INDIANAPOLIS — On a day in which the Indianapolis Colts struggled to make plays on offense, one player stood tall for them on defense and helped keep his team in the ballgame all afternoon.
Defensive tackle/end Denico Autry had a career day in the Colts’ 6-0 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, racking up seven tackles (three for loss), three sacks, two forced fumbles and four total quarterback hits. The three sacks is a new career high, and his seven tackles ranks second.
"It felt good. It was something I needed, the type of game I needed to have,” Autry said after the game. “Me and the guys worked hard all week on it, so it all came together. I've gotta give them just as much as I take."
Colts head coach Frank Reich acknowledged Autry’s performance as a positive takeaway — and an unsurprising development given his performance in practice this week — from Sunday’s action.
"You know what? It was great. He played great today. It's no surprise because all week in practice I felt like he was going at a different speed in practice all week,” Reich said. “So, that showed up today for him and that was great."
Although the Colts lost, their defense was stout against Jaguars quarterback Cody Kessler, putting him under constant pressure. Overall, Autry and the Colts' defense held Jacksonville’s offense to just 211 yards of offense (132 passing) and six points.
"It feels good to see us finally coming together,” Autry said of the Colts’ defense front, who held Jacksonville running backs Carlos Hyde and T.J. Yeldon to just 52 yards on 21 carries. “It's something we've been working on all season and it's finally starting to click."
Sunday's loss snaps the team's win streak at five games as the Colts (6-6) head into next week's divisional showdown against the Houston Texans, who have reeled off nine straight wins, a streak sparked back in Week 4 when they were able to escape Lucas Oil Stadium with an overtime victory.
Sure Sunday's game against the Jaguars was tough, but Autry is confident his team can quickly move on which such a meaningful game up ahead.
"(We’ve got to) keep our heads up and keep fighting," Autry said. "It's all about the win."