Pictured above is Colts tight end
INDIANAPOLIS – When the Colts and Jacksonville get together on Sunday, if history between the teams is any indication then one can expect a competitive contest.
Of the last nine meetings between the teams, seven of those have been decided by one possession or less.
The Jaguars have won three of the past four meetings, including a 17-3 win at Lucas Oil Stadium last November.
This offseason brought some changes for the Jaguars as Mike Mularkey took over the reins. Mularkey served as head coach with Buffalo in 2004-05 in his only previous stint as a field leader. Mularkey servied with Miami (2006-07) and Atlanta (2008-11) after leaving Buffalo. He held the offensive coordinator positions with each club.
Also, Mularkey was the coordinator with Pittsburgh from 2001-03, and his NFL coaching experience dates back to 1994. He played from 1983-88 with Minnesota and from 1989-91 with Pittsburgh.
Interim Head Coach Mel Tucker was retained as defensive coordinator after coaching the final five games of 2011 once Jack Del Rio left the team.
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew leads the offense with 31 carries for 137 yards after two games. Jones-Drew has been one of the most prominent rushers ever against the Colts. He has 1,212 yards and nine touchdowns on 230 attempts, ranking fourth in all-time rushing yards against Indianapolis. He is positioned to pass two performers closest to him on that list. (1,251 Fred Taylor; 1,230, Thurman Thomas).
Jones-Drew has seven 100 outings against the Colts, and he will be facing a Colts defense that limited Chicago’s Matt Forte to 80 yards and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson to 60 yards in the first two games.
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert started 14 games in the 2011 season, and he opened the first two games this year.
He left the Jaguars’ 27-7 loss to the Texans late in the fourth quarter with a glute muscle injury. Mularkey says Gabbert should be fine but may be limited in practice this week. Backup Chad Henne filled in for Gabbert last Sunday and completed both of his pass attempts.
The Jaguars had a heartbreaking loss in Week One of the regular season falling to the Vikings 26-23 in overtime.
Gabbert led a final minute drive by finding wide receiver Cecil Shorts for a 39-yard touchdown to give the Jaguars a 21-20 lead that it extended to three points with a two-point conversion pass to first-round draft pick Justin Blackmon.
With 20 seconds remaining, Minnesota got completions of six and 26 yards before rookie kicker Blair Walsh drilled a 55-yard field goal to send the game into overtime. Walsh hit a 38-yarder on the Minnesota’s first possession of overtime. The Jaguars turned the ball over on downs, giving the Vikings the overtime win.
The Week Three meeting between the Colts and Jaguars is the earliest the teams have met since a season-opening game in 2009.
The Jacksonville game is part of a three-game home stand for the Colts that will continue with Green Bay on Octover 7. Indianapolis has a bye week following Sunday’s game.
2012 Record: 0-2, Tied for third in the AFC South.
Head Coach: Mike Mularkey, first season as Jaguars head coach and third NFL season as head coach (14-20 overall regular season).
2012 NFL Rankings: Offense – Overall, 32nd (236.0); Rushing, 23rd (89.0); Passing, 31st (147.0) Defense – Overall, 23rd (400.0); Rushing, 31st (169.5); Passing, 17th (230.5).
2012 Leading Passer: Blaine Gabbert (30-58 comp., 313 yards, 51.7 pct., 3 TDs, 0 INTs).
2012 Leading Rusher: Maurice Jones-Drew (21 carries, 137 yards, 0 TDs).
2012 Leading Receiver: Laurent Robinson (8 receptions, 115 yards, 0 TD).
2012 Leading Sacker: Tyson Alualu and Terrance Knighton (1.0).
2012 Turnover Breakdown: -1 (T18th).
2012 NFL Draft Results: The Jaguars chose wide receiver Justin Blackmon with the fifth overall pick in April’s NFL Draft. He has three catches for 24 yards on the season. Second-round pick Andre Branch is starting at right defensive end and was a college teammate of Colts tight end Dwayne Allen. Third-round pick Bryan Anger is the Jaguars’ punter.
2011 Review: The Jaguars were 5-11 last season as quarterback Blaine Gabbert started 14 games in his rookie season. Interim Coach Mel Tucker took over for long-time Coach Jack Del Rio for the final five games of the season. Tucker again is the defensive coordinator. He was placed back in the role when Jacksonville chose former Buffalo head coach Mike Mularkey to lead the team. Mularkey’s 22-man coaching staff reflects 15 new assistants.
Last time in Playoffs: 2007 season. Lost in the Divisional playoffs to New England, 31-20.
Last time in Super Bowl: Never.
Super Bowl Championships: None.
2011 Pro Bowl Selections: Maurice Jones-Drew RB, Montell Owens (special teams).