NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Titans avoided becoming the first team to lose to the winless Indianapolis Colts. A running back controversy may be inevitable.
Matt Hasselbeck threw for 224 yards and a touchdown, and Nate Washington scored twice and the Titans beat Indianapolis 27-10 Sunday.
Rob Bironas kicked field goals of 51 and 50 yards, and Jason McCourty recovered a blocked punt in the end zone as the Titans (4-3) snapped a two-game skid.
They also sacked Curtis Painter twice and intercepted him twice, turning those turnovers into 14 points for their first win in this AFC South rivalry since Oct. 27, 2008.
The Colts (0-8) never really threatened to win their sixth straight in this matchup.
Already without Peyton Manning, who signed autographs in the end zone during warmups, the Colts trailed 20-0 by halftime coming off a 62-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
The Colts outgained Tennessee 399-311, but couldn’t overcome 10 penalties for 66 yards.
The Titans came in with the NFL’s worst running game. Chris Johnson struggled again and heard more boos from the home fans as he ran 14 times for 34 yards.
This time, backup Javon Ringer was more productive as he ran 14 times for 60 yards. He also caught a team-high five passes for 42 yards and was on the field late in the fourth quarter.
Indianapolis reshuffled its offensive line again due to injuries with left tackle Anthony Castonzo, left guard Joe Reitz and right guard Ryan Diem out. Jeff Linkenbach swung from right to left tackle.
The Colts pulled within 20-10 when Donald Brown capped an 80-yard drive with a 4-yard TD with 13:29 left. The Colts got their lone sack of Hasselbeck and forced the Titans to punt with 9:38 left. But Titans defensive end Jason Jones tipped Painter’s pass into the air, and linebacker Barrett Ruud hauled in the interception with 8:18 remaining.
Hasselbeck found Washington alone in the end zone for a 14-yard TD pass to seal the victory with 5:20 left.
Indy tried to rally and had 1st-and-goal twice down the stretch. But Michael Griffin broke up a fourth-down pass to Dallas Clark with 2:37 left, and Painter missed connecting with Pierre Garcon on the second with 26 seconds remaining.
Tennessee relied on special teams most of the first half as the offense bogged down early, settling for field goals of 51 and 50 yards from Bironas.
Patrick Bailey broke through and blocked Pat McAfee’s punt, and McCourty grabbed the ball out of the air before falling to the ground for the TD and a 10-0 lead with 9:52 left in the second.
McCourty also tipped a pass intended for Garcon to Griffin for the interception. That seemed to give the Titans a spark on offense along with Ringer at running back and Johnson watching from the sideline.
With first-and-goal at the Colts 3, Washington ran in for his first rushing TD just before halftime for a 20-0 lead.