The Tennessee Titans answered their Week 10 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in definitive fashion Sunday.
Tennessee scored touchdowns on five of its first six possessions, stopped the Colts on six straight drives beginning in the second quarter (five punts, one interception), led by 21 points at halftime and 12 or more throughout the final two quarters.
When it was over, the Titans (8-3) had a 45-26 victory and sole possession of first place in the AFC South.
The Colts, meanwhile, had to answer a lot of questions about what went wrong. Here is a roundup of some of what Indianapolis players and coaches said following the defeat:
• Coach Frank Reich, on the difference in the game: “In big games, it’s about doing the little things right, and we didn’t do that in all three phases. We have to learn from that and get better. We had times that we have done that right in big moments. (Sunday), we did not do that right in the big moments.”
• Linebacker Darius Leonard, on the approach when trailing by 21 at halftime: “Yes, we were down. We’ve been down plenty of times, but you keep fighting. When you are in these situations, you find out what type of team you have. Who is quitting on you? Who’s going to keep playing? That’s what we have to do. That’s what I tried to do. That’s why the defense came out in the second half – it was more so, ‘Are we going to lay down or step up?’”
• Linebacker Anthony Walker, on the impact of defensive tackle DeForest Buckner’s absence due to COVID-19: “(Buckner) is a great player. We understand that, but we take no excuses. We understand that this is an NFL football game. Guys are up, guys are down. We have to be able to adjust. It comes down to that. We didn’t get the job done (Sunday) and we can’t make any excuses about who was out. It’s the NFL. Guys are going to be hurt, this is a weird year, COVID-19, everything. We can’t make any excuses.”
• Reich, on being without three key players who were on the COVID-19 reserve list: “We can’t allow circumstances to dictate what we’re about. In changing circumstances, that’s when I’d like to think that we’re going to be at our best and we were not at our best (Sunday).”
• Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, on Tennessee’s defense: “We couldn’t get going in the second half. I mean they did some things that got us out of rhythm. … We just have to find a way to get us going more. It is what it is.”
• Quarterback Philip Rivers, on the Titans’ pass rush: “I think they did ramp up the pressure and pressured a heck of a lot more than in the first outing. Was it in correspondence to injuries up front? I don’t know. I thought the guys up front fought their tail off. We started off great on those first two drives and then obviously hit that six series lull, ending all six possessions – five of them with a punt and the one long interception. It just wasn’t very good.”
• Reich, on the Titans’ run game: “They are good. They are well coached. They have good players. I give them a lot of credit, but one thing we talked about here in the locker room a second ago was – when we play our style of football, when we play the way we know we can play, we’ve proven that we can stop anybody.”
• Defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis, on Derrick Henry’s 178 rushing yards: “Give credit where credit is due. He is a great back you know. We just have to come out and execute better. We just have to perform better, execute and play together as a unit better, so that’s all it is.”
• Rivers, on the division race: “We can’t ride that wave. We have to just dig back in, look at our play critically and regroup for another division game on the road next week and there’s five to play. A lot can happen in five weeks as we know but were the same guys that pulled in here five hours ago, exact same guys, and certainly we have to play better. They out played us today and shoot they won the game.”
• Hilton, on the battle for first place in the AFC South: “It’s still early. We’ll be all right.”