5 Things Learned: Jaguars Again Dominate Colts
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INDIANAPOLIS – Well, a halftime lead wasn’t blown this Sunday.
That’s about the only positive from the Colts losing 30-10 on Sunday afternoon in Jacksonville.
The loss for the Colts officially eliminated them from AFC South contention, despite four games remaining in the regular season.
What did we learn from the Colts (3-9) getting swept by the Jaguars (8-4) this season?
FIVE THINGS LEARNED
- Jaguars Own 2017 Colts: The Jaguars have now swept the Colts for the first time since 2011 and did so by outscoring them 57-10 in the two games. It’s been a total domination in all three facets of the game. Sunday’s special teams lesson came on a fake punt to successfully convert a 4th-and-8. That occurred on the opening drive of the game and the Jaguars’ punting unit didn’t come on the field again until early in the 4th quarter. The Colts have started games off decently well for the majority of this season. But that did not happen at all against the Jaguars.
- Eliminated From AFC South: With 4 games left in the 2017 season, the Colts have already been officially eliminated from the AFC South. And their miniscule Wild Card hopes could easily end next Sunday. That’s really foreign territory for this franchise. Sunday’s loss wasn’t as humiliating as the shutout earlier this year to the Jaguars, but finding multiple positives will take you some time. The 20-point defeat marked the 17th time under Chuck Pagano that the Colts have lost a game by at least three scores. After winning 16 straight against the AFC South (from 2012-15), the Colts have lost 9 of their last 14 divisional games.
- Major Third-Down Struggles: The Jaguars came into Sunday 23rd in the NFL in third-down efficiency. They were money on the money down against the Colts. Jacksonville started the game 8-for-10 on third down, a major reason why they scored on their first 5 drives (outside of a one-play series to run the clock out at the end of the first half). In those five scoring drives, the Jaguars had series of 8, 11, 11, 11 and 12 plays. Big plays weren’t needed against the susceptible Colts defense. Instead, the Jaguars found themselves in third-and-manageables and easily converted.
- Blake Bortles Loves Facing Indianapolis: Blake Bortles must lay awake at night thinking what his career would be like if he could play the Colts every week. Without top receiver Allen Hurns on Sunday, the Jacksonville quarterback still found plenty of success through the air. Bortles was 26-of-35 for 309 yards and 2 touchdowns on Sunday. In his last 6 games versus the Colts, Bortles has now thrown 10 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, while averaging 282.5 yards per game. The Colts let Bortles go to his strength on Sunday, which is finding throwing success outside of the pocket. Just like in the first meeting between these teams, the Jaguars vaunted rushing attack wasn’t the issue for the Colts. It was the wildly inconsistent Bortles (again) being anything but that against Indy.
- Frank Gore Moves On Up: The obvious brightside from Sunday came in Frank Gore moving his way into the top-five on the NFL’s all-time rushing list. Gore’s two longest runs of the day pushed him past Jerome Bettis (13,662) and then LaDanian Tomlinson (13,684). Gore now has 13,695 rushing yards. Next on the list is Curtis Martin (14,101). On Sunday, Gore had 61 rushing yards on 13 carries, but the Colts could not afford to stay with the run as the lead continued to balloon.
Pagano Quotable: On having a losing season for just the second time since 2001: “Nobody wants that, They aren’t used to it. Nobody is, nobody in that (locker) room. We had a heck of a run for three years, and two 8-8’s and now we’re sitting where we’re sitting. It’s unacceptable, and every guy in that locker room will tell you that. We don’t come to work to lose. We don’t do that. It’s unacceptable, and they would tell you that. We don’t want to be where we’re at, but we are. So, you deal with it. You deal with adversity and circumstances that will prepare you for the next one. So, that’s what we’re going to do.”
-Injury Report: The Colts had starting cornerback Pierre Desir exit early in the second quarter with a shoulder injury. Both CB-Rashaan Melvin (wrist) and C-Ryan Kelly (concussion) did not play on Sunday.
-Key Stat: The Jaguars’ top two games in total offense this year have both come against the Colts (519 yards in Week 7 and 426 yards in Week 13).
-What’s Next: The Colts (3-9) are staying on the road in Week 14. They will travel to upstate New York to take on the Bills (6-6) next Sunday afternoon.