INDIANAPOLIS — Shaquille Leonard’s return to the lineup lasted less than two quarters and ended with a vicious collision with a teammate.
The Indianapolis Colts’ All-Pro linebacker suffered a concussion late in the second quarter of Sunday’s 24-17 loss to Tennessee when fellow ‘backer Zaire Franklin blasted him when they converged on Titans tight end Chig Okonkwo near the goal line.
As Okonkwo was celebrating his 8-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill, Leonard remained on the turf. He finally was helped to his feet and taken directly to the locker room.
Franklin coiled as Tannehill’s pass neared Okonkwo.
“I threw everything I had in it and I missed my target a little bit,’’ Franklin said. “That’s part of the game. I do feel terrible I was the one that hit him.
“He’s a tough dude so I know he’ll be ready to bounce back soon.’’
Leonard is in the NFL’s concussion protocol, which makes it highly unlikely he’ll be available for Thursday night’s game at Denver.
It marks the second concussion of Leonard’s career. He missed three games in 2019 after suffering head trauma in the Colts’ 19-17 week 2 win at Tennessee.
Franklin talked with Leonard at halftime and planned on follow-up discussions.
“I’ll call him tonight after we watch film,’’ he said. “He’s my brother. I always want the best for him.’’
Leonard marked his first appearance by a tackle on the game’s opening play. He finished with two tackles.
Leonard missed the first three games while recovering from June back surgery.
Along with Leonard, running back Jonathan Taylor was unable to finish the game. He injured an ankle while attempting to convert a 3rd-and-1 with less than 9 minutes remaining. Taylor lost a fumble on the play.
“Just tweaked it up a little bit. It’s hectic in the trenches,’’ he said. “Feeling good now.’’
Perhaps, but Taylor wasn’t certain if he’ll be available for the Broncos game.
“I’m not sure,’’ he said.
Running woes continue
The Colts’ run game hit a new low Sunday.
Taylor finished with 42 yards on 20 attempts while the team finished with 38 yards on 23 carries. And that was against a Titans’ run defense that entered the game ranked 29th in yards per game allowed (145) and 32nd in yards per attempt (5.8).
The 38 yards were the fewest by the Colts since week 12 of 2015 against Tampa Bay (27 yards on 26 attempts).
Taylor opened the season with 161 yards on 31 carries at Houston. In his last three, he’s been limited to 161 yards on 50 attempts (3.3 yards/attempt).
“The run game has got to get better,’’ Frank Reich said.
This and that
The Colts’ run defense entered the game ranked 3rd in fewest yards allowed per game (77) and 1st in fewest yards per attempt (2.6). The Titans weren’t impressed. They piled up 127 yards behind Derrick Henry, who had a season-best 114 yards and one touchdown on 22 attempts. . . . Franklin led the Colts with a career-high 15 tackles. . . . Grover Stewart, Dayo Odeyingbo and Kwity Paye each had 1 sack. . . . Tight end Mo Alie-Cox led the Colts with eight receptions, 85 yards and two TDs. . . . Rookie wideout Alec Pierce had four catches for 80 yards.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.