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Colts’ Gardner Minshew leads overtime drive to defeat Titans

Gardner Minshew threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Michael Pittman with 2:31 left in overtime and the Indianapolis Colts beat the Tennessee Titans 31-28 Sunday for their fourth straight victory to keep pace in the playoff race in the AFC.

The Colts (7-5) had to score a touchdown after Nick Folk made a 46-yard field goal with 4:19 left in overtime to put Tennessee up. Indianapolis came in holding the seventh and last spot in the AFC.

Tennessee (4-8) lost its first true home game this season and has yet to win consecutive games overall.

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Michael Pittman Jr. #11 of the Indianapolis Colts catches a pass for a touchdown to defeat the Tennessee Titans in overtime at Nissan Stadium on December 03, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Titans not only blew a 17-7 lead, but Folk missed his first extra point this season with 5:26 left in regulation that could have put Tennessee up 26-25.

Backup quarterback Ryan Tannehill had to fill in on the missed PAT with usual holder and punter Ryan Stonehouse knocked out of the game early in the fourth quarter with an injured left leg.

Special teams helped the Colts score 10 points off Nick Cross’ blocked punt that Grant Stuard returned 18 yards for a TD late in the third quarter. Then Tony Brown forced a fumble on Stonehouse’s next punt attempt, running into his left leg.

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Minshew threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns as he won his fourth straight game for the first time in his five NFL seasons.

The Colts sacked rookie Will Levis six times despite being outgained 381-355. Tennessee held the ball for more than 38 minutes.

Indianapolis easily could’ve turned this into a rout except for the Colts’ struggles inside the Titans 10.

The Colts had first-and-goal four times in regulation only to settle for three of Matt Gay’s four field goals. They lost a fumble on another trip.

Gay’s fourth field goal, a 28-yarder, came with 11:34 left off Brown’s forced fumble on Stonehouse’s punt attempt.

This was a costly loss for Tennessee.

Derrick Henry ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns before leaving in the fourth quarter to be evaluated for a concussion. He went to the locker room and never returned.

The Titans also lost two-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons to an injured right knee, and Folk had to punt once Stonehouse was knocked out of the game.

HENRY’S DAY

Will Levis looks to pass

Will Levis #8 of the Tennessee Titans looks to pass against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half at Nissan Stadium on December 03, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The two-time NFL rushing champ tied Marshawn Lynch with his first TD run of the game. Then he tied Priest Holmes with his second, a 5-yarder early in the second quarter, at No. 15 all time with the 86th rushing TD of his career.

INJURIES

Colts RT Braden Smith hurt a knee on their opening drive and didn’t return. He was on the injury report coming into this game after being given Friday off for rest. Rookie Blake Freeland replaced him.

Simmons hurt his right knee on the Colts’ opening drive of the third quarter. He returned, then went to the medical tent later in the same drive. A few minutes later, Simmons walked gingerly to the locker room with a towel over his head ruled out.

Henry went into the medical tent in the fourth quarter, then the locker room. Tight end Josh Whyle also was knocked out of the game with an injured knee. Cornerback Kristian Fulton also was hurt.

Gardner Minshew reacts to win

Gardner Minshew #10 of the Indianapolis Colts reacts after defeating the Tennessee Titans in overtime at Nissan Stadium on December 03, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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UP NEXT

The Colts visit Cincinnati to wrap up a two-game road swing.

The Titans hit the road again with a prime-time game Dec. 11 at Miami.

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