Titans 31, Colts 21: The Reign of Indianapolis Is Over

Well that was convincing.

If there was any doubt that the Titans have replaced the Colts as the elite team of the AFC South, it was all put to rest last night. The Titans are one of the best teams in the NFL, and a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The Colts? They're just hoping right now to figure out a way to get back to the playoffs.

If you've watched both of these teams this season, that shouldn't have been very surprising. The Colts have struggled to stop the run all year. Their decision to go with a pair of inexperienced offensive guards has been a gamble that hasn't paid off, and injuries on the offensive line have made things worse. And without the stretch play/running game to make Peyton Manning's magical play-action more effective, the Colts passing game isn't the same world beater it's been for years.

But if you haven't been paying much attention to the Titans, you might have been surprised to see Kerry Collins matching Manning throw for throw last night. But Collins' steady play has been the icing on the cake for the Titans this year. The defense is the key to Tennessee's success, especially now that the secondary (two more interceptions last night) has caught up to the dominating front seven, but Collins gives them a quarterback who can be counted on to move the chains and surprisingly pile up the points.

That's what the Titans had been lacking. With Vince Young at quarterback, the Titans always relied on keeping the score down and winning a defensive struggle. Now with Collins, Tennessee can win defensive struggles, by running over teams and also by going to the air. The Titans put this game in Collins' hands. The Titans called pass plays on 13 of their first 22 plays on the first three drives, something they would never have done if they were still relying on Vince Young.

Collins threw 37 passes last night, which is more than Young has ever thrown in an NFL game. In five of the last seven games Collins has started, the Titans have scored 30 or more points. In the last 16 games Young started, the Titans scored 30 points once.

The Titans may have a bad group of receivers, but as long as people think that they are the same three-yards and a cloud of dust team they were in past years, they'll continue to keep flying under the radar with the best record in the league.

NFL FanHouse

Titans 31, Colts 21: The Reign of Indianapolis Is Over originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on 2008-10-28T09:25:00+00:00. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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