Carson Wentz’s late blunder, Colts, set up key Titans win

INDIANAPOLIS – A pair of brutal Carson Wentz mistakes cost the Colts a game they needed to have, and Indianapolis now finds its playoff hopes in dire straits after a 34-31 loss to Tennessee.

The Colts (3-5) are now three games behind Tennessee (6-2) in the AFC South standings, essentially ending their chances of winning the division. Fivethirtyeight.com’s playoff odds took the Colts down 53% to 35% with the loss.

1. Carson Wentz kills the Colts

For most of the season, Wentz has been good for the Colts, and at one point on Sunday he had made 212 straight unintercepted attempts, the longest streak in Indianapolis history.

And Wentz threw three touchdown passes on Sunday, including two to Michael Pittman Jr. early on.

For most of the game, however, Indianapolis focused on throwing the ball, and the big plays Wentz had produced did not materialize, aside from an early 37-yard finish from Jonathan Taylor.

Then Wentz made a brutal mistake, the kind he’s only made a few times this season, but a terrible mistake considering the space. After the defense forced Tennessee to kick in a draw and gave the Colts a two-minute drill with a chance to win it, Wentz held the ball too long on the goal line, took a hit and then kicked it off. tried to throw it with his left hand to avoid a sack.

Titans defensive back Elijah Molden took over the desperate play at the 2-yard line and sailed into the end zone for the score, giving Tennessee a 31-24 lead.

Playing in desperation mode, Wentz found Michael Pittman Jr. for a key 38-yard midfield completion, then hung up a ball for Ashton Dulin in the end zone which created a pass interference penalty, setting up the game tying 1 yard led by Jonathan Taylor to force overtime.

Indianapolis got the ball first in overtime, but Wentz missed the first set twice, forcing a punt that gave Tennessee a shot at winning the game. The Colts defense forced a 3-and-out, but on the drive that followed, Wentz shot deep into the cover despite an open checkdown to Taylor, and Kevin Byard recovered the ball to set up the winning basket. Tennessee.

2. The two components of the Colts pass the defensive fight until it is too late

On a day when the Colts took away the Titans ‘best offensive weapon, a still awkward Indianapolis pass defense couldn’t hold up against Ryan Tannehill, AJ Brown and the Titans’ passing game.

Kenny Moore knocked out Tannehill in game two of the game, and Tyquan Lewis knocked out Tannehill later in the game on a bizarre play that came back to the Titans when Lewis suffered a devastating knee injury and dropped the ball.

Outside of those two games, however, Indianapolis struggled to do anything to slow Tennessee’s passing game early. The Colts sacked Tannehill three times, and as a result, the Titans quarterback had plenty of time to find Brown for eight catches, 131 yards and a 57-yard touchdown because of a weak tackle attempt by the running back. corner of Indianapolis Xavier Rhodes. The Titans converted seven of 10 third downs at one point, and two they missed were Lewis’s fumble pick and a stoppage that ended up turning into a fourth conversion with Tannehill’s legs.

3. The Colts finally overpower Derrick Henry

For years, the Titans superstar has been the running back the Colts’ defense can’t stop, a monster who had rushed over 100 yards in his last four outings against Indianapolis.

The Colts have gathered the pieces of a good performance against Henry in the past, but the good things have always been offset by Henry breaking free for a series of explosive races that get practice going.

This time, the big game never came.

Tennessee will always keep giving Henry the ball, even on a bad day, and the Titans kept hammering with their big backs on Sunday. Henry appeared to have holes early in the game on several occasions, only for those holes to be closed by Kenny Moore, Bobby Okereke or Darius Leonard.

Fighting hard on the line of scrimmage, the Colts kept Henry just 68 yards in 28 runs, limiting the impact of the MVP contender and forcing the Titans to be one-dimensional, rather than the two-pronged monster they have often been. in the past . In overtime, Indianapolis got its stoppage by fending off Henry for a 3-yard loss that kept the Titans from converting.


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