Final

Titans 16

(10-6, 5-3 away)

Colts 10

(13-3, 6-2 home)

Coverage: NBC

8:15 PM ET, December 30, 2007

 

1 2 3 4 T
TEN 7 0 3 616
IND 0 3 7 010

Top Performers

Passing: V. Young (TEN) - 157 YDS

Rushing: L. White (TEN) - 16 CAR, 45 YDS

Receiving: J. Gage (TEN) - 7 REC, 104 YDS

Titans beat Colts to make playoffs, eliminate Browns

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Kerry Collins waited all season to prove his value in Tennessee. The Titans wouldn't have been celebrating Sunday night without him.

Collins rescued his teammates in the most precarious circumstances, leading them to three straight second-half field goals in relief of injured Vince Young and helping Tennessee rally for a 16-10 win at Indianapolis that drew cheers from Nashville and moans from Cleveland.

No Free Pass
Titans
Vince Young might be banged up, but the Titans don't rely on the TD pass anyway. They have the fewest TD passes of any playoff team (since 1978).
Team
TDs
Record
2007 Titans910-6
1989 Steelers109-7
2005 Bears1111-5
1995 Eagles1110-6
1978 Falcons119-7

"Now that I'm older and have been around for a while, I appreciate these things more," said Collins, who turned 35 Sunday. "I told the younger guys to savor it. In my second year, we went to the NFC Championship Game, I thought we would be going every year, but that didn't happen."

The final piece of the AFC playoff picture came down to the final game on the final weekend of the regular season. Tennessee had to win to make the postseason for the first time since 2003, while an Indy win would have sent the Browns to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Inside the RCA Dome, you could almost hear the groans coming from the shores of Lake Erie when Peyton Manning traded his helmet for a headset early in the second quarter. To the Browns' chagrin, that was how the Colts chose to play.

While Tennessee welcomed the transition from Manning to Jim Sorgi, the Titans were forced into making one of their own when Young flopped down midway through the third quarter with an apparent right quadriceps injury. Young said he hurt it in the first half, then was reinjured in the third quarter.

Enter Collins, who had thrown 69 passes all season and had barely moved off the sideline since Oct. 21.

The veteran backup was efficient, not flashy.

He finished the drive Young started by setting up Rob Bironas for a 40-yard field goal to tie the score, then led the Titans (10-6) on a 58-yard scoring march that gave Bironas a 54-yard attempt. Bironas, who had beaten Indy last December in Nashville with a 60-yarder, curled the kick perfectly inside the right goal post to give Tennessee a 13-10 lead and then sealed it with a 33-yard field goal with 2:56 to go.

Coach Jeff Fisher said he would wait until midweek to decide which quarterback plays next Sunday at San Diego. But Collins provided enough against the Colts' backups to end the Titans' playoff drought.

While Colts coach Tony Dungy treated the game as a playoff tuneup, he expected more.

"It was disappointing in a lot of ways," Dungy said. "We really wanted to get that 14th win. We got a lot of things done, we just didn't quite get the score the way we wanted it."

The game plan was simply to let the offense get a little work, the defense to show it could hold up against a mobile quarterback like Young, and a few players to hit personal milestones.

It didn't take long to accomplish all three.

Manning entered the game needing 55 yards to extend his NFL record for most 4,000-yard seasons to eight. He did that in one series.

Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne needed eight catches to become the second player in franchise history with 100 receptions in a season. It took two series to reach that mark. And Wayne left on the third series after netting the 71 yards receiving he needed to pass Randy Moss for the league title.

Manning was 14-of-16 for 95 yards. Wayne caught 12 passes for 87 yards, giving him 104 receptions and a league-high 1,510 yards this season. Dungy hugged Wayne when he finally left the field.

"Reggie's just going to be featured in this offense," Manning said. "It wasn't necessarily anything intentional. With[Anthony] Gonzalez out and Marvin [Harrison] still not playing, Devin [Aromashodu] making his first start, obviously you're going to look to Reggie Wayne. It's just kind of the way it worked out."

Without their usual offensive stars, the Colts weren't themselves.

Adam Vinatieri made a 37-yard field goal early in the second quarter, and Sorgi threw a 3-yard TD pass to Craphonso Thorpe after the Colts recovered a fumble at the Tennessee 30.

That was it for Indy, which put five starters including Harrison on the inactive list before the game.

Tennessee wasn't much better until Collins entered.

After Chris Brown's 8-yard TD run on the opening drive, Tennessee's offense bogged down and didn't get it going until Collins came in. He finished the first drive and led the Titans to field goals on the next two to series to turn the game -- and put Tennessee in the playoffs.

"That's why Kerry is where Kerry is," Fisher said. "He's one play away from playing. He's played an awful lot of ball, being a backup in this league is harder than starting."

Game notes


Indy ended a 10-game home winning streak against AFC South opponents. ... Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth left briefly in the first half after reinjuring his right hamstring, and linebacker Keith Bulluck left late in the game with an undisclosed injury. ... Justin Gage had seven catches for 104 yards to lead the Titans. ... Indy lost its final regular-season game in the RCA Dome. Next year it will move to Lucas Oil Stadium.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
TEN
IND
1st Downs2513
Passing 1st downs
189
Rushing 1st downs
62
1st downs from penalties
12
3rd down efficiency
8-155-12
4th down efficiency
0-00-1
Total Plays7152
Total Yards356194
Yards per play5.03.7
Total Drives1010
Passing258148
Comp-Att
24-3125-40
Yards per pass
8.13.5
Interceptions thrown
00
Sacks-Yards Lost
1-52-15
Rushing9846
Rushing Attempts
3910
Yards per rush
2.54.6
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-31-2
Penalties6-405-54
Turnovers21
Fumbles lost
21
Interceptions thrown
00
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession35:3224:28

Passing Leaders

TENC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Young14/181578.7001-5
Collins10/131068.2000-0
INDC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Manning14/16955.9000-0
Sorgi11/24682.8102-15

Rushing Leaders

TENCARYDSAVGTDLG
White16452.8015
Brown7223.118
INDCARYDSAVGTDLG
Addai4276.8014
Keith3124.0010

Receiving Leaders

TENRECYDSAVGTDLG
Gage710414.9021
Williams6599.8014
INDRECYDSAVGTDLG
Wayne12877.3018
Lawton3289.3011

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERTENIND
tenTD8:46Chris Brown, 8 yd run (Rob Bironas kick is good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 79 yds, 6:19
70
SECOND QUARTERTENIND
indFG10:44Adam Vinatieri 37 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 64 yds, 5:40
73
THIRD QUARTERTENIND
indTD9:12Craphonso Thorpe, 3 yd pass from Jim Sorgi (Adam Vinatieri kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 30 yds, 1:22
710
tenFG1:09Rob Bironas 40 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 13 plays, 56 yds, 8:04
1010
FOURTH QUARTERTENIND
tenFG7:38Rob Bironas 54 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 58 yds, 5:38
1310
tenFG3:00Rob Bironas 33 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 32 yds, 2:25
1610