INDIANAPOLIS — Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard promised to do everything he could to redeem himself after being flagged for pass interference in the end zone late in Sunday's division showdown with the rival Indianapolis Colts.
The veteran delivered on the third series of overtime.
Byard picked off Carson Wentz in Colts territory, setting up Titans kicker Randy Bullock for a 44-yard field goal that capped the frantic final 7 1/2 minutes of a critical 34-31 victory for the reigning AFC South champions.
"I was actually on the sideline preparing my speech if the game would have gone the other way," Byard said. "We're resilient. We're going to keep swinging, and I was able to make a play at the end and I'm just happy we won the game."
Byard thought he blew it when he was called for a 42-yard penalty that allowed the Colts to tie the score with 22 seconds left in regulation. Turns out, everyone forgot just a few minutes later when he came up with a game-turning interception that may prove to be the biggest play all season for the Titans (6-2).
They have won four straight overall and three straight in the series, and now they have a commanding lead over the Colts (3-5) in the division courtesy of just the third season sweep in this series in franchise history for Tennessee.
Those two plays typified a day when the teams combined for 20 penalties, five turnovers, a plethora of hard hits and wild swings, and two touchdowns in the final 86 seconds of regulation.
"They need to blow the whistle. It's a player safety issue. Jeff (Simmons) is coached and has been taught to run to the football until the whistle, and there were far too many guys on that tackle not to blow the whistle sooner," coach Mike Vrabel said, referring to one defensive penalty before turning his attention to a replay challenge.
"I think it's mind boggling I have to challenge a catch that A.J. Brown makes in the middle of the field. There's seven officials and there's a replay official, and I have to pull the flag out and throw it at that point in time?"
But on the first play, Wentz was flushed from the pocket and tried to flick the ball away left-handed from the end zone. Instead, rookie Elijah Molden snatched the fluttering ball out of midair and scored on a 2-yard interception return for a 31-24 lead — the first pick-six for Tennessee in 38 games.
"Terrible play, terrible play," Wentz said. "I was about to go down and was thinking just throw it, don't force it. That one I'm so mad at myself for, I'm beating myself up."
Wentz shook it off quickly, though. On the ensuing series, he found Michael Pittman Jr. for 38 yards on third down to get the ball across midfield. Then Byard was called for the penalty and Jonathan Taylor walked in for the tying 1-yard score.
Byard didn't fret long. When Wentz tried to throw a pass across his body during the third overtime series, Byard sprinted in front of Pittman, made the play on the ball and took it to the Indianapolis 32. Four plays later, the game ended.
"I've been in a lot of wild games, but this is definitely a memorable one," said Byard, whose team improved to 2-1 in overtime games this season — all three on the road — with this following a 33-30 win against the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 19 and a 27-24 loss to the New York Jets on Oct 3.
Tennessee has won six straight division games and is 15-6 on the road since 2019.
The visitors trailed 14-0 midway through the first quarter but turned things around quickly in the second. The key play came when Colts defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis picked off Ryan Tannehill near midfield but fumbled it away on the return while hurting his right knee. The Titans recovered the ball, and Tannehill threw the tying 57-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Brown on the next play.
Tannehill finished 22-of-33 passing for 265 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, while Brown had 155 yards on 10 catches, including a 57-yard touchdown late in the first half.
Titans running back Derrick Henry had 28 carries for 68 yards, ending a four-game streak of 100-yard games against the Colts for the two-time reigning NFL rushing champion who entered the week leading the league this season as well.
Wentz had thrown just one interception all season until throwing two in the final 7 1/2 minutes. He finished 27-of-51 for 231 yards with three touchdowns, but the two picks ended his franchise record-tying streak of four games with multiple touchdown passes and no interceptions.
Pittman had 10 catches for 86 yards and two scores, both in the first 7 1/2 minutes. Taylor carried 16 times for 70 yards and had three receptions for 52 yards.