start this season, they also have matched the win total for the past two years combined by winning four of their past six games.
Tennessee is winning with an offense putting up numbers that rank with the NFL's best:
- The Titans are averaging 33.7 points a game over the past six weeks, which has pushed them to eighth in the NFL in points per game. Tennessee didn't score more than 16 points in each of its first three games.
- Tennessee has scored at least 35 points in three consecutive games in a single season for the first time in franchise history.
- They lead the NFL with 26 touchdowns on 34 trips inside the 20, a 76.5 percent conversion rate.
- Marcus Mariota currently is the AFC's second-highest rated passer at 99.6, behind only Tom Brady, and seventh in the NFL.
- The quarterback also leads the AFC with 21 TD passes, trailing only Drew Brees and Matt Ryan (24 each) and Aaron Rodgers (22).
- Murray is the NFL's second-leading rusher behind only Ezekiel Elliott of Dallas. Murray also is tied for third for most touchdowns scored with 10 and is third in the league for most yards from scrimmage (1,189).
Putting up 47 points against Green Bay was a big confidence boost for the Titans.
''I think it is a high stepping-stone, you know it is getting us in the right direction,'' Mariota said after the win. ''There is still a lot of season left, a lot of things we have to go and accomplish. Hopefully, we can use this as momentum going into the rest of the year.''
That starts Sunday against the Colts (4-5). Tennessee lost 34-26 to Indianapolis on Oct. 23 . The Titans then visit Chicago (2-7) before finally getting their bye. They finish hosting Denver (7-3) followed by a two-game road swing at Kansas City (7-2) and Jacksonville (2-7).
Their season finale Jan. 1 hosting Houston could be for the AFC South title for a franchise that hasn't reached the postseason since 2008.
''We're trying to keep going in a positive direction in a lot of different ways,'' Mularkey said.
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