Colts make it look easy as they beat the Jaguars 44-17
JACKSONVILLE – Nothing cures the ills of an 0-2 start like a game against the Jaguars.
It might sound disrespectful to an NFL franchise, but for the Colts it has proven absolutely true.
The Colts shook off two losses to start the regular season early in their AFC South opener at Everbank Field, racing out to a 30-point halftime lead en route to a 44-17 win over the Jaguars.
After a pair of losses to open the season, the Colts have their first win as they prepare to face another AFC South opponent in the Titans next week at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Quarterback Andrew Luck tied his career-high with four touchdowns while connecting on 31-of-39 passes for 370 yards. He completed passes to nine different receivers with four of them getting touchdowns.
Luck and the offense were poised to break out early and often against the Jaguars. They started calmly with a drive from their own 20-yard line, getting in position to set up an Adam Vinatieri 48-yard field goal to make it 3-0.
Then the Colts offense really got to work racing down the field 74 yards in nine plays to get their first touchdown on a Luck to Ahmad Bradshaw six-yard pass to make it 10-0. Luck was two plays faster and farther on his next drive but the result was still the same as a touchdown pass to Dwayne Allen made it 17-0 Colts.
Luck nearly had another touchdown on the Colts’ next drive but an open Coby Fleener couldn’t hold onto a touchdown catch forcing the team to settle for another Vinatieri field goal to make it 20-0. Another second quarter drive stalled out inside the Jaguars’ 10-yard line. Vinatieri finished with a 25-yard kick to make it 23-0.
But the Colts were not done in a memorable first half as the defense forced a turnover with under two minutes left. D’Qwell Jackson stripped the ball from the Jaguars’ Mike Brown after a reception which was recovered by Darius Butler at the Jacksonville 29-yard line. Fleener redeemed himself after an earlier drop with a touchdown reception four plays later to make it 30-0.
Blake Bortles entered the game in the second half for the Jaguars and was able to inspire his team to put some points on the board. After stalling on his first drive Bortles got Jacksonville in position for Josh Scobee, who hit a 41-yard field goal to break up the shutout.
After getting stalled a few times in the second half, the Colts finally put together a scoring drive early in the fourth quarter. Luck completed a 64-yard march with a short touchdown throw to Hakeem Nicks on third down to push the lead to 37-3.
Both teams traded touchdowns towards the end of the fourth quarter as Bortles got his first NFL career touchdown on a pass to Allen Hurns who broke a pair of tackles on a slant route to get in from 63 yards out to make it 37-10. Greg Toler made up for it for the defense when he picked off a Bortles pass then weaved through the defense for a 47-yard touchdown to complete the Colts scoring.
Bortles added another score for the Jaguars in the final seconds when he faked the “Stop the Clock” spike and threw to Cecil Shorts III for a touchdown–but it was way too little and too late on a day that belonged to the Colts.