INDIANAPOLIS – Dr. Delanie saved the day, resuscitating the Titans’ offense and its push for an AFC South title.
Two-time Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker caught his first touchdown of the season late in the third quarter of a 20-16 comeback victory against the Colts on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Walker caught a two-yard scoring pass from Marcus Mariota to cut the Colts lead to 16-13 with 1:50 remaining in the third. He immediately dropped to his knees and began performing CPR on the football, mimicking chest compressions and pausing to listen for breath.
“I really just thought of that at that moment, and I was like, now we’re about to put life back into our team,” Walker said. “That’s basically what it meant.”
The victory, coupled with the Jaguars’ loss at Arizona, moved Tennessee into a first-place tie with Jacksonville atop the AFC South with five games to play.
But the Titans’ (7-4) offense flailed through much of the game, which is a bit of a trend this season.
Marcus Mariota threw two interceptions, giving him six in two games, and the Titans had just three rushing yards on 13 carries entering the fourth quarter.
But Mariota ultimately led his fourth game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime this season, which ties Washington’s Kirk Cousins for most in the NFL, according to pro-football-reference.com. Mariota, who leads the league with three fourth quarter comebacks, also led game-winning drives in the first matchup with the Colts and against the Browns and Bengals.
The Titans are 4-0 this season – and 8-0 since the start of last season – in games decided by four points or fewer.
“It says a lot about our team, about our locker room,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said about the comeback in Indianapolis. “I’ve used this word many a time: resilient. A close group, never waver regardless of the score, what time of the game it is. We think we can win until the final buzzer. That’s just the way we are. That’s this team. It says a lot about our guys in that locker room.”
Walker’s score was set up by Kevin Byard’s fumble recovery deep in Indianapolis territory.
And after sputtering once more on the ensuing drive, the offense snapped to life, in large part because of running back Derrick Henry, who rushed for 79 yards on 10 carries in the fourth quarter.
DeMarco Murray’s one-yard, go-ahead touchdown capped a nine-play, 77-yard drive with about six minutes to play.
“Offensively, we’ve got to just do a lot better than how we played in the first half and throughout the game,” Murray said. “Every guy needs to look in the mirror and just get better.”
The Titans’ defense came up with a quick stop, and the offense went to work once more, putting together another nine-play drive that milked the final 3:54 off the clock.
Walker jokingly declined to take full credit for sparking the turnaround.
“I wouldn’t say it’s because of that,” Walker said, “but I think everybody knew what time it was. We’re one of those teams that finish. We may start slow, but we finish strong.”
Reach Jason Wolf at [email protected]m and follow him on Twitter at @JasonWolf and on Instagram and Snapchat at TitansBeat.
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