37-3. The Colts hadn’t topped 30 points since last December’s memorable comeback over the Detroit Lions, but today, they did it in style. Against what may be a historically bad team in the Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis did exactly what they needed to do: dominate.
The Colts rolled up 437 yards of offense, getting big plays from Coby Fleener, Reggie Wayne, and, yes, Donald Brown, while the defense steamrolled Jacksonville (as well they should have). The Jags finished with just 205 yards. QB Blaine Gabbert went 17-32 for 165 yards and three interceptions with a QB rating of 30.6, while the Colts held Jaguar running backs to 2.2 yards per carry (18 for 40 yards).
Andrew Luck shook off a rough start for a brilliant outing, 260 yards, 2 touchdowns, and a pick with a much healthier average of 7.3 yards per pass (4.6 last week) and a 90 QB rating. A couple big plays from Andrew Luck and Donald Brown rescued an otherwise anemic rushing attack, taking the team from 24 carries for 63 yards and 2.6 ypc to 29/154/5.3.
It was utter domination. Anything less than a good game against such a troubled team would have been cause for concern – perhaps serious concern – and the Colts answered the bell today, taking it to Jacksonville, and keeping their foot on the gas for the blowout everyone expected.
It’s hard to believe from the final stat lines that Indy actually endured a rather shaky start to the game, trailing the (initially) feisty Jags 0-3 after the first quarter. Andrew Luck’s first quarter was plagued by incomplete passes and interceptions, one of which was called back by an offsides penalty on wildly undisciplined linebacker Jason Babin.
Indianapolis’s defense kept them in the game, however, making sure the Jaguars never gained any confidence or settled into any type of rhythm.
The game would turn in a pivotal – and very one sided – second quarter. Tied 3-3 after the Colts’ fourth straight drive stalled out, Indianapolis faced a crucial drive on defense. Had Jacksonville retaken the lead, even if only by a field goal, they could have gained some the confidence they needed to keep this game close.
Two plays after a holding penalty on Jerrell Freeman gave the Jaguars some life, Gabbert’s pass to Cecil Shorts III was well covered and deflected by Vontae Davis (who already had an interception down the sideline that resembled one of the great Marvin Harrison’s catches). Darius Butler, covering the outside receiver, turned toward the ball, reeled in the interception, and jetted 41 yards for the touchdown.
The Colts went up 10-3 and never looked back. Davis and Butler’s play sparked a stretch of five straight three and outs by the Colts defense. After the first one, Luck and the offense drove 80 yards in 6 plays thanks in large part to a 50 yard run by Donald Brown, capping it off with a one-yard plunge by Trent Richardson. 17-3 Colts. Those two successive series turned this game into a rout.
Jacksonville ball, and they followed up their run heavy three and out with three straight passes for another one. With 4:52 left in the half, the Colts had a 15 yard touchdown pass from Luck to Wayne nullified by a penalty on RG Jeff Linkenbach and eventually settled for a field goal to make it 20-3.
The Colts would put an exclamation point on the first half by forcing another three and out, featuring a sack by Robert Mathis, a great tackle for a loss by Antoine Bethea, and a twisting, hang-on-for-dear-life tackle by Darius Butler to force the punt.
In the first two games this season, opponents had been able to make adjustments to gain an edge against the Colts on both sides of the ball in the second half. This game continued the success from last week, however, as the defense kicked off the half with the fourth of those five three and outs, beginning once again with a Robert Mathis sack.
Indy got the ball back at their 37-yard line. Luck, who was slinging more deep balls than we’ve seen this season today, threw incomplete to Reggie Wayne, but was clobbered – helmet to helmet – by the now completely out of control Babin. Roughing the passer, 15-yards, 1st down. Luck’s next pass, another deep ball, rocketed into the waiting hands of a wide-open Coby Fleener, who chugged the rest of the 31 yards to the end zone, making it 27-3. Boos rained down from the stands. Fans left the game. The rout had been on for a while. Now, there was no turning back.
The Colts would force one more three and out – their fifth straight, an accomplishment against anyone, when (guess who?) Robert Mathis sacked Gabbert on third down – his third sack of the game to force yet another punt.
Indianapolis would overcome a holding penalty on rookie guard Hugh Thornton and the lone sack of Andrew Luck on their next drive to tack on one more touchdown, a 5-yard strike to Reggie Wayne, set up by a 23-yard pass to Wayne and a 15-yarder to Fleener. Reggie finished the game with 5 catches for 100 yards and a very non-old-guy-like 20 yards per catch.
Indy would notch a field goal on a drive orchestrated by backup QB Matt Hasselbeck that featured more fullback action than a 1940s college game (not literally), to make it 37-3. Jacksonville had three chances to score a garbage time, 'moral victory' touchdown in the fourth quarter, but the defense continued to answer them with an emphatic no.
Certainly, this was not a high quality opponent, but the Colts did what they should have done in this game. Anyone can play down to an opponent, as this team unfortunately demonstrated in a too-close-for-comfort win over Oakland, but what they did today was dominate in a game they needed to dominate.
Jacksonville’s drives ended with one field goal, three interceptions, six punts, and a turnover on downs. Excluding their final drive, on which they gained 66 yards against the Colts’ backups, the Jags’ offense had just 139 yards on the day. 139. Long time Colts fans will tell you that is an accomplishment against anyone (remember last year’s Chiefs?).
Let’s enjoy this one. Everybody loves being on the right side of a blowout. Next week: the Seahawks…….Yeah, let’s enjoy this one a little longer.
A few quick notes, in no particular order:
- Mathis now has 7.5 sacks on the season. Heck of a pace.
- Cory Redding notched a sack, two tackles for a loss, and two more QB hits. He also made life much easier for the linebackers with his unrelenting assault on whomever the Jaguars chose to block him.
- Reggie Wayne is almost 35. He can’t do this forever, but he did it again today, and he did it impressively.
- When bad passes fly, good defensive backs come up with the ball. Vontae Davis, Darius Butler, and Josh Gordy all managed to pick off Gabbert today. Well done.
- Butler has an impressive penchant for taking it to the house.
- Aside from their 4 sacks, the Colts hit Gabbert 9 times.
- McGlynn on his butt on a missed block was disconcerting.
- Pep Hamilton seems to believe very strongly in Stanley Havili.
- Trent Richardson should have eaten the Jags’ defense for supper. He needs to prove that he’s better than that career 3.5 ypc that’s hanging over him. He did manage a 12 yard run and a touchdown today. (Opinion alert) He has the ability to get 4.5 ypc.
- The offense finished well, but they will need to start better against Seattle. They were very out of sync early on. Luck struggled, DHB and T.Y. Hilton had a tough time. That won't end in a win against the Seahawks.
- Matt Hasselbeck is still good. No need to throw it to the end zone that late, but I’m glad to see they kept the hammer down.
- Maurice Jones-Drew: 13 carries, 24 yards, 1.8 ypc. Colt killer? Not today. Great job, D.
- Next week’s opponent, Seattle, beat the Texans in overtime after falling behind 20-3 in the first half. They’re now 4-0.
- At 3-1, Indy is off to their best start in quite some time. Every game could have been better, but it's a 37-3 win. We'll take it.
This annoys the heck out of me: Donald Brown gets on the field, and his first run goes for 52 yards. His next play is a 9 yard reception. Why take him out? His next two plays are 9 and 10 yard runs - and then he's done. Why?
I'm just going to say it. Donald Brown outplayed TRich today. Every time he touched the ball, he gained at least 9 yards. Why the heck wasn't he in more? Where is the "go with the hot hand" mentality?
One of the most significant plays of the day given how MJD has gashed the Colts over the years. MJD is running up the middle, Chapman is being doubled, still he is able to get an arm out and impede MJD's progress just long enough for MJD to be swarm tackled. SWEET!!!
The NT & DE play was pretty good. Gabbert rarely risked stepping up into the pocket. If the Colts cans stand up the Seahawks interior OL, Russell Wilson will have a hard time seeing down field.
Great to see a solid team victory. Was anybody else disappointed by the FG on 4th and 2 in the first quarter? I know the "pts on the board especially away" argument, but if you succeed it's a +4 pt swing, and if you fail and plant Gabbert on his own 2 YL and are likely to get it back around midfield within a couple minutes anyway.... I'd love to see a little more balls there.
I wonder if the term Hasslebeck Time will ever sound as sweet as Sorgitime once did.... Over in Denver, Peyton didn't even take a snap in the 4th quarter (where the Pats would have kept Brady bombing away).
Next three weeks are tough--Hawks looked mortal today and are a bit dinged up. Rivers is having a great year so far (gasp, cough, wince...) and then those Bronco guys. If Colts win 2 of 3, that would be monumental. One of three would be about what I'd expect, and 0 of 3 would be pretty painful.
I was so happy to see the colts put the hammer down and not just coast. They have a tendency of playing just good enough to beat whoever is in front of them. I think they should have went to the dummy-o squad a little sooner to avoid injuring someone important but it appeared to work out all right. Hopefully Bjoern and Havili aren't banged up too bad.
So happy to see the passing game coming back, even if it was a rough start. They will be unstoppable if Luck can play more consistently, pass for over 300, RBs stay healthy & keep running over 100 & defense stays in beast mode. I thought Irsay was crazy to think this was a Super Bowl team. Now I think if they keep getting better at this pace, that might not be so crazy a goal this year. The beast is building. If they can play well against Hawks, Chargers, Broncos & Texans, they have an overwhelming chance at accomplishing that goal.
Nice recap. After the first quarter it was a great game for Colts fans.
My only real complaint in the game was about Richardson. Marcus you seem to think Trent can get up to 4.5 ypc. I'm not so optimistic. I have three big concerns. First, Richardson seem to have little burst. Yes he had a 12 yard run, but he certainly wasn't running away from anyone. Second, Richardson as a power back should be able to run over people. Instead I say him get knocked on to his butt when he got through the line of scrimmage. Third, he can't seem to run through ankle tackles as he is continually tripped up. To me the biggest worry is that these problems aren't a function of the Colt scheme or Richardson's knowledge of the playbook.
He does seem great at the 1-2 yard goal line plunge though. I just don't know about giving up a first round pick for a goal line back.
I was at the game, again, as mentioned. Lots of Colts fans - especially near the end of the game. They start chanting Matty! Matty! for Haselbeck - and a roar when he came in. Same with Reg-gie!
Mr. Dugan, I have some pics, videos of the game, you interested in my dropping them into a DropBox share folder and sending them your way to peruse - including some videos?
I was surprised that they kept trying to run wide to the right. Castonzo's been great on those kinds of plays. Maybe I wasn't watching closely enough, but they didn't seem to set up TRich well on those runs by going right instead of left. That's the only pass I can give him. Not impressed at all yet.
Nice summary. It's easy to say that Trent should have eaten up the Jags D, but the line has to chip in a bit. He got what they gave him with no blocking. When he had the blocks he made nice runs. Brown could have driven a semi through the hole he had for his long run.
@jado825 my explanation for this is two fold. a) you gave up a first and you need to get some kind of return on T Rich. much as I hate it, it would seem like a waste if you traded for him and didn't use him. b( they want to get him involved so that he can get used to the offense and build chemistry.
That said, I totally agree in that DB should be used a hell of a lot more. His speed is something none of our running backs have. I see Brown as a poor mans Reggie Bush. He can hit the home run, is a good receiver, and makes things happen in space. Terrific for passing situations
@jado825 Ideally the Colts will find an ideal rotation to maximize TRich,s , Bradshaw's and Brown's distinct talents.
TRich needs to get comfortable running play action with Luck. That will open up some big play opportunies. Still got to love his ability to get yards when there was not much to be had.
The Colts need to realize Brown in not a short yardage back.
I don't know. I know T Rich is the better overall player, but Brown was definitely the hot hand. Another issue might have been that Brown was out in better rushing situations than TRich. The defense was spread out to defend multiple receivers with Brown on the field. When they ran Richardson, they had more obvious rum formations on the field. Still, Brown could've had a monster day the way he was playing, and you could see the frustration on his face when he was sent to the bench after gaining 59 yards in two plays.
@thellamajockey Big chunky Aubrayo Franklin had a nice stop on him too. I loved seeing out D-linemen harass MJD into a terrible outing. After the game, Jags Guard Uche Nwaneri said, "For us not to be able to run the ball on the Colts is mind-boggling. It's the Colts."
My response to that: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAA! HA.
@Bobman1 "Sorgi time" was generally a great thing at the end of a game, but you had to be careful not to say "It's Sorgi time," too quickly, or non football people might think the game was about to get really weird.
I hope the Colts can win at least one of these three tough contests coming up. Their best chance IMO is the Texans, though the 'Hawks, as you pointed out, look just plain average on the road.
@Bobman1 YES. I raged at that FG. It was weak sauce. My friends are like, "eh, they're just being conservative". THAT'S NOT A GOOD THING, GUYS.
The only possible justification I could imagine is that they had gone scoreless through the first quarter and were down 0-3 with the Jags score coming off an pick. So they came away from that drive with no points it would be... really demoralizing? Or something? But the Jags offense had been so laughably ineffective so far, I don't think they had anything to fear.
I was really afraid they were going to let the Jags hang around by settling for FG's instead of TD's. Glad to see I was totally wrong. :D
@BrianKlass Hass probably didn't need to be slinging it into the endzone either, but the cornerback's celebration afterward was hilarious. Dude, you're down 34-3. There's nothing to celebrate.
@FBFan2 It's a tough stretch coming up. Try not to lose faith in them if they don't play as well against those guys. They can still win those games though, as we all saw the past couple weeks.
I think we might have to see more and more of the passing game taking over if Bradshaw keeps getting banged up and T Rich continues to struggle. After that first quarter, Luck was just plain awesome. Lots of fun to watch this one.
@hankster Yeah that's kind of my biggest worry. I think we gave up a 1st rounder for a short yardage, goal-line back. That would not be good.
@buymymonkey The stadium looked about half filled. Was everyone standing at the free beer line?
And I was the only guy in my section (of all Jags) screaming and standing when Brown ran for 50 yards. I then quietly sat down. It got so bad that in the late 3Q I basically had to stop cheering lest my rear would be kicked. Actually, the Jags fans were very nice and lamented to me about "what to do???"... About 10% Colts fans in their jerseys.
@authorbeard Those toss plays to TRich were awful to watch. And I agree, Castonzo is the guy you want to be running behind on that kind of run. I hope they use TRich better, and I hope he plays better next week.
@smonroe Were we watching the same games? I saw Richardson have a decent hole on several occasions but make the wrong cut or get dragged down by one guy. Blocking certainly wasn't ideal but he had more room to work with than his YPC suggests. I know Nate was tweeting about that too.
@RobertItoh @jado825 it's a little early to call anything on T Rich, especially definitively, but the 1st rounder was a sunk cost the moment the trade went through. The less people dwell on that, the better. Once Richardson has gotten his feet on the ground and the playbook learned (say another 2-3 weeks), he really needs to be judged solely on his production, not the fact we gave up a 1st rounder for him. If he sucks, Bradshaw and Brown should be getting the carries until he can work his way back in. Too many GMs and coaches (usually by the FO or owner) are more concerned with saving face by playing high draft picks or players with expensive contracts.
@MarcusDugan Or perhaps a week after Bradshaw completely outplayed him, they didn't want the embattled Donald Brown doing the same.
(Bad Doug, don't say things like that.)
@MarcusDugan @Bobman1 Yes, those are the two they can win--currently the Hawks are favored by about 2.5, which seems about right. If their injuries linger (Okung and Unger on the OL) and we get Landry back (and anybody else nicked up along the way yesterday) I'd call that game a coin toss. Texans are too inconsistent for me to predict, but with Cushing out late, their D wilted a bit. Winning them both would be a really good thing.
Watt, however, is a beast and I hate to love watching him play. But I love watching him play. Maybe he'll kill Satele for us saving the coaching staff from their own blind spot.
@Payton @hankster Yeah, he didn't look very fast, that's for sure. I want him to be good. Also, I am very careful about presenting a wholly negative opinion on here - even with regard to Satele and McGlynn - who, by the way, was somewhat liquored up and hilariously angry at the media on the Pat McAfee show at Kilroy's last week. Very funny stuff.
Lol! Never really filled and it was nearly equally colts and jags fans by mid 4th quarter. Someone paid for a banner to be flown over the game that read 'Tebow Why Not'
@buymymonkey Tell them they should tank their season, making sure to have the worst point diff in the NFL to secure the #1 pick.
What's that you say? Already in progress? ;)
@Payton @smonroe I think it was a mixed bag for TRich. They had him run some toss sweep kind of plays, which they tend to suck at. I think Richardson needs to be able to blast through some traffic, but I'll have to watch some NFL rewind to see if he had creases he should have been able to hit. For now, I'll take your word for it. I agree, Brown's big play came on a play the offense really sold as a pass. They haven't really set Richardson up like that. (as you can see, I think you both have very good points)
@DougEngland I don't know. Richardson needs to have a some good games so they don't have to keep defending their decisions. Otherwise, this conversation may continue throughout the season - and would only be amplified after a loss.
@MarcusDugan Oops, forgot to include Giacomini injured for Seattle on the OL (That's 3 starters!) and Bennett on the DL Looks like we are getting the "NFL's Top Team" at an opportune moment.
Lynch's 45 yard run early in that game was awesome to behold--akin to his playoff TD run vs the Saints a few years ago. Bouncing left, cutting right, spinning, running over and away from guys.
@MarcusDugan @Payton @hankster Not spamming at all. To be fair, I've been on the "Brown is underrated" wagon for a while. People have been piling on the hate for him, in ignorance in most cases, and he really hasn't deserved it since his rookie year in most cases. The game against the Dolphins is a perfect example. He runs fairly well and throws above average to excellent blocks all game until Wheeler ate his lunch on the final play, which was a moot point since Thornton was beat like a drum on that play too.
Hell in the 2011 Tampa Game, everyone was screaming at him for a missed block, when he came over to help Olsen, who completely ignored a stunting Adrian Clayborn. They were yelling at him for being out of position on an assignment he was never even supposed to help out on...
@Payton @hankster I promise I'll quit spamming you all with replies shortly BUT I've gotta say I already see a double standard being applied here with Brown and T Rich. The second Brown didn't look like a true 1st round running back, everyone piled on the hate wagon. Now, we have Richardson, who is struggling to justify his 1st round status - again - and we all want to give him more time.
I think they both deserve a break if they are productive, high character guys, but I don't think Grigs should get a pass for the trade if it turns out to be a bad one.