NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Titans know it's almost impossible to win a game turning the ball over three times.
They found a way to overcome their mistakes for a big win against a team they rarely beat, especially in Nashville.
Ryan Tannehill threw for 197 yards and three touchdowns, and the Titans held off the Indianapolis Colts 25-16 Sunday to grab an early tiebreaker in the AFC South.
“I'll take a win no matter what ... ,” said Tannehill, who was intercepted twice. “Find a way to win. Obviously have some things to clean up, but we found a way to win, and that's why we're here.”
The road team had won the previous five games in this division rivalry with the Titans only 8-16 in Nashville in this series.
This was their first home win over the Colts since Oct. 16, 2017. Tennessee also hadn't won a game turning it over three times since beating Atlanta 20-13 on Oct. 7, 2007.
This time, the Titans (2-1) are the defending AFC South champs with a healthy Derrick Henry. The reigning AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year ran for 113 yards to top the 100-yard mark for a sixth straight division game.
The Colts turned two interceptions of Tannehill into 10 points. Coach Frank Reich called it a “heartbreaking loss.”
“You don't lose many games when you win the turnovers 3-0,” Reich said.
The Colts (0-3) are off to their worst start since 2011.
“It just feels like a bad dream, honestly,” Colts linebacker Darius Leonard said. “Starting 0-3, first loss here in Tennessee. It just sucks. Got to find a way to win.”
Carson Wentz started after being questionable for Indianapolis with a pair of sprained ankles.
He never ran once, choosing to throw the ball away repeatedly when pressured. He finished with 194 yards passing.
The Colts twice had first-and-goal inside the Titans 9 in the second half. Tennessee's defense, much-maligned in 2020, held the Colts to a pair of field goals by Rodrigo Blankenship. The last came with 10:20 left when Blankenship's 24-yarder pulled the Colts within 22-16.
Tennessee then put the game away, going on a 14-play drive chewing up 7:22 of the clock. Randy Bullock put Tennessee up 25-16 with a 32-yard field goal.
“For the defense to be playing good in the red zone and force a lot of field goals and let them only score one touchdown, I think that was pretty strong,” Titans safety Kevin Byard said. “Definitely encouraging. We're 1-0 in the division, so it's a great day.”
The Titans had plenty of opportunities to blow this game open, but led only 14-10 at halftime because of two interceptions.
Leonard picked off Tannehill to set up a 9-yard TD run by Nyheim Hines. Kenny Moore II picked off the second, and the Colts got a 43-yard field goal by Blankenship as the first half expired.
Tannehill threw a 6-yard TD pass to Chester Rogers against his old team and found Westbrook-Ikhine on an 18-yard TD – the first of the receiver's career.
Henry also caught a pass from Tannehill under pressure and finished off a 14-yard play with Leonard bouncing off him in the second quarter.
Tennessee 25, Indianapolis 16
Cleveland 26, Chicago 6
Arizona 31, Jacksonville 19
Atlanta 17, N.Y. Giants 14
Baltimore 19, Detroit 17
Cincinnati 24, Pittsburgh 10
L.A. Chargers 30, Kansas City 24
New Orleans 28, New England 13
Buffalo 43, Washington 21
Las Vegas 31, Miami 28, OT
Denver 26, N.Y. Jets 0
Minnesota 30, Seattle 17
L.A. Rams 34, Tampa Bay 24
Green Bay 30, San Francisco 28
Carolina 24, Houston 9 (Thursday)
Philadelphia at Dallas, 8:15 p.m.