AFC South: 2011 Week 13 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Patriots 31, Colts 24

December, 4, 2011
Thoughts on theIndianapolis Colts’ 31-24 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium:

What it means: The Colts are 0-12, but get some credit for fighting back from a 31-3 deficit to get within a touchdown at the end. Quarterback Dan Orlovsky's final line -- 30-of-37 for 353 yards, two touchdowns and an interception -- gave him a 113.2 passer rating, less than 3 points off Tom Brady’s. But the bulk of Orlovsky’s completions and yards came after the Patriots had built a significant cushion.

What I didn’t like: The Patriots top two passing targets had their way with the Colts. Wes Welker was targeted by Brady 11 times and caught the pass all 11 times. Tight end Rob Gronkowski had two receiving touchdowns and one on what was judged to be a lateral. The Patriots scored on four touchdowns and a field goal on five of their first six possessions. On offense, running back Delone Carter lost a fumble, and such moments negate whatever confidence he’s built up during the week in practice from the coaching staff.

What I liked: Again, take it in the context of New England’s big early lead, but the Colts allowed on 3.0 yards per carry, converted 10 of 15 third downs and gained 437 net yards.

What’s next: The Colts travel to Baltimore for another very difficult AFC matchup that in recent years has typically had big playoff implications.

Wrap-up: Titans 23, Bills 17

December, 4, 2011
Thoughts on the Tennessee Titans’ 23-17 win over the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium:

What it means: The Titans improved to 7-5 and won two straight for the first time since Weeks 3 and 4. They’re still two games behind Houston in the AFC South, but at the very least they’ve got reasonable hopes about a wild-card playoff berth. Losses for Oakland and Cincinnati certainly helped the cause.

What I liked: Chris Johnson had a monster game for the second week in a row with 23 carries for 153 yards and two touchdowns. It’s taken too long, but this is what the Titans expected to look like -- a run-first team, with Matt Hasselbeck making some key throws and a defense that can get the ball back for them.

Who I like: Rookie middle linebacker Colin McCarthy continues to shine. He had a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries and led the team in tackles with nine. The Titans had a good draft, but he's not a guy who was expected to make an immediate defensive impact. No one’s making the contribution he is right now.

What I didn’t like: The Titans won despite converting just two of 11 third downs, while allowing the Bills to move the chains seven times on 16 third downs. But Tennessee did match Buffalo with 18 total first downs, so the Titans were getting them on first and second downs. Running back C.J. Spiller averaged 5.9 yards a carry.

What’s next: The Titans host high-powered New Orleans at LP Field in a game that may provide as big a challenge for the defense as it's had all season.