Colts get fast start and hold off charging Titans 24-17

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) makes a catch for a touchdown over Tennessee Titans cornerback Perrish Cox (20) during the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) makes a catch for a touchdown over Tennessee Titans cornerback Perrish Cox (20) during the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck led the Indianapolis Colts to a big early lead Sunday, and the defense held on in the second half for a 24-17 victory over Tennessee.

Indianapolis (5-5) evened its record by winning back-to-back games for the first time this season.

And by earning their 11th straight victory in the series, the Colts climbed into second place in the AFC South.

“You’ve got to learn how to win, you’ve got to learn how to stack wins, you’ve got to learn how to handle success and we’re growing on the run,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “We’ve got to keep the momentum going.”

For Tennessee (5-6), it was more frustration against an old nemesis.

Luck was 15 of 28 for 262 yards with two touchdowns and one interception as the Colts scored touchdowns on each of their first three possessions for a 21-0 lead.

Tennessee rallied with a 3-yard TD pass from Marcus Mariota to DeMarco Murray in the final minute of the first half and a 34-yard TD pass from Mariota to Tajae Sharpe midway through the third quarter.

But the Titans never caught up. Their last gasp ended when Murray was stopped for no gain at the Colts 19-yard line with 2:42 to go.

“We were outplayed and we were out-coached until we settled down,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said.

Indy’s T.Y. Hilton had five catches for 97 yards including an acrobatic TD catch in the first half, a ball that went through the hands of Titans cornerback Perrish Cox.

Mariota was 25 of 38 for 290 yards with two TD passes. Murray ran 21 times for 70 yards.

His streak of consecutive games with a rushing TD ended at five, tying Earl Campbell’s franchise record.

With the win over the Titans, The Colts improved to 5-5 on the season.  Next, Indianapolis will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving night at Lucas Oil Stadium.

STREAK BUSTER

Adam Vinatieri’s NFL record streak of consecutive field goals made ended at 44 when a 42-yarder sailed wide right. While he has been terrific at just about every venue, the window end of Lucas Oil Stadium that has given so many other kickers trouble finally got Vinatieri on Sunday. He wound up making a 49-yarder late in the fourth quarter to give the Colts a 24-17 lead.