Colts Can Clinch AFC South Title With Win Today Against Titans
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Now that the Indianapolis Colts are armed with a new-found running game to complement Peyton Manning on offense, their defense faces the challenge of slowing down evasive rookie quarterback Vince Young and the rising Tennessee Titans offense.
The Colts look to clinch their fourth straight AFC South Division title Sunday when they visit the resurgent Titans, who are coming off a historic come-from-behind victory.
Indianapolis (10-1) bounced back from its first loss of the season with a 45-21 win Sunday night over Philadelphia as Joseph Addai set a franchise rookie record by scoring four touchdowns while rushing for a season-high 171 yards.
Addai slashed and powered his way through the Eagles defense, gaining at least 10 yards on seven of his 24 runs.
``A lot of running backs come in and do good the first year and after that they go into the tank,'' said Addai, who was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week. ``I've got to become more consistent.''
The Colts finished with a season-high 237 rushing yards, after rushing for 236 in their two previous games combined.
Indianapolis can clinch the division with a win on Sunday, coupled with a Jacksonville loss to Miami, or a tie by either the Colts or the Jaguars.
Indianapolis has won 12 straight games over division opponents, and has won the AFC South every year since Tennessee (4-7) won it in 2002. The 2002 season also marks the last time the Titans beat the Colts, who have won the last seven meetings.
Manning has thrown for 1,697 yards, with 15 touchdowns to just three interceptions and a 70.4 completion percentage during the winning streak, but was limited to a season-low 166 yards Oct. 8 in the Colts' 14-13 win over Tennessee.
Indianapolis trailed 10-0 at halftime, and needed a TD pass from Manning to Reggie Wayne with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter to win the game at home.
Although the Colts came away with the victory, the loss has turned the season around for Tennessee.
The Titans dropped to 0-5 after their loss at the RCA Dome, but have won four of six since.
``I think Indianapolis really was the turning point of our season if there was one this year,'' defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. ``We went to Indy against a very good team, a team that was playing very well and could've come out of there, and in our opinion maybe should have come out of there with a victory. That game gave us some confidence and showed us we can play with Indy, and we feel that we can beat anybody.''
Travis Henry, who has four 100-yard games in nine contests this season, rushed for 123 yards on only 19 carries against Indianapolis. Young had 43 yards on four carries, scored on a 19-yard run and was not sacked.
The Titans rushed for a season-high 214 yards against the Colts, and have rushed for the fourth-most yards in the NFL (1,105) since that game at the RCA Dome.
Indianapolis has allowed the second-most rushing yards in the league this season (1,700) and is tied with the Jets for the most rushing touchdowns allowed (13).
Tennessee showed its resilience last Sunday, rallying from a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the New York Giants 24-21.
Young ran for a touchdown, threw for two more in the final 9:35 and finished with season highs of 249 yards passing and 69 yards rushing.
The comeback was the biggest in franchise history, tied for the second-biggest in NFL history and was the biggest by a rookie quarterback.
``It's a sneak peek of what's to happen not just me, but this team in general,'' said Young, who had a 107.9 passer rating.
Young, the No. 3 pick overall pick, is 4-4 as a starter and the Titans have matched last year's victory total with five games left.
Tennessee has won back-to-back games, and has not won three straight games since winning the final three weeks of the 2003 season.
``They're just playing well. They're making a lot of plays,'' Manning said of the Titans. ``We played them early on and now those guys are more comfortable in the system, so you just see them communicating and making a lot of plays right now.''
By: Michael Cash - theSpread.com - Email Us
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