INDIANAPOLIS — The Colts avoided their first 0-16 season thanks to a quarterback who was trying to prevent his second.
Dan Orlovsky, who closed out the NFL’s only 0-16 season with Detroit in 2008, threw one touchdown pass and the key block to spring an 80-yard touchdown run Sunday and lead the previously winless Colts to a 27-13 win over playoff-hopeful Tennessee.
It was the franchise’s first win in 14 years without Peyton Manning, and all it took was 14 tries and three quarterbacks.
Players and coaches celebrated by throwing their arms in the air, and Orlovsky got to close it out by taking the traditional kneel downs for the first time in his NFL career.
“I’m happy for a lot of people on this team, for a lot of people in this organization,” Orlovsky said. “It’s a lot better than the feeling we’ve had lately.”
Indianapolis (1-13) had been waiting for what seemed like an eternity, 50 weeks, since its previous win, also at home against the Titans.
For Orlovsky, the drought was even longer. The seven-year veteran was 0-9 in his previous NFL starts. He didn’t have to do too much Sunday, going 11 of 17 for 82 yards with one touchdown, but he didn’t turn the ball over.
“I think in my career, I’ve learned not to take them (wins) for granted,” Orlovsky said, drawing polite laughter.
Donald Brown added a career-high 161 yards rushing, including a late 80-yard TD run for Indy.
For Tennessee, the loss is a devastating blow.
Had Tennessee (7-7) closed out the season with three wins, it might have been able to reach the postseason without any help. Now the Titans will probably need to win their last two games and get help from some others to make it.