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Marcus Mariota, Titans Snap 11-Game Losing Streak vs. Colts in MNF Win

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 2017

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 16:  Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans throws a pass against the  Indianapolis Colts at Nissan Stadium on October 16, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans defeated the Indianapolis Colts 36-22 at home Monday night at Nissan Stadium.

It's the first time Tennessee beat Indianapolis since Oct 30, 2011—a streak that lasted 11 games.

The Colts had a 1st-and-10 at the Titans' 22-yard line late in the fourth quarter as they looked to tie the game. Jacoby Brissett threw two incomplete passes on the first two downs before hitting Robert Turbin for a nine-yard gain. On fourth down, the Colts ran a bootleg for Brissett to the right. He landed out of bounds before reaching the first-down marker, giving the ball to Tennessee with 2:19 left in the game.

NFL Network's Rich Eisen thought Frank Gore should've gotten the ball to get the first down:

Rich Eisen @richeisen

This clearly may be a 2nd guess, but that’s a @ProFootballHOF RB back there. Don’t use him as a decoy for crying out loud.

Derrick Henry dealt a final blow to Indianapolis with 47 seconds left when he broke free for a 72-yard touchdown. The NFL showed the game-clinching run:

NFL @NFL

DERRICK HENRY 72-YARD TD SEALS THE GAME! #INDvsTEN #TitanUp https://t.co/jyXsX2Mxx9

Marcus Mariota returned to the field Monday after a hamstring injury kept him out of the Titans' Week 5 defeat to the Miami Dolphins. He threw for 306 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 23-of-32 passing.

Both ESPN.com's Bill Barnwell and Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman thought Mariota still hadn't fully healed from his injury:

Bill Barnwell @billbarnwell

One of the hidden problems with having a terrible backup quarterback is that you rush your starter back into the lineup.

mike freeman @mikefreemanNFL

Mariota shouldn’t be playing. This is stupid.

Mariota appeared to have far less mobility in the pocket than Titans fans are accustomed to seeing. He carried the ball twice for no gain.

However, Mariota deserves credit for helping the Titans dig out of a hole he played a role in creating. He threw a pick-six on the Titans' first play of the second half. Colts linebacker John Simon reacted quickly to intercept the pass at the line of scrimmage and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown to put Indianapolis ahead 19-9.

The NFL shared a replay of the score:

NFL @NFL

🚨 PICK-6 🚨 @Colts LB @johnesimon51 takes the Mariota pass to the house! #INDvsTEN #Colts https://t.co/Xa7JGeBxjG

The Titans took a 22-19 lead with 10:01 left in the game. A pair of Ryan Succop field goals got Tennessee to within four points, and Mariota led the team on a 15-play, 87-yard drive that ate 8:24 off the clock. Mariota completed eight of his nine pass attempts during the drive, which DeMarco Murray capped off with a three-yard touchdown run.

After Adam Vinatieri's 52-yard field goal tied the game with 7:27 remaining, Mariota stepped up again and connected with Taywan Taylor on a 53-yard pass to put the Titans back on top 29-22. The NFL provided a replay of the touchdown:

NFL @NFL

WHAT. A. THROW. Marcus Mariota with an absolute DIME for the 53-yard TD! #INDvsTEN #TitanUp https://t.co/O75blQhmmx

Many expected Andrew Luck's slow recovery from shoulder surgery to torpedo the Colts' playoff hopes this season. Instead, Brissett has helped keep Indianapolis afloat and the trend continued Monday night—at least through the first half.

Brissett was 12-of-17 for 119 yards and a touchdown in the opening two quarters. He went 9-of-20 for 93 yards.

Still, the Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder thought Brissett showed a lot of poise in the pocket:

Stephen Holder @HolderStephen

That pocket presence by Brissett is so damn impressive. Bodies all around here. Ho, hum.

Monday could represent a regression to the mean for Brissett, who has exceeded expectations so far. The Jacksonville Jaguars will be his toughest test to date when the Colts welcome them to Indianapolis on Sunday.

The Jaguars rank first in defensive efficiency, according to Football Outsiders, and are allowing the third-fewest passing yards per game (166.0).

On the other sideline, the victory moves the Titans into a three-way tie with the Jaguars and Houston Texans for first place in the AFC South. Tennessee hits the road to take on the winless Cleveland Browns in Week 7, so the Titans have a good chance of climbing above .500 on Sunday.

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