NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 12 PFF ReFocused: Tennessee Titans 45, Indianapolis Colts 26

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) celebrates his touchdown with teammates in the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans got revenge on the Indianapolis Colts, took control of the AFC South, and rode King Henry all the way to a comfortable victory this week, eschewing the close battle most people predicted heading into the weekend.

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.


With no DeForest Buckner for the Colts, the team was completely unable to stop Derrick Henry on the ground and the Titans were only too happy to ride him all the way to an unassailable lead.

The Colts fought valiantly to peg it back but couldn’t come close enough with time running low before an onside attempt ended up going back the other way for six in the hands of A.J. Brown. As has been the theme recently, the Titans were carried by their super-athletes, with Henry and Brown combining for big-time plays and a lot of points.

As a team, the Titans rushed for 217 yards, with 129 of them coming on explosive rushes of 10 or more yards. Henry accounted for most of that yardage (178 yards, 119 after contact), breaking eight tackles and bringing up 10 first downs. The Titans averaged 0.122 expected points added (EPA) per play on the ground, which is more than twice as much as the Colts managed in total on offense.

In addition to returning the onside kick for a touchdown to put the game to bed once and for all, A.J. Brown also scored a receiving touchdown and came up just short of another 100-yard receiving game, with 98 yards from four catches in six targets. The Titans have been at their best this season when those big-bodied super-athletes of Henry and Brown are firing because teams just don’t have the defenders that can match up with them, particularly when elite players are out of the game up front, making that less likely.

Critically, the Titans were also able to force Philip Rivers into a bad-Rivers game that featured multiple turnover-worthy plays, which usually signals a bad day at the office for the Colts' offense as a whole. With their defense also struggling, this was a game the Colts were just overmatched in and destined to come up second-best.

Rookie Watch

The big contributions from rookies in this game came from the Colts, with three starters across both offense and defense. Michael Pittman Jr. played 56 snaps and saw nine targets overall. He caught just two of them, however, with as many drops as secured catches, and he ended the game with only 28 receiving yards despite a lot of opportunities to do better.

With Ryan Kelly out, fifth-rounder Danny Pinter got the start at center, playing 67 total snaps. Pinter’s performance was solid on the ground as a run-blocker, but his pass blocking was far less assured, which contributed to the bad day at the office for Philip Rivers. Pinter allowed a couple of pressures as well as another couple of pass-blocking losses and will likely end up with a pretty ugly PFF pass-blocking grade by the time the game has been reviewed.

Lastly, Julian Blackmon continued his run in the secondary for the Colts. This one won’t go down as one of his better games of the season, with a missed tackle and some ugly reps against that dominant Titans rushing attack. 

With no Buckner, the Colts also saw 19 combined snaps for defensive linemen Kameron Cline and Robert Windsor, with neither player standing out in a big way.

Tennessee’s first-round rookie Isaiah Wilson finally saw the first snaps of his NFL career this week, but they were limited to just three plays at the end of the game as the Titans took a knee three times to wind down the final seconds of the clock.

The team’s biggest contribution from a rookie came on the defensive line, with Teair Tart registering 22 snaps inside. He managed one defensive stop on the afternoon. 

ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts and more in Premium Stats 2.0.

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