The Indianapolis Colts brought a three-game slump to an end with a 30-28 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Thursday to close in on AFC South leaders Jacksonville.
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning threw for 319 yards and two touchdowns, both in the first half when the Colts surged to a 21-0 lead.
Manning had thrown 11 interceptions in his last three games, but the 10-time Pro Bowler completed 25 of 35 passes and had no turnovers against the Titans.
“I kept working and tried to have a positive attitude,” Manning told reporters of his recent struggles. “I believe I’ve stayed even keel throughout this time. People say ‘hang in there.’ I’ve never been out there.”
Indianapolis, now a half-game behind the Jaguars, are pursuing their ninth consecutive playoff appearance despite struggling with a raft of injuries this season. The team are still missing first choice running back Joseph Addai, who is out with a shoulder injury.
The Titans have also endured problems this season and fell to their sixth loss in a row on Thursday.
Kerry Collins threw three touchdowns for Tennessee (5-8), who pulled to 27-21 with eight minutes remaining.
The Colts (7-6) extended their lead again with a 47-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri with 2:55 left before the Titans scored a final touchdown as time expired.
Tennessee, who started the year 5-2, entered Thursday’s game having scored just six combined points in the last two games. They ended a streak of 14 quarters without an offensive touchdown when Chris Johnson scored from one yard in the second quarter.
Johnson finished with 111 yards rushing for the Titans, who trailed 21-7 at halftime, but scored 21 points in the second half to make it competitive.
Vinatieri had three field goals in the second half to keep Tennessee at bay.
“I’m very disappointed in the outcome of this ballgame,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. “We certainly played a lot better in second half — effort has not been the problem with this team. We just couldn’t get control of the game.”