The Indianapolis Colts entered the playoffs by defeating their division rivals Tennessee Titans on the road last night, 33-17.
It has been the 11th straight victory for their quarterback, Andrew Luck over the franchise from Nashville, making him the first QB to have such a record over one team in 48 years.
Luck was superb in Tennessee, throwing 285 yards, 24 of 35 for 3 touchdowns and one interception.
— LastWordOnNFL (@LastWordOnNFL) December 31, 2018
After the game, a lot of questions were made about Colts fantastic comebacks after an awful start of the season in which they went 1-5. Just a few people believed in them, but for Luck, there was no doubt that they can rise to the occasion.
“We’ve taken it week by week, a day by day, a minute by minute approach. It’s all about the process, the cycle starts over, and we say, ‘all right, we got to go 1 and 0 this week’.” Luck explained his view on a fantastic comeback and concluded, “We’ve worked hard, we’ve trusted the process.”
The Colts became only the third team in history which made it to the playoffs after starting the campaign with one win and five losses. Previous two were Kansas City Chiefs (2015) and Cincinnati Bengals (1970).
This was the ninth win over the last 10 weeks for Indianapolis.
They fully used the situation that Marcus Mariota isn’t going to play, and decreased Titans’ yardage from the scrimmage in the best possible way. Derrick Henry’s 93 yards were the only for the hosts, and when we add 165 yards through the air, the whole figure comes up to 258.
That is fewer than only Luck had. By the way, their defense didn’t allow any player to reach 100+ yards this season. Enough said.
Colts also had fantastic Marlon Mack who rushed for 119 yards in 25 carries, and who decided the game with an 8-yard TD with 2:24 to go. His score set the final result and silenced the LP Field.
.@Marlon_Mack25 scores from 8 yards out!
— NFL (@NFL) December 31, 2018
Meanwhile, Tennessee had a lot of troubles entering this clash. Besides Mariota, the Titans were without 4-time Pro Bowlers’, defensive lineman Jurrell Casey, and Brian Orakpo, linebacker.
It was too much for them in circumstances when you need to face such a fired-up team like Indianapolis, and as the game went by that was obvious. It is why Luck felt comfortable last night and could keep the football as long as he wanted. For example, Colts had the ball 17 minutes in the opening 21.
Coach Mike Vrabel expressed his disappointment after the match, saying that his team needs to do a better job, and try to figure the way how to do it.
“I’m just disappointed for the players. They put a lot into this. And the coaches. And we’ve got to do a better job and try to figure out how to take the next step” Vrabel spoke on the press conference.
Last year, Tennessee reached the divisional round against the Patriots, which they lost. Not being able to enter the playoffs now is considered to be a huge failure, no matter the situation with injuries. According to experts, Titans missed several wins because of their inability to be consistent.
Mariota’s game wasn’t on the expected level, and his protection was not helping him as it should. We’ve seen him taking many devastating hits this season, which is why something needs to change in the offensive team.
As for the Colts, they will be heading for Texas next Saturday to face Titans, who won their AFC South division. The results this season so far is 1-1, and both teams won on the road.
Houston was better in Indianapolis 37-34, while the Colts avenged that defeat at the NRG Stadium 24-21.
That indicates a tough and fierce fight in five days time, and bealieve us when we say that the chances are 50-50.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.