NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans are so banged up that even quarterback Ryan Tannehill now is in a walking boot.
The Titans also have won four straight after an 0-2 start, showing a toughness that could be what matters most in the AFC South they’ve won each of the past two seasons.
Andrew Adams returned an interception 76 yards for the first pick-6 of his career, and the Titans never trailed in beating the Indianapolis Colts 19-10 Sunday for their second straight sweep of their division rivals.
“We’re a tough team,” said Tannehill who missed one snap after hurting his right ankle. “We’re going to keep battling, and we find a way to win. And at the end of the day, that’s what we’re trying to accomplish each and every week is going out and finding a way to win, and our team’s going to battle and find a way to do that.”
The Titans (4-2) also have beaten the Colts five straight and six of the past seven. This was just their fourth sweep of the Colts since becoming division rivals in 2002.
“It feels really good, especially when an owner makes comments about how badly we got to beat the Titans,” Titans two-time All-Pro safety Kevin Byard said of Jim Irsay making clear he wants the Colts to regain the control of this rivalry they enjoyed with Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck.
Randy Bullock made four field goals, the last two providing Tennessee’s first points this season in the fourth quarter. Bullock’s 48-yarder provided the final margin with 4:47 remaining.
The Titans forced three turnovers, the last on Michael Pittman Jr.‘s fumble with 3:22 left. Jeffery Simmons also had one of three sacks for Tennessee.
Derrick Henry helped seal the win with his third straight 100-yard rushing game, finishing with a season-high 128 yards on 30 carries.
“That’s going to be the formula if you guys haven’t figured that out,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “That’s how we’re going to have to play.”
The Colts (3-3-1) came in having won three of four to nip at Tennessee’s heels in the division and wound up snapping a two-game winning streak. Worse, they’ve trailed by at least 10 in each of their first five divisional games.
“At the end of the day, we’ve got to play better,” Colts coach Frank Reich said. “We’ve got to play better.”
Indianapolis managed to salvage a tie in the opener and rallied to beat Jacksonville last week.
This was Tennessee’s reunion weekend featuring about 130 former Oilers and Titans, including Warren Moon and Dan Pastorini along with Chris Johnson and Delanie Walker. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also was on hand.
Indianapolis was driving when Adams jumped a Matt Ryan pass for Parris Campbell and ran up the right sideline for the TD that gave the Titans a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter. It was the longest interception return for Tennessee since Zach Brown had a 79-yarder on Dec. 30, 2012, against the Jaguars.
David Long Jr. picked off Ryan’s pass on the next possession as the Titans led 13-0 at halftime.
“Turning the football over has kind of been our Achilles’ heel,” Ryan said. “Again, today, disappointing. I thought our defense played well. Kept it tight, they really did, and we’ve got to do a better job offensively.”
Tannehill gave the Titans a scare when he went down after completing a short pass on the opening play of the fourth quarter. He stayed on the field, then limped off and went into the medical tent. He missed only one play and finished the game. He talked to reporters while wearing a walking boot.
Simmons hurt an ankle in the fourth quarter. Center Ben Jones went down late in the first quarter when the Titans had to settle for a field goal but returned. Titans defensive back Joshua Kalu went down on a kickoff return in the second quarter.
Colts linebacker Grant Stuard was knocked from the game with a pectoral injury.
Adams is among the 20 different defensive starters used by Tennessee this season. The Titans signed Adams off Pittsburgh’s practice squad along with cornerback Terrance Mitchell off New England’s practice squad Sept. 21. Adams came in with seven career interceptions. Mitchell forced the third and final Colts’ turnover.
Back in 2019 when he was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Adams had scored against the Titans on a fumble wiped out by a blown whistle. Adams said he was told the next day his TD should have stood. The ball for what will count as his first official NFL TD was in his locker, likely a gift for his father.
“I had to make sure nobody was chasing me or going to catch me,” Adams said. “I had to peek back just a little bit.”
Colts host Washington on Sunday.
The Titans visit Houston on Sunday.
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