Colts earn No. 3 seed in AFC after narrowly beating Titans

Here are three quick-hit observations on the Colts’ AFC South-clinching 23-20 win over the Titans on Sunday.

1. Colts hit jackpot on Sunday.
First, the Chiefs lost to the Raiders at home. Seven. Then, the Colts beat the Titans on a last-second field goal by Adam Vinatieri field goal as time expires. Seven. Then, the Jaguars lose to the Texans. Seven…jackpot. All right, so that last thing didn’t even need to happen if the Colts beat the Titans but it worked well with my jackpot theme so I forced it in there to make the bad analogy work. Sue me. Give Indianapolis credit for not backing down when Tennessee came out swinging. The Titans had nothing to play for and it’s human nature to think that, in that situation, Tennessee might roll over. But they didn’t, and the Colts showed some resolve by continuing to fight for four quarters. You would expect them to do that with the playoffs on the line, but look at the Chiefs. They would have won the No. 3 seed in the AFC had they beaten the Raiders, who also had nothing to play for. But the Chiefs thought Oakland would lay down and when Oakland didn’t, Kansas City tucked tail and ran away. Now Indianapolis has the No. 3 spot and has earned a date with the Jets next weekend.

2. Manning does it again.
This wasn’t an overly impressive outing for Peyton Manning, who was out-gunned by Kerry Collins (who threw for 300 yards and finished with a passer rating of 111.1). But it was Manning who once again came up clutch in the end by leading his team into field goal range in the closing minutes. Manning couldn’t move his offense much in the fourth quarter, but it didn’t matter in the end. He saved his best work for the finale and now the Colts are once again AFC South champions.

3. The Titans deserve some praise.
Give Tennessee credit for showing up to play on Sunday. This is a team that was criticized for giving up last weekend in Kansas City but they came out swinging against the Colts. When Indy held leads of 13-6 and 20-13, the Titans could have shut it down and let the Colts cruise in the second half. But Tennessee didn’t and the Titans wound up making a game out of it. And hey – surprise! – Randy Moss actually made a big play when he snagged a first down pass in the second half to keep a drive alive.

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