INDIANAPOLIS – The NFL is a series of seven-day life cycles. It’s all about taking care of business one week, then turning the page to the next.
Well, the Indianapolis Colts weren’t able to take care of their business Sunday in Houston – they ended their eight-game season-opening losing streak, but settled for an unfulfilling 20-20 overtime tie – and turned the page.
To Jacksonville. In Jacksonville.
Unable to end one streak of utter futility, they face yet another. And hanging in the balance is at least temporarily avoiding another of those debilitating slow starts.
The Colts have lost seven straight road meetings with the Jaguars, including one in London.
And including that 26-11 disaster Jan. 9 that incensed owner Jim Irsay, embarrassed the entire organization and led to an offseason of change.
The team has grown weary of discussing its inability to win on opening day and in Jacksonville. But both will remain hot topics until it does something about it.
“Yeah, interesting,’’ Frank Reich said Monday. “We talked about that today very briefly. Every year is a new year. So, this means something different to every person on the team. So, what we talked about today was everybody kind of do your own thing.
“Everybody has their own motivation. There’s always layers of motivation, right? For guys who haven’t been here, for the guys that this is their first year, (the road losing streak) doesn’t mean much to them. Yeah, they’re wearing the horseshoe, so in that respect it does, but our prime motivation is about this team, this year, the opportunity that we have in front of us this week to play a road division game and have an opportunity to go 1-0 this week is a really big deal.
“That is the primary motivation. Other guys might have other layers of motivation. That’s up to each individual.’’
The last time the Colts won in Jacksonville, Andrew Luck passed for 370 yards and four touchdowns, T.Y. Hilton had five catches for 80 yards; Trent Richardson rushed 14 times for 57 yards and Vontae Davis and Greg Toler had interceptions of Blake Bortles.
It was Sept. 21, 2014 and a 44-17 blowout.
The script has flipped dramatically since and makes absolutely no sense. Consider during the seven-game road losing streak the Colts have:
- lost with five different starting quarterbacks: Luck (twice), Jacoby Brissett (twice), Carson Wentz, Philip Rivers and Matt Hasselbeck.
- lost to four different Jags’ starters: Trevor Lawrence, Gardner Minshew II (twice), Cody Kessler and Bortles (three times).
- been unable to deal with whichever quarterback the Jags rolled out there. Lawrence looked completed lost as a rookie until week 18 last season when he went 23-of-32 for 223 yards, two TDs and a 111.8 rating. Remember Minshew going 19-for-20 in ’20? Jags QBs have compiled a 112.9 passer rating with 15 TDs and one interception in the seven games. Colts QBs have a 73.0 rating with five TDs and seven interceptions.
- been outscored 29.7-14.9. They’ve been held to 20 points or fewer six times, including that improbable 6-0 shutout loss in 2018. A sidenote: the Colts have been shutout twice since 2003, a span of 306 regular-season games: 6-0 at Jacksonville and 27-0 against the Jags in Indy in ’17. Go figure.
- routinely lost the turnover battle. They’re a minus-8 in the seven games and a minus-40 in points after turnovers.
Finally, there’s another head-scratching note in the series.
Since 2018, Jacksonville is 4-4 against the Colts and 11-47 against the rest of the NFL. The Jags opened 2020 with a 27-20 win over the Rivers-led Colts, then lost 15 straight.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.