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December 2, 2013

Colts survive challenge from Tennessee

Vinatieri boots 5 field goals in Indy's victory

(Continued)

Nine of those plays were runs, good for 78 yards, and most of the heavy lifting was done by running back Donald Brown — named the starter this week in place of a struggling Trent Richardson. But the biggest run might have come from Luck.

Facing third-and-two at his own 43-yard line, Luck rolled out to his right. He picked up a couple of blocks from fullback Stanley Havili and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey then rumbled 24 yards into Tennessee territory for a big first down that kept the drive going and the game clock running.

The play was designed as a bootleg pass, but Luck felt safer keeping the ball himself, and his teammates adjusted as soon as they saw him run. He made a cutback near the sideline about halfway through the scramble that again showed how strong his field vision and instincts are.

“I felt like I’d get some extra yards so I didn’t step out of bounds and wanted to stay in bounds and let that clock keep running,” Luck said. “So it worked out.”

Five plays later, Brown scored the Colts’ only touchdown on a four-yard run and gave the team an eight-point lead with less than two minutes remaining.

The Titans quickly got into Indianapolis territory on the ensuing possession with a 35-yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Kendall Wright on first down from their own 21. But the drive ended four plays later at the Colts’ 33-yard line when Fitzpatrick was intercepted by Indianapolis linebacker Jerrell Freeman with 24 seconds remaining.

It was the fourth takeaway for the Colts, who also got two interceptions from cornerback Cassius Vaughn and a fumble recovery by Freeman after a strip-sack by outside linebacker Robert Mathis.

“You can’t turn the ball over like that and expect to win in any game,” Fitzpatrick said. “... It was a tough game for us, and especially me, on offense, and we didn’t get the job done, and it hurts.”

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