ANDERSON — After slogging through nine of its first 10 quarters without veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne, the Indianapolis Colts' offense finally appeared to come to life in the second half Thursday night at Tennessee.
The Colts scored 24 points in the final two quarters — and dominated time of possession — in yet another come-from-behind victory with the 30-27 decision.
But will this be a lasting change or another mirage, like the 21 points the team scored in the final 15:11 at Houston to win 27-24 on Nov. 3?
Nobody can say for certain. But something felt different this time around.
Instead of coming in one quick burst, the points Thursday were spread out over several drives. And the turnaround actually began in the second quarter when two promising possessions slowed short of the end zone and led to field goals.
"I would say that guys are kind of understanding that they're going to need to grow a little bit faster than they may have anticipated," tight end Coby Fleener said last week, when asked whether the offense is beginning to find its identity without Wayne. "With Reggie out there, there's a constant threat of him making a big play. Now you kind of see that T.Y. (Hilton) can step up into that role or Darrius Heyward-Bey can step up into that role. I think for the Colts going forward, it's just a matter of us making sure we can do that consistently."
Fleener can be a big part of that picture. He posted career highs with eight catches and 107 yards in the win against the Titans and has 15 receptions for 204 yards in the past three games.
Quarterback Andrew Luck spread the ball around to eight different receivers, including five completions to running back Trent Richardson and one to fullback Stanley Havili. But he made a living working the ball to Fleener on underneath routes, completing seven of nine short-range targets to the tight end for 91 yards.