Coach Chuck Pagano filled the Colts’ locker room with mousetraps this week to send his players a message: do not look past this Jaguars team. It seems that the message was well-received, as the Colts stomped the struggling Jaguars 37-3 on Sunday. Both units, offensive and defensive, did exactly what was needed of them and then some to lock up the Colts’ first divisional victory of the season. The offense netted a total of 437 yards with 154 of them coming on the ground and 283 through the air. Meanwhile, the defense merely racked up four sacks, three interceptions, and a touchdown. Although the opponent wasn’t of the highest caliber, it was an impressive victory that kept the momentum rolling at a time when the Colts are entering one of the toughest stretches of their schedule (SEA, SD, DEN, HOU over the next five weeks).
Though the final score reflected the dominance that the Colts exerted Sunday, the game got off to a rather shaky start for the horseshoe. After receiving the opening kickoff, the Colts went only four plays before seeing an Andrew Luck pass intercepted by the Jaguars’ Will Blackmon. Luckily, the play was negated by a defensive offsides penalty. The Colts were still unable to move the ball effectively, however, punting just two plays later.
Things took a turn for the better on the Jaguars’ first offensive drive, however, as cornerback Vontae Davis raked in beautiful over-the-shoulder interception after tipping the ball further in his direction. Unfortunately, the Colts were unable to capitalize on the turnover. Two plays into the subsequent drive, Luck and T.Y. Hilton had a bit of a miscommunication that led to an interception by Blackmon. The interception gave Jacksonville excellent field position, on which they capitalized, drawing first blood with a Josh Scobee 53-yard field goal.
After two drives leading to punts by both teams, the Colts finally put together a decent drive with Luck hitting Reggie Wayne for twenty-four yards as well as scrambling for seventeen yards himself. The drive stalled at the Jacksonville four yard line, however, and the Colts put their first points on the board with a 22-yard Adam Vinatieri field goal.
For the Colts, that was enough of a spark to send the shakiness of the first quarter running to its mother. Six plays after the tying the game, the Colts’ defense tilted the board in their favor. As Vontae Davis stuck closely to his man Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert fired the ball in his direction. With his excellent coverage, Davis got a hand on the ball and popped it directly into the arms of fellow teammate Darius Butler. Butler turned quickly and sprinted towards the endzone for a 41-yard touchdown. The Colts led 10-3 at this point and never looked back.
After another Jacksonville punt, the offense finally stepped up and did its part to compliment the excellent work of the defense. The Colts started on their own nineteen yard line. Following a connection from Luck to tight end Coby Fleener for thirteen yards and a Donald Brown 50-yard scamper (among other plays), Trent Richardson punched it in from one yard out for his second touchdown in the blue and white and a 17-3 Colts lead.
Following yet another punt by the home team, the Colts drove from their own twenty-eight yard line to the Jags’ fifteen yard line. Luck then connected with veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne in the back of the endzone for a touchdown. The play was negated, however, by an illegal hands to the face penalty by guard Jeff Linkenbach. A couple of plays later, Luck was sacked for a loss of ten yards leading to the Colts settling for a 46-yard Vinatieri field goal and a 20-3 halftime lead.
The Jaguars’ struggles continued after the break, as the team went three-and-out on its first possession of the second half. Meanwhile, the Colts continued to step on the throat of their opponent. Their first offensive drive of the second half consisted of two plays: a Luck-to-Reggie connection for seventeen yards furthered by a Jason Babin roughing the passer penalty, and a Luck-to-Fleener catch on the seam for a thirty-one yard touchdown. After 2:08 of play in the second half, the Colts had lengthened their lead to 27-3.
Shockingly, after another three-and-out and another punt by the Jaguars, the Colts took 8:35 to methodically drive from their own twenty-eight yard line to the Jacksonville five yard line, culminating with another Luck-to-Reggie connection for five yards in the back of the endzone. The Colts had raced away to a 34-3 lead entering the fourth quarter.
To begin the final quarter of play, the Jaguars decided to switch things up a bit, turning the ball over on downs instead of settling for another boring punt. The Colts were not able to score on the subsequent drive, but the defense wanted to keep its fans entertained as well. With roughly five minutes left in the game, Josh Gordy intercepted Gabbert again, giving the Colts and newly-inserted quarterback Matt Hasselbeck excellent field position. The offense took another 2:56 off of the clock and added three more points with a 28-yard Vinatieri field goal for a 37-3 lead and victory.
It was an impressive showing on both sides of the ball. After the first few drives, the team found the momentum that it had gained with the win over San Francisco last week and continued to run with it. Offensive leaders included Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson, Donald Brown, Reggie Wayne, and Coby Fleener while defensive leaders included Robert Mathis, Cory Redding, Darius Butler, Vontae Davis, and Josh Gordy. Getting a solid divisional win such as this could not have come at a better time. The Colts have the most brutal portion of their schedule coming up in the next five weeks and will need all of the momentum they can possibly get. They will need to continue this impressive play as they welcome the 4-0 Seattle Seahawks to the Drumm next week.