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SUNDAY NIGHT spotlight Expect Colts to air it out

October 11, 2009|Sam Farmer

If the Tennessee Titans hope to put something in the left-hand column -- namely their first victory of the season -- they had better do something about the right arm of Peyton Manning.

Manning, whose Indianapolis Colts play at Tennessee tonight, is the hottest quarterback in football. He's coming off four consecutive 300-yard passing performances and has a good chance of becoming the third player in NFL history -- along with Kurt Warner and Steve Young -- to tear off five in a row.

It's not as if the Titans are doing much to stop opposing passers. Tennessee (0-4) is ranked last in pass defense, giving up an average of 282.2 yards a game. The Colts (4-0) have the league's most productive passing attack at 330.2 yards.

What's more, the Titans will have to contend with the Colts' no-huddle offense, which Manning runs beautifully, frequently catching defenses in mismatches.

"Everybody has to be on their toes, everybody has to get the calls, everybody has to be on the same page," Titans defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch told reporters last week.

It would appear the biggest mismatch would be, simply, Colts versus Titans, but the game could be much more competitive than it looks on paper. Tennessee was an NFL-best 13-3 last season and has beaten the Colts in Nashville in two of their last three meetings.

One of the most remarkable things about Manning's performance this season is he's putting up these gaudy numbers despite losing No. 2 receiver Anthony Gonzalez in the opener.

Second-year receiver Pierre Garcon and rookie Austin Collie have stepped into that void and have played tremendously well. They have combined for 22 catches and three touchdowns.

"That organization does a great job with their depth," Titans Coach Jeff Fisher said.

As for Tennessee's depth, Fisher is just hoping Manning & Co. don't cause the Titans to sink to a new one.

-- Sam Farmer

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