Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck didn’t set out to be Peyton Manning’s replacement two years ago. That decision was made for him by the Colts management, which decided it was better to release longtime Colts franchise QB Manning, who’s now lighting it up with the Denver Broncos. But tonight when the Tennessee Titans host the Colts at 8:25 EST / 5:25 PST on ESPN Thursday Night Football, you’ll see a Colts QB who’s forging a legacy in Indy that could be at least on par wiht Peyton’s, if not better, when all is said and done. Watch Thursday Night Football free online using one of several different methods to see the next step in Luck’s ongoing development.
As a second-year quarterback, Luck has already accomplished what many long-time NFL veterans haven’t: he’s got a top-10 quarterback ranking, as he’s ranked eighth on ESPN’s QBR chart. He’ll need all the QB expertise he can muster tonight on ESPN Thursday Night Football, as this could have been for first place in the AFC South if the Tennessee Titans hadn’t lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars this past Sunday. Even still, though, if the Titans win tonight’s game, they’ll be within one game of first, whereas a Colts victory would give Lucks team a three-game lead.
The Titans, meanwhile, will be playing with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback, a good scrambler in his own right. Fitzpatrick did well in a pinch against the New York Jets, but he didn’t do nearly as well in his previous starts earlier this season against the Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks. The Titans had a chance in both of those games, but Fitzpatrick hurt them. If he can protect the ball and stay hot, the Titans’ have a decent shot at victory tonight and closing the race for first in the AFC South.
If you watch Thursday Night Football free online using the links above and below, though, it won’t just be a quarterback battle. The Colts are giving up 126.6 yards per game rushing this season, and their defense is rated a lowly 22nd in the league. Compared to the Titan’s ninth-ranked defense, that’s a big hurdle to overcome. Perhaps making it even higher, though, is that Titans running back Chris Johnson had 150 yards rushing against St. Louis two weeks ago, so against the Colts’ D he could perform just as well.
As for the Colts’ running game, the Trent Richardson trade has yet to really pan out, and if he doesn’t turn it on in tonight’s Thursday Night Football matchup, the Titans could have a heydey knowing they can laser-in just on Luck. The Colts have tried to run the ball in the first half of each of their past two games, but they haven’t been able to sustain drives, so they’ve had to fall back on Luck’s excellence.The offensive line hasn’t done Richardson any favors, with poor blocking up front, so they’ll need to fire on all cylinders tonight to give him a chance to succeed and give Luck some room to get creative.
You can watch Thursday Night Football free online on DirecTV’s website if you have the NFL Sunday Ticket Package. The package requires a subscription, but anyone who has one can watch the live streaming version free of any game. ESPN also offers subscribers to their cable sports network through a satellite or cable package access to easily watch Monday Night Football online free on ESPN3, which is also available through the ESPN mobile app and ESPN app on Xbox 360. You may also be able to watch online with the Verizon NFL mobile app, which costs $5 per month.