INDIANAPOLIS _ While the Tennessee Titans offense waited until the fourth quarter to come to life Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, it was the defense that played a large role in the Titans securing a 20-16 victory.
The Titans had eight sacks of Jacoby Brissett including six in the first half, and held the Colts scoreless in the fourth quarter as the offense rallied for the victory.
Tennessee’s defense also came up with a critical turnover that helped to change the momentum in the game as Kevin Byard recovered a fumbled pitch to Marlon Mack at the Colts’ 4-yard line, which the Titans cashed in for a much-needed touchdown late in the third quarter.
“It was a crucial time in the game. We needed to get a turnover to kind of spark the offense a little bit,” said Byard whose recovery came when the Titans trailed 16-6. “As a defense, we feel like we have to kind of put the team on our back sometimes.”
Byard’s play was big, but it was the eight sacks that set the tone for Tennessee defensively.
Defensive tackle DaQuan Jones had a sack on the first series and a tackle for loss on the second series. He later added a second sack on the day.
“I had a great feeling that it was either going to be a great game or a bad game. Thankfully, it was a good game,” Jones said.
Teammate Jurrell Casey said the Titans finally getting some pay off for their work in pressuring the quarterback felt good. He said the Titans wanted to set the tone defensively early.
“It was beautiful. We were talking about that before the game that when we got out there we wanted to make sure the game went exactly how we wanted it to go and it felt like it went that way for the defense,” Casey said.
Titans safety Da’Norris Searcy had an ankle injury and did not return to Sunday’s game.
Tackle Taylor Lewan missed a couple of plays with an elbow injury and tight end Delanie Walker tweaked the same ankle he had injured against Cleveland. Both were able to return and finish the game.
Titans coach Mike Mularkey said that receiver Rishard Matthews, who was inactive due to a hamstring injury, was not that close to being able to play.