INDIANAPOLIS – Is revenge on the minds of the Colts this weekend?
It should be after the past two meetings with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Last December in Jacksonville, it looked like the Colts were going to take a lead into halftime of a very important divisional tilt.
Things changed in a hurry though.
The 51-16 victory by the Jaguars was part of a three-game December losing streak for the Colts that ultimately kept them out of the postseason.
Back in October, the Colts traveled to London for their first AFC South game of 2016.
Starting three rookie offensive linemen against the Jaguars, the Colts offense was never in sync. Missed tackles and defensive penalties led to the Colts putting themselves into a 17-point, fourth-quarter deficit.
Wembley Stadium witnessed some fourth-quarter magic from Andrew Luck, but it was not enough. The 30-27 loss for the Colts put them in a 1-3 hole after the first quarter of the season.
Here are seven takeaways (outside of Gus Bradley no longer coaching the Jaguars) from that Week Four meeting in London and what has changed since for the Colts and Jaguars:
- Slow Start Across The Pond: Following the 30-27 loss to the Jaguars, Chuck Pagano said the Colts would explore the idea of going up-tempo earlier in games (which happened in the win over Chicago the next week). Jacksonville blanketed the big play ability of the Colts and attacked a young Indy offensive line all day long.
- Rookie Line Struggles: Back in Week Four, the Colts started three rookie linemen with three of their top seven linemen inactive. The result was about what you would expect. Andrew Luck was sacked a career-high six times and hit 14 times. The line play for the Colts has improved significantly since London. The unit hasn't allowed a sack the last two weeks.
- Defensive Penalties Come Back To Haunt Colts: The game in London was the first time Ted Monachino had his starting defense together in 2016. But the unit struggled through missed tackles and penalties. A late first-half drive saw the Colts commit three defensive penalties, which led to a final gun field goal. After the loss in London, the Colts parted ways with starters ILB-Sio Moore and CB-Antonio Cromartie.
- Quieting Hilton: The NFL's leading receiver had just 42 receiving yards over in London. Jalen Ramsey, the No. 5 overall pick in 2016, did a tremendous job in limiting Hilton, especially early in Week Four. Hilton is now the NFL's leading receiver and Ramsey was just named AFC Defensive Player of the Week, which should add to the intrigue of these two matching up again on Sunday.
- No Grip On Division: After winning an NFL-record 16 straight divisional games, this loss marked the third straight AFC South defeat for the Colts. The stranglehold the Colts had on the division had been loosened quite a bit. This loss contributed to why many of the potential tiebreakers between the Colts and Texans were not in favor of Indianapolis.
- Tired Of "Almost": That was how Andrew Luck described the third loss in four games to start 2016 for the Colts. Three losses coming down to the final two minutes was the theme of the first four losses for the Colts this past year. The loss in London was Luck's first divisional defeat as a starting quarterback since his rookie season. He had previously won 14 straight AFC South games.