Winners and losers is easy to write after a beatdown like the one we just witnessed in Indianapolis. Winners: Derrick Henry and almost everyone wearing two tone blue, Losers: Philip Rivers and the Colts run defense.
Listen to John Glennon and Jimmy Morris breakdown the win on Homerun Throwback here.
This win was obviously massive for the Titans hopes of taking the AFC South. Advancing to 8-3 overall and 3-1 in the division while dumping Indy to 7-4 and 1-2 in the South makes this victory essentially worth a game and a half.
In fact, if things break right for Tennessee, they could clinch the division title in Week 14, but that’s for another article. For now, let’s get into Winners and losers from Titans 45, Colts 26.
Winner: Derrick Henry
Derrick Henry’s final line of 27 carries for 178 yards and 3 touchdowns tells the story of this game pretty well. The 2019 NFL rushing champ has now run his total for the 2020 season to 1,257 yards, more than 100 yards clear of Dalvin Cook’s 1,130 with just five weeks left to play. The chances of the King defending his crown are pretty high after today’s performance and we all know that December (D-Henber) is his best month historically.
Henry completely dominated the first half as the Titans built their 35-14 lead. The foot came off the gas a little bit late, but Henry showed how he can take over games once again.
Henry owns the Colts.
Winner: Titans Offensive Line
Clearing the way for Henry’s massive day, of course, was the offensive line. They also gave Ryan Tannehill plenty of time in the pocket. The Titans quarterback was sacked just once and the run game averaged 5.1 yards per carry (a number that was much higher before the foot came off the gas in the second half). That qualifies as a huge success for the Titans offensive line.
I thought the work from David Quessenberry at left tackle was really good considering he was making his first career start and took more snaps today than he had in the last eight years.
Nate Davis and Dennis Kelly seemed to create the biggest lanes on the right side and I think Davis is putting together a season worthy of Pro Bowl consideration.
Winner: A.J. Brown
The Titans stars were stars. Brown finished with 4 catches for 98 yards and a touchdown and added an onside kick returned for a score late to shine up the final score a little bit after a couple Colts garbage time touchdowns had closed the Titans lead to 12.
Of course, Brown’s biggest contribution was a 69-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter. It was Brown’s NFL-best 8th score of at least 40 yards over the past two years.
Brown continues to be a stud.
Winner: Breon Borders
Borders continued to do a nice job for the Titans, though he did get beat a couple times in the second half and dropped what looked like a sure pick-six before the half. However, the former UDFA out of Duke made good on his second interception opportunity though.
The Titans still need Adoree’ Jackson back, but Borders is making his absence less painful over the last few weeks.
Winner: David Long and Will Compton
Long and Compton seemed to split most of Jayon Brown’s snaps at Will linebacker and they both played pretty well. Long made a couple flash plays including a couple big hits over the middle. Most encouraging was his performance in coverage, where he showed well in this game. His ability to credibly replicate Brown’s role will be huge for this defense moving forward.
Today was a good start as the Titans held Indianapolis to just 2.7 yards per carry and didn’t allow Nyheim Hines to carve them up over the middle either.
Winner: Jeffery Simmons and Harold Landry
Both guys picked up sacks in the game and contributed to the Titans stout run defense throughout the game.
Winner: Brett Kern
The MVPunter was back and he looked good as new, pinning the Colts inside their own 15 on all four punts. Kern also did perfectly fine as a holder for Stephen Gostkowski as well. He’s the best in the league at his job and continues to be a weapon for the Titans.