Mike Vrabel warned the team not to get too confident. "This game has a way of humbling you," the Titans' coach said on Friday.
Although it may not have been overconfidence alone that led the Titans to drop to 5-5 overall, the 38-10 Week 11 loss to the Colts was a major letdown.
The Titans' offense looked good to start its first drive of the game, but it stalled at the Colts' 34-yard line when quarterback Marcus Mariota was sacked for an 8-yard loss that knocked them out of field goal range. Mariota and the Titans went three-and-out on the next series, leading to a 51-yard punt return by Chester Rogers that set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Colts running back Marlon Mack to open the scoring.
"We didn't go a good enough job of coaching and executing in the red zone," Vrabel said after the game. "Every series in this league you have to prove your value as a coach and a player. If you don't do that in this league, you'll get beat. There's a lot of things missing from today. All three phases. You can look at the punt team. You can look at the offense. You can look at the defense and obviously the coaching. There was a lot wrong today, but we will come back and keep fighting."
Andrew Luck and the Colts dominated the Titans' defense with a mixture of three-tight-end sets and the speed of wideout T.Y. Hilton, who finished with nine receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns. Adoree Jackson struggled in coverage against Hilton after his solid outing last week against Patriots receiver Josh Gordon.
"That was all me. You can't put that on anyone else but me," Jackson said. "I look at it as we were out there playing man-to-man. Things, man, he just caught some balls. I had some that I could have broken up. I could have been in better position. It was just me."
During the first quarter, Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees left the coach's box after receiving care from the medical staff. Pees was taken to a hospital for further evaluation. The defense had allowed only seven points before Pees left, but Indianapolis went on to score 17 points in the second quarter.
Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur didn't aggressively attack the Colts' secondary even though they were without starting cornerback Nate Hairston and starting safety Malik Hooker. Whatever life was left in the offense was drained just before halftime when Mariota was sacked by defensive end Denico Autry and promptly taken into the locker room with an elbow injury.
Mariota was on the sideline for the second half, and QB Blaine Gabbert replaced him for the rest of the game.
Tennessee never could get much going on either side of the ball. After allowing a league-low 16.8 points per game, the Titans' defense gave up 38 points to the Colts.
Luck continued his dominance of the Titans by extending his win streak against them to 10 games. He picked on Jackson as he traveled with Hilton for most of the game.
Jackson will have to turn the page quickly, as he'll likely draw Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins in the Titans' "Monday Night Football" game at Houston. Fellow cornerback Logan Ryan is confident that the second-year cornerback will be able to move on.
"He has to learn from it," Ryan said. "T.Y. Hilton is a really good receiver. I told [Jackson] it's never as bad as you think. Adoree has a great short-term memory. He's built for this job, and he's one of the best at it."
Looking ahead, Mariota's status will be closely monitored because it was his right elbow that was injured, the same one that caused him to miss a game against the Houston Texans in Week 2 and part of the Week 3 game with the Jacksonville Jaguars.