INDIANAPOLIS _ Trailing 21-10, but having just scored and knowing they would have the second-half kickoff, the Tennessee Titans had to feel good about how they closed the first half — until they allowed Peyton Manning to drive the Colts into field goal range, thanks in part to a personal foul penalty on Titans’ defensive tackle Tony Brown.
Brown tripped over the pile as he was rushing Manning, and got back up and shoved Colts guard Kyle DeVan. Brown had his helmet knocked off and was livid over the play, drawing a 15-yard penalty for the shove that helped set up Matt Stover’s 43-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
Brown then body slammed DeVan on the field goal attempt, but was not flagged. As the Jumbotron showed Brown as he walked off the field, he stopped and smiled broadly, then made a “call me” gesture by pretending to hold a phone, drawing jeers from the partisan Colts crowd.
“I think he had a legitimate excuse,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said after the loss. “Regardless of what happens out there, you can’t act that way in these situations and you have to control it.”
Titans teammates, however, didn’t find it nearly as entertaining considering it gave Indy three more points in what was a 10-point game.
“They had it at the 40, and then we get a stupid penalty of 15 yards that gives them field position,” linebacker Keith Bulluck said. “If we didn’t get that penalty, once we got that onside kick, we’re probably playing to [tie].
“For once, I must say I’m on the same wavelength as the coaches. Coaches always stress, especially Coach Fisher, penalties that have absolutely nothing to do with the play. They are dumb penalties and they hurt us as a team.”
Cornerback Cortland Finnegan was asked about the action, and just shook his head, gave a frustrated laugh and said, “I'll just say no comment.”
Brown was asked about the play on his way out of the locker room and told two reporters, he was headed to find his son, “Ain’t nothing to talk about. I’m just trying to find my little boy.”
Quarterback Vince Young’s only interception of the game came when Jacob Lacey picked off a pass intended for Kenny Britt near the sideline. When the play was over, Young came up to Britt and spoke to him, and the rookie slammed his helmet to the turf on the sideline.
Britt stopped rolling with Young, who was headed to his right to avoid pressure on the play.
“It’s called the scramble drill. You either come back to the ball to the sideline or go up field. I was working toward the sideline, but I thought I was too close, so I started working up field when he threw the ball,” Britt said.
Britt was also involved in a fourth-down play from the 2-yard line where he caught the ball, but Jacob Lacey shoved him out of bounds before he landed, causing the play to be incomplete.
“He couldn’t knock it down, so he pushed me out of bounds. I couldn’t get my feet down in time, and I take my hat off to him,” Britt said.
Safety Michael Griffin left the game in the second half after getting a burner in his shoulder. Griffin said the injury was similar to the one he suffered against the Houston Texans two weeks ago.
Ahmard Hall had an ankle injury on a punt coverage play, and tight end Jared Cook suffered a concussion, which could keep him out next week if only for the fact of the NFL’s new rules regarding head injuries.
Pick your poison
The Titans did a good job in controlling Colts star receiver Reggie Wayne, who had just four catches for 48 yards. They did that by shadowing Finnegan on him for much of the day.
Asked how much he had Wayne, Finnegan said there were, “about two or three snaps I wasn’t on him.”
Still, the Colts other receivers did damage, as Pierre Garcon led the way, catching six passes for 136 yards from Manning.
“That was my whole game plan. I just wanted to sort of take Wayne out of the game plan. Credit them for finding and making plays,” Finnegan said.
When the game was over, Manning and Finnegan spoke to each other at midfield.
“He told me he appreciated the way I played the way and to just stay healthy,” Finnegan said of Manning.