- Mike Wells, ESPN Staff Writer
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Playing for pride: The offensive line had one of its best performances in weeks when the group helped the Colts rush for 137 yards, their highest total since Week 4 at Jacksonville, and only gave up one sack. “They took this one personal,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “They had a point to prove. It says something when you run the ball when everybody knows you’re going to run it.” The line’s performance against the Titans was drastically different from last weekend’s game against St. Louis. The Colts only ran for 18 yards and quarterback Andrew Luck was sacked three times against the Rams. The interior three linemen -- guards Hugh Thornton and Mike McGlynn and center Samson Satele -- are the ones opponents have taken advantage of most often this season. “We took a lot of flak from last week,” McGlynn said. “We didn’t play our best game. We battled and answered the bell. We played with pride and went out there and stepped up to the challenge.”
Running a lot means success: The Colts improved to a league-best 11-0 since 2012 when they have at least 30 rushing attempts. They ran the ball 32 times against the Titans. Pagano may have to make a decision at running back because Donald Brown had more attempts, 14-8, and outrushed Trent Richardson 80-22. Brown, who finds running lanes easier than Richardson, gained 51 of those yards in the second half when the Colts came from behind. “He’s been doing it all year,” Pagano said about Brown. “Donald is a guy that comes in every single day. He’s one of those guys that’s the first one in, the last one out. He puts his time in, practices extremely hard and is running better than he has his whole time here. The way he is running the football, his vision is just tremendous.”
Still slow starts: Colts defensive lineman Cory Redding said winning is the only thing that counts no matter how they do it. That’s true, but it still doesn’t hide the fact that the Colts continue to have to play from behind. They’ve been outscored 66-9 in the first half of their past three games against teams that have used backup quarterbacks. The Colts are 2-1 in those games. “I wish I could tell you why we start slow,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “I can tell you that the team always fights. There’s no give-up on this team. We’re always fighting until the end, and we did that.” The Colts are only the second team in the past five years to win two straight road games after trailing by at least 14 points, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Fleener steps up: Coby Fleener finally looked like the pass-catching tight end the Colts envisioned when they selected him in the second round of the 2012 draft. He had eight receptions for a career-high 107 yards. The 107 yards are the most for a Colts tight end since Jacob Tamme had 108 yards at Philadelphia in 2010. “Coby is a great matchup versus a lot of people,” Luck said. “He has worked so hard continually. He realizes with [receiver Reggie Wayne] down, it’s an opportunity for the tight ends to sort of help fill that void. He did a great job. He is so athletic, and he is so fast. I do think he creates a matchup problem in certain situations, and he did a good job of getting himself open tonight.”