for this game

Colts overcome pesky Titans

Oct 8, 2006 - 8:30 PM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- The Tennessee Titans scored as big a moral victory as any winless team in the NFL could.

The lowly Titans unbelievably held Indianapolis scoreless in the first half before succumbing to the Colts' high-powered offense in a 14-13 loss.

It was as good a result that Tennessee (0-5) could record without getting a win, as rookie Vince Young continued to display the tools that could make him one of the league's top quarterbacks.

Despite what might go down as his best start of the season, Young did not talk to the media afterwards.

"This one was a tough one on our guys," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. "They have every reason to feel better about themselves, because this was quite an effort out of everybody who played. I don't believe in moral victories though. The fact is that this one still goes in the wrong column."

Hardly bothered by the imposing atmosphere at the RCA Dome, Young went 19 yards for his first career rushing touchdown en route to guiding his club to a 10-0 advantage at the half.

Young's score capped an impressive first-quarter drive by the Titans, who racked up 88 yards on the ground on seven carries.

"We kind of knew that they would have a few more wrinkles in for Vince (Young)," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "We didn't handle it well the first drive, but after that we made some corrections.

"We were overrunning some things on their cutback running and it was disappointing. Some of it was playing too anxious, not tackling well, and fundamental things."

Tennessee's Travis Henry, who was a healthy inactive in last week's 45-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, pounded out 92 first-half yards to help his club control the early play.

Henry finished with 123 yards on 19 carries, his highest total on the ground since a career-high 169 against the New York Jets on December 7, 2003 when he was a member of the Buffalo Bills.

"All week we knew from watching film that we would have some creases to run in," Henry said. "My hat goes off to our guys up front. We wanted to be physical with them and we were. We ran the ball well, but we still have got to get the victory. It's a tough pill to swallow."

Overall, Tennessee rolled up 214 yards on the ground on 31 carries. Rookie LenDale White had 48 yards and Young added 43 on four attempts.

It was the first time Indianapolis (5-0) had been shut out at home in the opening half since December 18, 2005 against the San Diego Chargers. The Colts went on to lose that contest, 26-17, to have their undefeated start to the season end at 13 games.

However, the unheralded Titans defense could not hold down the Colts forever, as Peyton Manning capped a pair of lengthy drives in the second half with touchdown passes.

"This is the NFL," Colts linebacker Cato June said about the Titans underdog label coming into the game. "They came out with a good game plan and got us rattled a little bit, then we settled down and made things happen."

The decisive second score came after Manning was intercepted by safety Chris Hope near the end zone with 11:53 left in the fourth quarter on a pass that deflected off the hands of Indianapolis wide receiver Reggie Wayne.

After the Colt defense pinned the Titans to give the offense stellar field position, Manning led Indianapolis on a 10-play drive for 43 yards that was capped by a two-yard TD to Wayne in the front of the end zone.

"We are finding a way to win close games," Manning said. "Anytime you can be 5-0 and probably not playing your best football, that's good."

Manning, who managed just 56 yards as the Indianapolis offense constantly misfired in the first half, finished 20-of-31 for 166 yards and two scores.

Young, who finished 10-of-21 for 63 yards and an interception, had the ball in the closing seconds, but his last-ditch toss down the field at the end of the game fell incomplete.

"It came down to us making a play in the fourth quarter and we didn't," Fisher said. "I have to say that it was a distracting week, but our guys stayed focused and did what they had to do. Just about everything we could get out of them we did today."

The distraction was caused by defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who served the first game of his five-game suspension for scraping his cleat on the face of Dallas' Andre Gurode in last week's 45-14 loss to the Cowboys.

Despite escaping with the tight win, the Colts captured their seventh consecutive victory over the Titans. Indianapolis also remained outstanding in AFC South contests, winning for the 12th straight time.

The tight contest was clearly unexpected, with the Titans giving up the second-most points in the league behind the San Francisco 49ers (121) coming in. Coincidentally, the Colts entered the contest scoring a league-best 121 points in their first four games.

However, Indianapolis appeared just a bit off in the first half, stalling at the Tennessee 37 on its opening drive after Manning just overthrew a wide-open Wayne in the end zone.

In the second quarter, Indianapolis' Dominic Rhodes fumbled near midfield after catching a tipped pass out of the backfield and taking a shot by former Colt David Thornton.

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