INDIANAPOLIS -- Presented with a giant opportunity Sunday to push toward the top of the AFC South, the Tennessee Titans lost their 11th game in a row to the Indianapolis Colts and return home with a 5-6 record.
Running back DeMarco Murray failed to convert a fourth-and-1 from the Colts' 19-yard line with 2:42 remaining in the game. The Colts then made the Titans burn their timeouts, Andrew Luck made a pretty pass to T.Y. Hilton for a first down and the hosts held on for a 24-17 win.
“On a fourth-and-1, you’re going to talk about it and that’s your identity, you’ve got to make a first down, some how, some way,” coach Mike Mularkey said. “You’ve got to make a yard.”
“I thought I got the first down,” Murray said. “Obviously I’ve got to get it, no matter what the situation is, how many guys are up there, you’ve just got to fight to get that first down and it definitely could have been a different game.”
Tennessee came out inexcusably flat considering it entered the game with a chance to seize second place in the division and get in position to threaten the first-place Houston Texans.
The Titans were down 21-0 in the second quarter, shredded by their nemesis Luck. He finished 15-of-28 with 262 yards, two touchdowns, and a pick.
The Titans did good work to fight back but never got closer than seven points.
Murray came into the game needing 70 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the season and finished with 21 carries for exactly 70.
The Colts swept the season series against the Titans and climbed to 5-5. The Titans are 5-6 with a 1-3 record in the division.
Many plays will be dissected, but Luck's second-quarter touchdown pass to Hilton that made the score 21-0 was huge. Cornerback Perrish Cox dived in front of Hilton on the right side of the end zone, but the ball glanced off his hands and into the receiver's belly.
Cox mentioned a right hand injury suffered two games ago in San Diego, and simultaneously spoke of not using it as an excuse and it being an issue for him on a few plays including that one.
"That was a frustrating one, man," he said. "Playing with a cast on my right hand, I've been thinking about that all week. It's more frustrating than anything because it can take away from the things that I can be doing."
As the Titans play "what if?" before swallowing this loss, that's a play they should lament.