Minutes after the Indianapolis Colts' 19-13 overtime win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, interim coach Bruce Arians was unable to recall the origins of the play design on a spectacular game-winning 16-yard touchdown catch by RB Vick Ballard.
Arians had watched the play in a college game about three years ago but couldn't remember the players involved or even the color of the jerseys worn by the teams. Still, he had little apprehension about running it after it worked several times last week in practice.
"I saw a Titans' uniform flash and I said 'Oh, God, this might be the end of the game in the wrong way,'" Luck said.
The play was a fake-toss-39-taxi-naked-right-screen-left. It worked perfectly. Ballard caught the ball, eluded Titans LB Colin McCarthy and performed a twisting dive past DBs Ryan Mouton and Michael Griffin into the end zone.
Ballard, a 217-pound rookie RB, had two close calls near the pylon in college at Mississippi State but failed to score on either. In Ballard's junior season against Arkansas, he dived for the pylon in overtime, but a Razorbacks' defender hit the ball out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.
"The third time is a charm," Ballard said.
The Titans (3-5, 0-2 AFC South) led throughout but were outscored 13-3 in the final quarter and overtime. Indianapolis (4-3, 1-1 AFC South) won consecutive games for the first time. Luck earned his first career road victory.
When the game turned: QB Matt Hasselbeck overshot TE Jared Cook across the middle on a potential touchdown with 1:15 left in regulation. The Titans were forced to punt two plays later. Colts TE Dwayne Allen had the ball stripped by Titans LB Akeem Ayers at the Colts' 28 with 26 seconds left. The Titans recovered, but officials ruled that Allen's forward progress had been stopped.
Highlight moments: Titans WR Kenny Britt appeared to have scored in the second quarter on a 22-yard go-route in the right corner of the end zone but was whistled for an offensive pass interference. ... Titans WR Kendall Wright scored on a sprawling 23-yard catch in the left corner of the end zone three plays later. ... Griffin ended the first half by blocking a 37-yard FG attempt by Colts K Adam Vinatieri. ... McCarthy dropped a likely pick-6 on a Luck incompletion in the third quarter. RB Delone Carter earned a key first down on a fourth-down run late in the fourth quarter, before scoring a game-tying, 1-yard touchdown on the following play.
- Colts: Luck -- 26 of 38 for 297 yards, TD, INT, 89.5 QB rating.
- Titans: Hasselbeck -- 22 of 29, 236 yards, TD, 110.7 QB rating.
- Titans: S Griffin had an interception and blocked a field goal.
What they said about Ballard's game-winning 16-yard touchdown:
- QB Luck -- “I thought it was a really neat play design by BA (Bruce Arians). When he called it, I wasn't too surprised because it had worked in practice. It was a roll-right with an option to throw to the middle of the field, the edge or to the left. I thought it was well-executed by all the guys."
- Arians -- “It was the time of the game and the place on the field that we had it dialed up. It looked so good in practice. I'm sure you will see that on SportsCenter a few times in the next week or so."
- RB Ballard -- “My head was up in the air so I really couldn't see where I was jumping. When I dove I didn't really know where I was at. When players do stuff like that they're really not thinking about it, they're just acting off instinct.”
Numbers you should know: Luck had a QB rating above 80.0 for the third time this season. Colts WR Reggie Wayne had seven catches for 91 yards on 11 targets. It was the sixth time this season Wayne has been targeted 10 times or more. Despite the loss, the Titans allowed fewer than 20 points for the first time this season.
Injury update: Titans RG Leroy Harris suffered a sprained knee and is expected to undergo additional testing Monday. Titans RB Chris Johnson left the game briefly in the second quarter after injuring his foot, but the injury isn’t serious.
Going forward: The Colts will face the Dolphins at home next week before going on the road for games at Jacksonville and New England. The Titans return home next week against Chicago then travel to play the Dolphins. It’s the Titans final game before their bye.
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Tennessee Titans, follow Matt Rybaltowski @CBSTitans.
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from Colts blogger Evan Hilbert, follow @CBSColts.