INDIANAPOLIS --The Colts' offense did its part in pounding out a triumph on Sunday.
Indy endured Jacksonville's tough and persistent first-half effort, kept pushing and finally got things going after halftime.
The result was a 23-3 victory over the Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit Indy's resolve.
And credit a striking effort by the Colts' defense, keeping victory within reach.
"The way our defense was playing," Colts quarterback Andrew Luck said, "we knew it wouldn't be too many points that we needed to get a win."
Luck suffered five sacks in the first half. The Colts lost three fumbles before halftime, two by Luck on strip-sacks.
But they regrouped at the half. The coaching staff, the offensive line, Luck -- they all regrouped.
The line, in particular, looked like a different group thereafter.
"They did a great job of hunkering down, making adjustments and then just doing their job," said Luck, who wound up passing for 253 yards on 21-of-32 with one touchdown. "You love playing behind them because you know they are a conscientious group. They're going to do everything they can to get things right, and they certainly did in that second half."
The Colts, who led only 6-3 at halftime, put up 17 second-half points. Receiver T.Y. Hilton, who was with his wife Sunday morning for the birth of their daughter, reported to Lucas Oil Stadium and caught four passes for 122 yards and a score. The TD went for 73 yards, providing a 20-3 lead with 6:08 left in the third quarter.
The Colts' Boom Herron, making his first NFL start, rushed 12 times for a game-high 65 yards.
The Colts' defense did its job in grand fashion. It held Jacksonville to 11 first downs and 194 net yards. The Jaguars were 3-of-12 on third-down conversions.
Colts Coach Chuck Pagano called it a "great team win."
With Houston's loss to Cincinnati on Sunday, the Colts (7-4) extended their AFC South lead over the Texans (5-6).
"We're still ahead in our division," Pagano said. "We know the easiest way to get in the tournament is to win the division. That's our No. 1 goal. … Why can't we get hot and just keep getting better and better and better? We had a five-game win streak (earlier this season). There's no reason we can't do the same thing."
FIRST QUARTER (10:32 remaining)
After an exchange of turnovers, the Colts got on the scoreboard first. Quarterback Andrew Luck fumbled and Jacksonville recovered on Indy's opening possession. But Colts cornerback Vontae Davis quickly got the ball back, intercepting Blake Bortles and setting up the home team at the Jacksonville 22-yard line. When the Colts' offense failed to get untracked, Adam Vinatieri came on and booted his 23rd consecutive field goal of the season.Colts 3, Jaguars 0.
FIRST QUARTER (4:17 remaining)
The Jaguars evened the score with a 28-yard field goal by Josh Scobee. Jacksonville's score followed another fumble by Luck, this one recovered by Sen'Derrick Marks at the Indy 12-yard line. The Colts' defense held the Jaguars to two yards on the possession. Colts 3, Jaguars 3.
SECOND QUARTER (12 seconds remaining)
The Colts used a 26-yard pass completion, Luck to T.Y. Hilton, on third-and-14 to sustain this scoring drive. However, the march bogged down after the Colts earned a first-and-goal at the 7. The call went out to Vinatieri, who kicked a 20-yard field goal for the go-ahead score just before halftime. *Colts 6, Jaguars 3. *
THIRD QUARTER (8:31 remaining)
The Colts enjoyed a short field on their first possession of the second half and took advantage. Starting at the Jacksonville 38 after a punt, the Colts used 3-of-3 passing for 29 yards by Luck to help their cause. Luck also ran for a pair of first downs. Trent Richardson scored the touchdown from the 1. Vinatieri added the extra point.Colts 13, Jaguars 3.
THIRD QUARTER (6:08 remaining)
The Colts brought the crowd to its feet when Luck found Hilton open down the right sideline for a 73-yard pass completion for a touchdown. The two-play, 85-yard drive took only 38 seconds. Vinatieri added the extra point.Colts 20, Jaguars 3.
FOURTH QUARTER (14:52 remaining)
A 20-yard gain by Luck on a scramble and a Jacksonville personal foul call on the tackle moved the Colts from their own 33-yard line to the Jaguars' 32. It was the big play in an 11-play, 77-yard march. However, the Jaguars' defense stiffened and Vinatieri came in for his third field goal of the game, this one from 32 yards.Colts 23, Jaguars 3.