This time around, the muscular Colts play the role of bullies against the Titans
Led by Zack Moss, Gardner Minshew and others, Indy won its first home game in almost a year. The Colts are 3-2 now. Go figure.
For years, too many years for the anybody’s taste, the Tennessee Titans have out-toughed and bullied the Colts, hitting them in the mouth with Derrick Henry, physically and emotionally pounding them five meetings in a row. It was frustrating and it was embarrassing, the Titans doing what they wanted to do – namely, hand the ball off to Henry, with a little help from quarterback Ryan Tannehill and his receivers, winning by playing angry and playing smart.
Sunday, all that changed. Sunday, a day when the Colts once again lost quarterback Anthony Richardson to an early shoulder injury – yes, you may officially start to worry about his durability – the Colts rode Zack Moss, the offensive line, Gardner Minshew and a staunch defense to do to the Titans what the Titans usually do to the Colts.
The final was 23-16, the Colts’ first home victory in almost a year, and if you figured the home team would start the season 3-2, especially when Richardson failed to finish three of his four starts, well, you’re one smart human.
But the Colts are playing bully ball, a significant departure from their efforts last year, when they were mentally soft and generally incapable of winning the hard way. Or the easy way. Or any way, for that matter. This was a group that blew a 33-point halftime lead to Minnesota, and gave up 33 points in a ridiculous fourth-quarter effort against Dallas. They were 4-12-1. All things considered, it’s best not trying to remember.
This group, led by Steichen and his staff, is made of far sterner stuff. Sunday, they limited Henry to 43 rushing yards, a 3.3 yard-per-carry average. And rushing against the best running defense in the league, the Colts rushed for 193 yards, a 5.7-yard average.
“This was great,” center Ryan Kelly said. “I haven’t seen excitement from the team like this in a long time.”