While this was a great blowout win for the Colts, everything from this game can be taken with a grain of salt. Jacksonville is the definition of a dumpster fire, especially on offense. The Jags couldn’t even score a touchdown from the goalline in garbage time with a number of reserve players in for the Colts.
The Colts will have the joy of playing this team once again later in the year. It looks like the Jags are selling off players to the highest bidder in an effort to stockpile picks for the 2014 NFL Draft.
The win puts the Colts in first place in the AFC South. The Colts currently own the tiebreaker over the Titans due to a better division record.
Here’s our thoughts on the game:
- Progressive Offense. The Colts had a rough first half of football on offense. They managed to put up 13 points in the second quarter, but Andrew Luck struggled going 14-for-27 on pass attempts. Luck rebounds to go 10-for-12 in the second half, including a pair of touchdowns. The Colts had two drives in the third quarter, both for touchdowns. One was two plays, the other a back breaking 12-play eight-plus minute drive. Luck admitted the offense had issues in the first half, but to come out on fire is impressive. The Colts have struggled to find points in the second half of games under Pagano, but over the past two weeks have managed 34 second half points. This shows that the offense is growing and adapting, hopefully Pep Hamilton will continue to make adjustments from his game plan in an effort to stomp on more opponents.
- Defensive Lockdown. Yes, the Jags have a horrible offense, but the Colts kept them off the scoreboard for the most part. Their lone score came on a short field courtesy of a Luck interception. The Jags managed just six yards on that drive, and Josh Scobee hit a 53-yard field goal for Jacksonville’s only points. A stretch over the middle of the game saw that Jags go three-and-out five times. The Jags had 205 total yards of offense, Blaine Gabbert threw three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), and just 40 rushing yards (23 from MJD). The Jags were a pitiful 2-for-11 on third down and couldn’t get a touchdown with four attempts from the two-yard line. Anything less than a dominant performance by this defense would have been disappointing.
- Robert Mathis is a Beast. We already knew this, but it needs to be said again. He is a beast of a man. Mathis had three sacks on Sunday. He hit Gabbert four more times and had five tackles, two of which were for a loss. We all miss Dwight Freeney, but for all the reverence towards him, Mathis has the better numbers. Mathis needs just 8.5 sacks to overtake the franchise record for a career. He also has 75 more tackles than Freeney. The two were the most feared duo in the NFL at defensive end for a long time, its a shame Freeney couldn’t make the transition to OLB.
- Play to Win. One of the most impressive thing about this game was Chuck Pagano’s willingness to keep pressing until late in the fourth quarter. This game was over at halftime when it was 20-3. The Colts could have gotten crazy conservative with the play calling and it would have been fine, largely because the Jags have no clue what an “end zone” is. But that didn’t happen, Pagano left the starters in (perhaps a bit too long) and the Colts put together two very aggressive touchdown drives in the third quarter to put the game away.
- More Injuries. The Colts suffered more injuries during this game. A number of players were limited in the week’s first practice, and a couple more didn’t participate at all. Corner Vontae Davis (who had a great game) was limited with a foot injury and guard Hugh Thornton was limited with a sore shoulder. Safety Delano Howell was out with a sore toe, and reportedly in a walking boot. This injury is troubling especially with LaRon Landry still out with an ankle injury. Fullback Stanley Havili was also out with an ankle injury. Havili has had a hand in the success of the running game, but has occasionally spent too many snaps on the field.
There isn’t much to say about this game. It was a classic trap game, but Jacksonville is so bad they’d likely be in the bottom of the Big Ten. The Colts went on the road and handled their business with ease.
The Colts will face a real test this week. The Seattle Seahawks will come to Indy with one of the top defenses in the league and Luck’s contemporary, Russell Wilson. The Colts will be tested at every position this week, but we’ll have more on that coming Friday.
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