NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Chris Johnson ran for two touchdowns and the Tennessee Titans led the Indianapolis Colts 14-0 after the first quarter Thursday night.
Johnson capped the Titans' first two drives with 30- and 7-yard scoring runs. He entered the night having rushed for as many as 40 yards just once in his last six games, but he already had 70 yards on eight carries by the end of the first period.
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 a bruising 7-yard carry from Johnson. 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 7 of 8 for 72 yards in the period. Tight end Delanie Walker had four catches for 43 yards.
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.
Titans quarterback Jake 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 the Denver Broncos. 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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