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Colts 27, Titans 13

Guided by Orlovsky, previously winless Colts take down Titans

By Michael Marot
Associated Press / December 19, 2011
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INDIANAPOLIS - The Colts avoided their first 0-16 season thanks to a quarterback who was trying to prevent his second.

Dan Orlovsky, who closed out the NFL’s only 0-16 season with Detroit in 2008, threw one touchdown pass and the key block to spring an 80-yard touchdown run yesterday and lead the previously winless Colts to a 27-13 win over playoff hopeful Tennessee.

It was the franchise’s first win in 14 years without Peyton Manning, and all it took was 14 tries and three quarterbacks.

Players and coaches celebrated by throwing their arms in the air, and Orlovsky got to close it out by taking the traditional kneeldown for the first time in his NFL career.

“I’m happy for a lot of people on this team, for a lot of people in this organization,’’ Orlovsky said. “It’s a lot better than the feeling we’ve had lately.’’

Indianapolis (1-13) had been waiting for what seemed like an eternity, 50 weeks, since its previous win, also at home against the Titans.

For Orlovsky, the drought was even longer. The seven-year veteran was 0-9 in his previous NFL starts. He didn’t have to do too much yesterday, going 11 of 17 for 82 yards and one touchdown, an 18-yarder to Reggie Wayne that gave the Colts a 10-6 lead in the third quarter.

“I think in my career, I’ve learned not to take them [wins] for granted,’’ Orlovsky said, drawing polite laughter.

Donald Brown added a career-high 161 yards rushing for Indianapolis, including a late 80-yard TD.

Had Tennessee (7-7) closed out the season with three wins, it might have been able to reach the postseason without any help. Now the Titans will probably need to win their last two games and get help from other teams to make it.

But Tennessee had only itself to blame for this one.

Matt Hasselbeck was 27 of 40 for 223 yards with no TDs and two interceptions before being lifted in favor of rookie Jake Locker. Chris Johnson ran 15 times for 55 yards. The Titans lost a fumble and muffed a kickoff out of bounds at their 1-yard line.

“I never would have expected us to come out, and they’re playing like the team going to the playoffs and we’re the team that’s 0-13,’’ Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “We just weren’t playing well at all. The intensity wasn’t there at the start.’’

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