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Tennessee didn't play with a hint of concern about being able to hang with the defending Super Bowl champs and appeared to thrive -- at least for a good while -- given far greater stakes than the team has had in a December game since 2011.
"For the second-consecutive week, that was not the prettiest of games," Koetter said. "[I'm] very proud of our guys and Dolphins jersey cheap for finding a way. It starts with our defense. Who says they don't play defense in Tampa Bay?"
Down 16-10, the Colts had an opportunity to take the momentum back after Dorsett drew a pass interference call to give them the ball at Houston's 5-yard line. But that momentum went away when Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney blew by Colts tight end Dwayne Allen to strip the ball away from Luck. The Texans recovered the fumble.
And even though Brees' Bucs counterpart, Winston, didn't reach the end zone himself on any throws, he's thrilled for the way his defense continues to perform. They've gone from giving up, on-average, 29 points per game in Weeks 1-9, fourth-most in the league, to giving up 13.25 in Weeks 10-14, the fewest in the league. They've also forced 11 turnovers in that span, second-most in the league.
"It was a gritty performance by us. We knew we had to come in and establish the run," veteran left tackle Duane Brown said. "We ran consistently. We were able to kind of impose our will on them there in the fourth quarter. It is always a good feeling."
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Indianapolis rode Luck's right arm to three wins in the past four games to get back in the AFC South race. It was Luck's same right arm that got the Colts in trouble.
Thank God for our defense," Winston said. "I keep saying that all the time. It's amazing. What they did to Philip Rivers last week, what they did to Drew this week, what they did to Russell Wilson the week before -- we are playing good Buccaneer football. Coach Koetter said, 'That Buc defense is starting to get back.'"
"It’s tough because we have to play the 'wishing and hoping' game," Colts running back Frank Gore said. "We knew what this game meant. Houston came out and made more plays than us. They got the win. In this game, whoever makes the most plays, that’s who wins."
"Right now, we're a confident bunch," said Tandy, who stepped in for Chris Conte again this week and led the team with nine combined tackles, a tackle for a loss and three pass breakups to go along with his Miami Dolphins jersey pick. "A confident bunch is a scary bunch, and hopefully we can keep it rolling."
Also for the second straight week, backup safety Keith Tandy made a game-winning interception. It came on fourth-and-1, with :57 seconds remaining, on a pass intended for Willie Snead at the New Orleans 47-yard line.
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The loss dropped the Colts (6-7) out of a first-place tie in the division and into third place. It also marked the third time this season that they failed to move above .500. They're going to need to win their final four games and get help and http://www.chinanfl.com/ from others to have a chance to win the division, especially with the Texans sweeping the season series against them.
The loss dropped the Colts (6-7) out of a first-place tie in the division and into third place. It also marked the third time this season that they failed to move above .500. They're going to need to win their final four games and get help from others to have a chance to win the division, especially with the Texans sweeping the season series against them.
"I just knew we needed a play, needed a touchdown," Stafford said. "And I had it made up in my mind once I started running I wasn't going to be denied. So it was a good play, but there were a bunch of other really good plays in that game that helped us win."
With three games left, Tennessee (7-6) is very much alive in the AFC South and is tied with the Houston Texans atop the division thanks to a win the Titans were built to deliver. If the Titans win their final three games -- at Kansas City, at Jacksonville and home against Houston -- they will win the AFC South.
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The Bears have proved to be Stafford’s biggest problem this season. He’s thrown seven interceptions all season -- four of them against Chicago. He had his first red zone interception since 2014 against the Bears Sunday. He completed 21 of 35 passes for 223 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions -- one of his most inefficient days of the year.
A team with a title and winning record wears a rather large target, and opponents have taken their swings. The Titans fit the profile, as a power running team coming off a bye week that was looking to prove a point. The Titans wanted to show they can be a playoff team with China jerseys, facing down a Super Bowl winner and shoving it aside.
Matthew Stafford's 7-yard TD run in the fourth quarter was the difference in the win over the Bears. Leon Halip/Getty ImagesThat play, though, was the most predictable of Stafford plays in its unpredictability. Because that’s just what Stafford has been this season for Detroit. He continues to find ways to make plays for his team -- even when his own play is a bit shaky, as it was Sunday.
In the second quarter, Vernon Hargreaves III intercepted Brees on third-and-9 on a pass intended for Coby Fleener, setting up a 39-yard field goal to make it 13-0. Then came a sack by Robert Ayers for a 9-yard loss to cap off a goal-line stand just before halftime, relegating the Saints to a 34-yard field goal after the offense surrendered a safety.