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Chig Okonkwo’s receiving numbers Sunday were not big in the literal sense. He caught just three passes for 38 yards in the Tennessee Titans’ 24-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

They were big, however, in that every one of Okonkwo’s yards were important.

Plus, they were enough to make the rookie tight end, a fourth-round pick out of Maryland, the Titans’ leader in that regard on a day when quarterback Ryan Tannehill spread 17 completions among seven different receivers. Wide receiver Robert Woods and running back Dontrell Hilliard caught more passes (each had four receptions) but finished with 30 and 18 yards, respectively.

In the first four games of this season, Tennessee has had four different leaders in receiving yards – and three of the four have been rookies. Okonkwo joined wide receivers Kyle Philips (Week 1) and Treylon Burks (Week 2) as chart-toppers.

A game-by-game rundown of the Tennessee Titans’ leader in receiving yards this season:


Kyle Philips

N.Y. Giants




Treylon Burks





Robert Woods

Las Vegas




Chig Okonkwo





Okonkwo’s final seven yards at Indianapolis – on a third-and-4 with 1:49 to play – assured the triumph and allowed Tennessee to exhaust the remaining time with three kneel-downs from Tannehill.

On the play, Okonkwo lined up as the tailback behind Derrick Henry at fullback. Tannehill faked a handoff to Henry and threw to Okonkwo, who ran directly toward the right sideline. The call exploited Indianapolis’ overload against the run, which allowed Okonkwo to get open.

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It was the Titans' only third-down conversion (on six tries) after halftime.

“Figured that first down would win it,” coach Mike Vrabel said. “We loved the call. We got a good look and (were) able to execute. And (Okonkwo) stayed inbounds, just all the things we talked about (in that situation). … I thought it was well-executed. Chig caught it, secured the ball, and stayed inbounds.”

Okonkwo’s first reception went for 23 yards late in the first quarter and ended up as the longest gain for the offense on a day when the Colts had four pass plays of 25 yards or more. Henry followed with a 19-yard touchdown run on the next snap that gave the Titans a 14-0 lead.

Okonkwo then made it 24-3 with an 8-yard touchdown reception with 7:40 to play in the second quarter. Those turned out to be the decisive points as Tennessee was held scoreless after halftime for the third time in four games.

“He's done a couple of things throughout the season so far, and I think that momentum is building,” Tannehill said. “He's a talented guy obviously. It's fun to see him making those plays for us out on the offensive side of the ball. He's got so many talents. He's great with the ball in his hands.

“So, to see it pay off and get him in the end zone for his first touchdown, it was a lot of fun.”

Those were the only times he was targeted on the day.

In three games before Sunday, Okonkwo had just one reception for 11 yards. That was back in Week 1 against the New York Giants. His most notable moment in the first three weeks was a dubious one, a 4-yard loss on a third-down run play in the fourth quarter against the Giants, when the Titans tried – unsuccessfully – to protect a lead.

“We, I challenged (Okonkwo) all week [about] finding ways to help us,” Vrabel said. “Continuing to understand how critical his role on special teams is, but [figuring out] where he can help us on offense.”