Wow, it’s way too early in the morning for football. It’s 8am in Chicago and the inactives are already an hour old. No Denzelle Good or Joe Reitz could make for a rough day for Andrew Luck. Three rookies starting on the OLine: Joe Haeg at Right Tackle (who I have some faith in as a decent step in player, especially against a bad team) and Austin Blythe at Right Guard. And if anyone goes down? Things are going to get very interesting very fast.
However, hopefully a finally healthy Defense (especially a healthy secondary) can create some extra possessions for Luck and the offense. A starting trio of Vontae Davis, Patrick Robinson, and Antonio Cromartie should continue the defense’s propensity for success against bad QBs. (Postgame note: All of this was wrong. Very, very wrong.)
Finally, also looking to see if Frank Gore can get the 88 yards he needs to reach 9th all time in rushing in the NFL.
Jags defer. Colts ball. Luck and the rookies on the field first.
A dump off on the second play of the game because the line collapses fast. Followed by a drop by Josh Ferguson. 3-and-out for the Colts. Jaguars getting some push against the youngsters early.
There’s still no pass rush by the defense, but the coverage already looks tighter than it has any of the past weeks. The Jags pocket looks a lot like the Colts’ on 3rd down and the Colts force a 3-and-out as well.
Honestly, with these two teams, it was expected that they’d both be a bit inept, but this is special level of teams not being able to do anything on their first drives of the game.
Colts get bailed out on an awful run play to start their second drive by a bad facemask penalty against the Jags. I’m going to go ahead and assert that running to the right side today is an awful choice. No push by the rooks. Dwayne Allen doing his best Coby Fleener and dropping an easy pass over the middle. The very next pass gets batted at the line and intercepted. The Jags line is dominating and the Colts look crazy sluggish.
The stadium plays “That’s the way, uh-huh uh-huh, I like it” after that pick. Ugh.
The defense is gashed for a huge run. Shock. Two runs for first downs by TJ Yeldon. Huge holes opening up now. The pass defense seems much improved as Bortles doesn’t seem to be finding anything down field….and as I type that, Bortles throws an easy slant to Allen Robinson to beat Cro for a TD.
Cro had no chance on that TD. That’s a perfect route by Robinson. That’s the kind of route and play you expect a number one WR to make. 7-0 Jags
Colts looking to get something going deep. Luck had to dump it off, but TY drew the penalty for the first. He’s too fast. Double moves make defenders panic. In other news, Luck’s pocket movement is still spectacular and he’s making decisions much quicker which is nice to see. When Luck needs someone to actually catch the ball on 3rd down, he throws to TY. Good call, Andrew. Good call.
Drops are going to kill his stat line, but Luck is playing fine considering how awful his line is playing. Still looking downfield, but taking what is given to him. Drive stalls after a jailbreak sack. Vinny is still money. 7-3 Jags
The defense is playing well actually. You know, when not faced with a short field because of a turnover. Hassan Ridgeway blowing up an attempted screen was as great of a play by him as it was a bad choice and throw by Bortles. Defense forces another punt.
The offense is letting the defense down today.
Luck isn’t finding anything downfield. This is where Moncrief being out really hurts. The coaches are clearly calling more runs because the passing game just isn’t doing anything and all passes are screens or dump offs. It’s not the offense this team needs to run to win.
Side note: The piggyback sack. Rarely seen. Luck takes the defender jumping on his back and just kinda carries him til the whistle blows it dead.
Jaguar penalties are the Colts’ best downfield offense. No one is getting open, so Luck is holding onto the ball and/or checking it down. But when he does throw to anyone other than TY, it’s a drop. Just outrageously poor showing by the offense. Vinny with another FG. 7-6 Jags
Blake Bortles spin move for the win. Yeldon running. Bortles running. Doesn’t matter. Yards for days. When the Colts pass rush creates pressure, Bortles still completes a huge pass. Bortles is starting to learn that even if players look covered, the Colts D will still give up completions. Colts defense starting to look like a unit that has spent more time on the field than off (which is the opposite of the truth). Just sloppy all over the field.
Somewhere around here Kelly went into the locker room for the Colts. That would be awful news if he’s injured. The Colts can’t afford to lose another starter on that line.
There are so many penalties in this game. Will it ever end? Who knows. And most of them are just sloppy play penalties. The latest by Patrick Robinson leads to a first and goal at the 1 yard line. Bortles runs it in on the read option. Easy. 14-6 Jags.
Remember when the Colts were “angry” about having 50 dropped on them by these Jags. They look just as uninspired as ever. This is a second half team typically, so hopefully they turn it around, but every aspect of this team looks uninterested in playing football against the Jaguars.
Kelly back out to start this drive. Huge cutback run by Gore. Nice catch by TY. First down run by Gore. Colts are finally moving, but then, of course, give up a sack as soon as Luck’s eyes look downfield.
Drops are killing drives and big plays aren’t there with Luck having no time and no players getting open. An awful combo for a team trying to win a game.
Everyone is going to say that Rodgers was open for a TD on that Luck throw to TY that fell incomplete on 3rd down, but it looked like Luck was already winding up and mid-throw when Rodgers popped open. Plus, with the drops, I don’t blame Luck for going for TY instead of one of the cement handed players.
More stupid penalties. Just a poorly coached team if you don’t know not to give up 15 yard penalties within the last minute of a half when the other offense is driving. TJ Green. Cro (x2). Just giving up yards after yards.
Jags roll the pocket for Bortles to throw on the run and the Colts DLine has no idea what to do with it. It’s a wonder why the Colts don’t try the same for Luck.
First-and-goal, 7 seconds left. Kept them out of the endzone, but not from extending the lead. 17-6 Jags. Hopefully the Colts have a large mirror in the locker room. They need to take a good long look at themselves. Huge, dumb penalties on defense. Zero plays being made on offense. Relying on Vinny and 50 yard FGs? Dangerous game.
Colts open the second half like the closed the first: Give up a big play to Yeldon. Vontae gets toasted (luckily a drop). Wide open player to easily pick up first down. Long run. Wide open receiver. Rinse. Repeat. A decent pass breakup by Vontae on 3rd down leads to a FG try. 20-6 Jags.
Two straight runs by the Colts followed by trotting TY and Gore off the field for 3rd down and trying to pass. And it almost pays off as Luck attempts a Houdini act to avoid the sack and complete a huge play to Doyle. Buuuuuut, it doesn’t count. Because of course it doesn’t. Instead, awful 3-and-out by the Colts. Awful play calls on 2nd-and-3 and 3rd-and-2 that didn’t have much of a chance to get first downs.
This whole game is a farce. Bortles tries to throw, the ball slips out of his hands and goes straight up and back to him and the Colts still can’t make a play on it. Colts get a sack? Tack on a Colts penalty to the end. Just moronic plays. And the Jags are still running all over the Colts.
At this point, talking about the occasional good play in the backfield by the Defense is pointless as it’s almost immediately negated by a penalty or huge play by the Jags. Right on cue: two tackles in the backfield bring up 3rd-and-18. 15 yard completion. Jags do what the Colts never do: go for it on 4th-and 3. And get it.
Why? Because they know the Colts are outmatched.
23-6 Jags. This. Is. Ugly.
Colts have run 3 offensive plays so far in the 3rd quarter. None were a pass by Andrew Luck. His one INT today was a batted pass. He’s had a ton of drops. This is the same team as every other year under Pagano. Nothing, absolutely nothing, has changed.
Colts FINALLY pushing tempo. Now that they’re down by 3 scores. Gore with a couple nice plays. Rodgers with a very nice diving catch. Guys are finally catching Luck’s passes and, shock, the offense is clicking. The quarter ends with a Gore run getting blown up, but also with the Colts in FG territory.
A long Pass Interference call puts the Colts at the goal line. Gore punches it in. 23-13 Jags.
Colts are going to need to steal a possession here somewhere. Onside kick, turnover, something. Asking the Defense to force three-and-outs seems unlikely at this point.
Colts can’t get a stop on 3rd-and-7 and the Jags keep carving up the Colts defense. An apparent missed PI call against Vontae Davis allows the defense to finally force a punt. The Colts need a TD on this next possession. (Duh.)
Every run play is a waste of a play at this point. Backs are having much more success catching in space right now. The more they let Luck make the decisions in this hurry up offense, the better the results have been.
Another long Pass Interference against the Jags puts the Colts in the red zone. After throwing what is possibly the worst shovel pass in history, Luck finally finds the end zone with a pass to TY. 23-20 Jags.
Two things: 1) This hurry up has the Jags completely baffled. It’s inexcusable that the coaches didn’t go with this earlier. I’m not accepting the drops as an excuse. Their insistence on running the ball has kept them out of the hurry up. This is a team, especially with a young OLine, that has to throw to open up the run. But they refuse to do that.
2) Luck still had to buy a ton of time on that TD throw. No one is getting open on their initial routes. Moncrief being out is huge. He’s a massive matchup problem for teams.
Yeldon has yet to be stopped by the Colts. And then Allen Hurns with a catch and run to put a dagger in the Colts with 5 minutes left in the game. To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Colts defense is incapable of making the big play (or even the simple tackle) needed to help the offense after the offense decided to take 3 quarters to warm up. 30-20 Jags.
This is not any way to play a football game.
Jags clearly ok with Luck throwing short passes to run clock. The Colts aren’t in anywhere near enough of a hurry and are playing right into what the Jags want at this point. BUT, somehow Dorsett get wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-*breath*-iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide open. Luck drops it in for a 65+ yard TD. *wipes brow* 30-27 Jags.
Now the real question: Does the defense have ANYTHING left in this game. Luck refuses to lose. The defense refuses to win. 3:03 to go.
Side note: This Jags team might be scary with a real NFL QB and a real NFL coach.
Colts defense with the crucial three-and-out ending with a batted ball by the D-Line. Managed to give Luck the ball back with 2:31 left. The Colts need a FG to tie, TD to win. They need to keep attacking, but will the coaches allow it?
Two minute warning and the Colts look to be putting the ball in Luck’s hands. But the real question is: Will they stall when in FG range and play for overtime or will they let Luck win the game. 4th quarter luck—correction, up tempo Luck—has been fire in the final quarter of this game.
Colts with a 4th-and-1 in the middle of the field. Luck, with space in front of him, tries to dump it to Allen and it’s broken up. An absolutely awful decision by Luck.
But these are the exact decisions that are the result of telling Luck not to run so much and protect himself more. He second guesses his legs and throws. And they only needed a few feet. Just awful all around.
Jags run twice after the turnover. Colts, get a stop on 3rd, they should have a bit of time to try to get in FG range.
:26 left. Luck with the ball. No timeouts. *whelp*
Luck does the one thing he can never do in this situation: Takes a sack on second down. You can NEVER take a sack in that situation. Find a coach (either team) and throw it to him on the sideline.
Colts end another game trying that desperation hot potato game, which, of course, doesn’t work.
FINAL: Jaguars 30, Colts 27
The Jaguars are 2-8 in their last 10 games. Both wins are against the Colts. That’s….pretty awful.
This game was lost early when the Colts couldn’t find the uptempo offense in the first half. Drops, forcing the run game, penalties, and poor offensive line play lost this game. Everyone is going to point at Luck because his blunders were the brightest: Poor decision on 4th-and-1 and awful sack on the final drive. The reality is, this game was lost well before Luck was even in those situations.
There is no silver lining here. This was as ugly as a loss can get for the Colts. The Irsay family was in London for this game and you have to wonder how Jim Irsay can sit and watch the game and honestly think “yes, this is a team heading in the right direction.”
Sure, Cro went out with an injury, but this is your 2016 Colts defense. Sure, the Offense has some injuries, but if Luck is truly a top 10 NFL QB, he has to win with this talent. This is not where this team wants to, needs to, or should be.
NEXT UP: The Chicago Bears. One of the few teams in the NFL who might also be as bad as the Jags and Colts. Colts have to win or it may just be time to see what the Pacers are up to.