NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Chris Johnson ran for two touchdowns and the Tennessee Titans led the Indianapolis Colts 17-6 at halftime Thursday night.
Johnson capped the Titans' first two drives with 30- and 7-yard scoring runs. Johnson entered the night having rushed for as many as 40 yards just once in his last six games, but he already had 80 yards on 13 carries by halftime.
Adam Vinatieri made two field goals in the second quarter for the Colts.
The Titans were hoping to close the gap separating them from the first-place Colts in the AFC South. The Colts entered with a 6-3 record, followed by the Titans at 4-5. The teams meet again Dec. 1 in Indianapolis.
Johnson's 30-yard touchdown run capped an 80-yard drive on the game's first possession. Johnson got through a big hole on the right side of the line and headed down the right sideline for his third touchdown run of the season.
After forcing a three-and-out on the Colts' first drive, the Titans marched 68 yards and extended their lead to 14-0 on Johnson's bruising 7-yard carry. After getting hit by safety Antoine Bethea at the 2, Johnson bulled ahead, kept his legs moving and extended his arms across the goal line.
The Titans' two touchdowns in the opening period exceeded their combined first-quarter total of 10 points from their last five games.
Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, starting in place of the injured Jake Locker, was 10 of 12 for 89 yards in the first half. Indianapolis' Andrew Luck was 12 of 21 for 108 yards.
Indianapolis got on the board in the second quarter on Vinatieri's 48-yard field goal. Vinatieri added a 30-yarder on the final play of the half as the Colts capitalized on Jason McCourty's third-down pass interference penalty
The Colts hurt themselves with some chippy play in the second quarter.
Rob Bironas kicked a 25-yard field goal on a drive that was kept alive when Robert Mathis got called for roughing the passer with a blow to Fitzpatrick's head on a third-down incompletion. The Colts then committed personal fouls on their next two plays. Cassius Vaughn was called for unnecessary roughness after a takedown of wide receiver Justin Hunter, and Erik Walden was penalized for pulling the helmet off tight end Delanie Walker and head-butting him.
The Colts and Titans were attempting to rebound from disappointing performances.
Tennessee fell 29-27 to the previously winless Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday for its fourth loss in its last five games. The Colts lost 38-8 to the St. Louis Rams, their most one-sided defeat since a 55-point shellacking against the New Orleans Saints in 2011. The Colts were attempting to avoid their first two-game losing streak since Chuck Pagano started coaching them last year.
Both teams also were dealing with season-ending injuries to key offensive performers.
Locker went down with a Lisfranc injury to his right foot against Jacksonville. That handed the job to Fitzpatrick, who had lost his two previous starts this season when Locker was out with a strained right hip and knee.
The Colts were playing a third straight game without wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during an Oct. 20 victory over Denver. The Colts also have lost running backs Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw, tight end Dwayne Allen and guard Donald Thomas to season-ending injuries.
Indianapolis also was playing without starting cornerback Greg Toler and backup cornerback Josh Gordy because of groin injuries. The Titans were missing starting center Brian Schwenke, who has an ankle injury.
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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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