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Henry reigns as Titans hold off Colts for 24-17 victory

In the matchup of NFL rushing champs Sunday, it was the two-time winner who reigned supreme.

INDIANAPOLIS — Derrick Henry got right back to business against the Indianapolis Colts.

He took on some defenders by slamming his big body through the line of scrimmage, eluded others in the open field and even turned receptions into key first downs.

Yes, in the matchup of NFL rushing champs Sunday, it was the two-time winner who reigned supreme.

Henry rushed for a season-high 114 yards, scored one touchdown and watched the Tennessee Titans' defense make three late stops to preserve a 24-17 victory.

"Derrick ran hard and I thought the coaches had a really good plan for how we were going to run the football," coach Mike Vrabel said. "It wasn't perfect, but that did look more like our running game."

Credit: AP
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry leaps past Indianapolis Colts safety Rodney Thomas II for a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Fla., Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

It was the healthiest the bruising Henry has looked since breaking a bone in his right foot in his previous trip to Indy, an injury that may have cost him a third consecutive rushing crown.

Clearly, Henry wasn't the same in Tennessee's playoff loss last season or in the first three games this season when he averaged 3.4 yards per carry.

Yet the Titans (2-2) followed the familiar script by leaning heavily on Henry early and he delivered with his fifth 100-yard game in the past six games of this series and rode it to a franchise-record four straight against Indy. The Titans are 11-2 against AFC South opponents since 2020.

And once again, all the Colts (1-2-1) could do was try to keep up. Three turnovers and the three missed scoring chances over the final 16 minutes were just too much to overcome. The Colts have one win in their past six games.

"We feel like we're seeing some things we want to see," Colts coach Frank Reich said. "But in the end we need to play better, we need to execute better, we need to stop turning the ball over, we need to start getting turnovers, we need to run the football a little bit better and start faster."

Finding a way to keep Henry in check might help, too. He needed less than two quarters to top 100 yards and stake the Titans to a 24-3 lead.

Ryan Tannehill took advantage of the first turnover, Matt Ryan's eighth fumble of the season, with a 7-yard TD pass to Robert Woods. Henry extended the margin by making Brandon Facyson miss in the backfield and sprinting 19 yards for the score. After the teams traded field goals, Tannehill hooked up with Chig Okonkwo on an 8-yard TD pass.

Ryan finally answered with a 14-yard TD pass to Mo Alie-Cox late in the first half and a scoring pass to Alie-Cox to cut the deficit to 24-17 midway through the third quarter.

Then the Titans defense stiffened — sacking Ryan to knock Indy out of field-goal range, recovering Jonathan Taylor's fumble on another third down near its 20-yard line and watching Chase McLaughlin's 51-yard field goal sail wide left with 1:58 to play.

"That's what you have to do, find ways to win," Vrabel said. "We came up with some huge stops defensively when, maybe, we were not at our best. They kept fighting and competing."


Titans: Tannehill was 17 of 21 with 137 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He was sacked three times. ... Defensive lineman Denico Autry had two sacks and forced one fumble against his former team. ... Henry also caught three passes for 33 as Tennessee improved to 25-1 when he has at least 25 touches. ... Coach Mike Vrabel won his 45th game and passed Jack Pardee for third on the franchise's career list.

Colts: Taylor had 20 carries for 42 yards before leaving the game. ... Ryan wound up 27 of 37 with 356 yards, two TD passes and one interception. ... Alie-Cox had six catches for 85 yards and had the first multi-TD game of his career. ... Receiver Alec Pierce had four receptions for 80 yards. ... Indy's defense allowed 77.0 yards rushing in the first three weeks.


Titans: Linebacker Bud Dupree returned from a hip injury but reinjured the hip during the first half and rookie receiver Treylon Burks did not return after being carted to the locker room in the second half with a right foot injury.

Colts: Three-time All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard's season debut was brief. In the second quarter, Leonard collided with a teammate near the goal and was helped immediately from the field to the locker room where he was diagnosed with a concussion. Taylor, last year's rushing champ, left late with an injured ankle.

RELATED: Colts' Leonard makes season debut, then suffers concussion


"I'm sure he's upset," Titans safety Kevin Byard said, referring to Colts owner Jim Irsay. "We've been able to win the division the past couple years, so he understands the division is going to go through the Colts and the Titans. I'm sure he wanted to get the win, but we had to get this 'W.'"


Titans: Head to Washington next Sunday.

Colts: Visit Denver on Thursday night.

Follow all the action on our game blog:

3:50 p.m. - The Titans beat the Colts 24-17.

3:43 p.m. - Colts miss a 51-yard field goal attempt. The Colts trail the Titans by 7 with 2 minutes to play.

3:42 p.m. - On 3rd and 13, Ryan gets sacked.

3:40 p.m. - A bomb from Ryan to Pierce puts the Colts inside the Titans 25.

3:35 p.m. - A big stand by the Colts defense with Kwity Paye getting a sack on Tannehill to force a punt.

3:28 p.m. - Jonathan Taylor fumbles on third and short and the Titans recover.

3:26 p.m. - Ryan to Pierce for a first down.

3:24 p.m. - Mo Alie-Cox with a big catch and run all the way into Titans territory. 

3:20 p.m. - Colts manage to stop Tannehill as he rushed trying to get a first down. Titans will have to punt.

3:16 p.m. - The Colts opt to punt instead of going for the 57-yard field goal.

3:12 p.m. - Colts trail 17-24 at the end of the third quarter.

3:11 p.m. - Matt Ryan fumbles...again...for a huge loss. Colts manage to recover. It will be 3rd and 26.

3:10 p.m. - Ryan to Dulin again for a first down.

3:08 p.m. - Ryan to Ashton Dulin for a first down.

3:06 p.m. - Another big throw from Ryan to Granson for a catch near the 40.

3:02 p.m. - Back-to-back stops for the Colts defense and the Titans are forced to punt.

2:56 p.m. - Ryan to Mo Alie-Cox again for a touchdown. Colts trail the Titans 17-24.

2:55 p.m. - It's first and goal after Ryan connects with Granson.

2:53 p.m. - Taylor slips some tackles for an 11-yeard run.

2:52 p.m. - Ryan connects with Pierce for a huge gain and the Colts are to the Titans 35.

2:47 p.m. - Titans are forced to punt.

2:46 p.m. - Colts sack Tannehill for a big loss.

2:44 p.m. - Shaq Leonard is out of the game with a concussion.

2:29 p.m. - The Titans fail to get a field goal off on time and lead at the half by 24-10.

2:25 p.m. - Henry rushes for a Titans first down and to the Colts 45.

2:17 p.m. - Ryan connects with Alie-Cox for a Colts touchdown.

2:16 p.m. - Shaq Leonard is being evaluated for a head injury, per the Colts.

2:15 p.m. - Ryan connects with Woods for a big gain and the Colts are to the Titans 5.

2:14 p.m. - Taylor bands his way through for a first down.

2:14 p.m. - Ryan to Pittman and the Colts are near the Titans 40.

2:12 p.m. - Ryan connects with Campbell for 18 yards and a first down.

2:07 p.m. - Shaq Leonard had helmet to helmet contact with a teammate and was taken off the field to the locker room.

2:05 p.m. - Tannehill to rookie Okonkwo for a touchdown. Titans lead 24-3.

2:04 p.m. - Tannehill to Woods again for a first down at the Colts 11.

2:03 p.m. - Henry rushes for a touchdown, but it is negated by a holding penalty on the Titans.

2:01 p.m. - Ryan's pass is tipped and intercepted. Titans have it inside the Colts 30.

1:57 p.m. - The Colts come up with a big stop and the Titans are forced to kick a field goal. Titans lead 17-3.

1:54 p.m. - Burks rushes for a Titans first down.

1:51 p.m. - Tannehill to Woods and then a penalty on the Colts tacks 15 yards on top of the first down. Titans are at the Colts 42.

1:46 p.m. - Colts settle for a field goal and trail 3-14.

1:42 p.m. - Ryan to Mo Alie-Cox for a first down inside the 10.

1:38 p.m. - Ryan hits Parris Campbell for a first down.

1:36 p.m. - A pass to Pittman and the Colts have a first down in Titans territory. 

1:35 p.m. - Ryan to Granson for a first down and the Colts are past the 40.

1:30 p.m. - Henry rushes for a touchdown and the Titans lead 14-0.

1:30 p.m. - Tannehill with a big throw and the Titans are inside the 20.

1:29 p.m. - Henry rushes for 22 yards and into Colts territory. 

1:28 p.m. - Tannehill connects with Hooper for a first down.

1:23 p.m. - A quick 3 and out for the Colts.

1:18 p.m. - Tannehill connects with Woods for a touchdown. Titans lead 7-0.

1:17 p.m. - Henry rushes for a first down inside the Colts 10.

1:16 p.m. - Tannehill rushes for a Titans first down.

1:11 p.m. - Matt Ryan fumbles while getting sacked and the Titans recover with excellent field position in Colts territory. That's Ryan's 8th fumble this season.

1:09 p.m. - A Titans penalty earns the Colts a fresh set of downs.

1:07 p.m. - A pass to Kylen Granson for a first down.

1:04 p.m. - Jonathan Taylor rushes for a first down.

1:03 p.m. - And here we go. Colts start from the 25.

12:27 p.m. - Shaq Leonard is out on the field and warming up.

12:14 p.m. - We're sure hoping they can.

12:01 a.m. - The roof is open at LOS for today's game.

11:30 a.m. - Colts LB Shaquille Leonard is active for the first time this season. His presence, along with that of fellow defender DeForest Buckner, will be a big boost for the Colts' ability to slow down the Titans' running game.

10:30 a.m. - The roof is open at Lucas Oil Stadium for today's 1 p.m. kickoff.

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