INDIANAPOLIS — The boxscore will show a 10-play, 75-yard drive taking 4:07 off the clock that culminated in a one-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Luck to Mo Alie-Cox, with a successful two-point conversion run by Marlon Mack.
But let’s take a closer look at the Indianapolis Colts’ Week 10 Drive of the Game, presented by Hays + Sons:
It’s not often you can refer to a play in the second quarter as a “game winner,” but with the way Sunday’s game between the Colts and the Jaguars ended up playing out, that’s exactly what happened on Sunday when quarterback Andrew Luck found tight end Mo Alie-Cox for a one-yard touchdown pass just before halftime at Lucas Oil Stadium.
That touchdown, and ensuing two-point conversion, gave the Colts their 29th point of the afternoon, which is impressive considering they all came in just the first two quarters of the ballgame. But that’s all they would end up getting the rest of the day, as Jacksonville’s defense put the clamps down in the second half as they slowly began to chip away at the lead.
We know what ended up playing out, however: with less than two minutes to go and his team clinging to a three-point lead, Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II stripped Jaguars wide receiver Rashad Greene Sr. of the football at the Indy 25-yard line, which was recovered by safety Malik Hooker.
Ballgame — Colts win, 29-26.
So because that second-quarter touchdown from Luck to Alie-Cox, we now realize, was so pivotal, let’s take a look at how the drive developed.
The Colts were on fire offensively, scoring touchdowns on three of their first four drives in Sunday’s ballgame — a far cry from last year’s home game against the Jaguars, when Indy was sacked 10 times and kept out of the end zone, and off the scoreboard in general, in its 27-0 loss to the eventual AFC South Division champions.
But this time around, despite its issues on defense, Jacksonville (3-6) just wouldn’t go away, and at the 5:57 mark of the second quarter, running back Leonard Fournette punched it into the end zone from a yard out. After a blocked extra-point attempt, the Jaguars had cut the Colts’ lead to eight, 21-13.
But the miscues on defense continued for Jacksonville on the ensuing Indy drive:
» The Colts faced a 3rd and 3 from their own 32? Unnecessary roughness on defensive tackle Malik Jackson. First down at the 47.
» After a holding call on left tackle Anthony Castonzo, the Colts immediately got five yards back on a neutral zone infraction on defensive end Calais Campbell.
» Two plays later, another unnecessary roughness call, this time on linebacker Myles Jack. First down at the Jacksonville 34.
A 14-yard pass completion from Luck to wide receiver Dontrelle Inman then got Indy to the red zone, and after a six-yard pass play to Ryan Grant and a two-yard run by Nyheim Hines, Luck — on 3rd and 2 — scrambled for seven yards, getting the first down and running out of bounds at the 5.
A four-yard pass to tight end Jack Doyle on the next play nearly got the Colts in the end zone, but instead set up 2nd and Goal from the 1.
The Colts lined up in a rare I-formation, with Luck under center, Doyle as the fullback and Jordan Wilkins as the tailback. Alie-Cox, lined up just off the right side of the offensive line, was set into motion, and, on the snap, got a bit of momentum running straight ahead just off right tackle Braden Smith’s outside shoulder.
With Wilkins staying in to block, that left the team’s three tight ends — Doyle, Alie-Cox and Eric Ebron (who had already scored three touchdowns in the first two quarters) — as the only receivers available for Luck to throw to. And all three were eventually locked into one-on-one matchups.
For Alie-Cox, he was able to gain leverage on rookie linebacker Leon Jacobs over the middle near the front of the end zone, and turned to look for the ball with Jacobs’ back still to the quarterback. Luck delivered a perfectly-placed ball to the tight end right over the linebacker, and Alie-Cox, playing in just his fifth-ever NFL game — remember, he hadn’t played organized football since his freshman year of high school prior to last year — was able to come down with a tough catch for his second-career touchdown.
For good measure — and continuing the theme of the drive — the Jaguars were called for an offsides penalty on the ensuing point-after attempt. So head coach Frank Reich elected to go for two from the 2-yard line, and Marlon Mack was able to take care of that via the run to put Indy up 29-13 with 1:50 left in the second quarter.