Colts Slip Two Games Behind AFC South-Leading Tennessee with Loss to Jaguars
INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts are in unfamiliar territory.
And the unfamiliar territory is more than just their record, although the Colts are under .500 after three games for the first time since 1998, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning's rookie season.
But when Jacksonville rallied for a 23-21 over the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium late Sunday afternoon, the Jaguars did more than just send the Colts into their bye week on a decidedly disappointing note. They pushed them further behind in the AFC South they have been since . . . since . . .
The Colts, who led 21-20 before Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee's 51-yard field goal with :04 remaining, slid two games behind the unbeaten Tennessee Titans after three weeks, and are now in a second-place tie with the Jaguars.
The Colts previously never had trailed the division by more than a game.
The Colts, the five-time defending AFC South champions, entered this season having led the division for 60 consecutive weeks and entering the season they had held or shared the lead in the division in 95 of a possible 102 weeks.
The Titans, one of four unbeaten teams remaining in the AFC, beat division rival Houston, 31-12, in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday.
"It means everything right now just to be 3-0 and on top of the division," Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan said. "It's a marathon and not a sprint, so definitely we want to take one game at a time.
A look at the rest of the AFC South and AFC:
Tennessee Titans (3-0)
Last week: The Titans beat the Houston Texans, 31-12, at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., on Sunday.
Next week: Home against Minnesota (1-2) Sunday.
Recent trend: The Titans are 3-0 for the first time since 1999, the only season the franchise ever has made the Super Bowl. It is the third time in franchise history they have won their first three games. The other time the franchise started 3-0 was 1991. The Titans have won seven consecutive games against Houston and 11 of 13 in series history.
What happened Sunday: Running back LenDale White ran for two touchdowns, quarterback Kerry Collins threw for one and the Titans pulled away for their first 3-0 start in nearly a decade. With Houston threatening to score late, cornerback Cortland Finnegan intercepted a pass from Texans quarterback Matt Schaub and returned it a franchise-record 99 yards for a touchdown to seal the victory.
Statistically speaking: Titans quarterback Kerry Collins, starting in place of Vince Young, completed 14 of 26 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown with an interception, becoming the 15th player in NFL history to surpass 35,000 yards passing for his career. Only Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and New York Jets quarterback Brett Favre lead Collins on the list among active players.
Coming up: The Titans play host to the Vikings (0-2) Sunday before visiting Baltimore (1-0) on October 5. The Titans' bye week is October 12, after which they play at Kansas City on October 19.
Quote to note: "I don't think anyone outside of our locker room really believed in us. I think we are going to continue to do some good things. I think we are a smart team, a no-nonsense team. We are physical and that is going to help us down the road. This win today, it took everybody in our locker room. It was a good team win. Obviously, we can do a lot of things a lot better. We are going to continue to correct our mistakes, but we are off to a good start."
--- Titans Defensive End Kyle Vanden Bosch
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
Last week: The Jaguars beat the Colts, 23-21, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., Sunday.
Next week: Home against Houston (0-2).
Recent trend: After losing their first two games, the Jaguars averted an 0-3 start with a come-from-behind victory over the Colts Sunday. It was their second victory in Indianapolis in franchise history, and their first there since 2004. The Jaguars are now 4-11 against Indianapolis, 4-9 since the 2002 inception of the AFC South.
What happened Sunday: The Jaguars, division runners-up behind the Colts two of the past three seasons, rallied from deficits of 7-0 and 14-10 to snap a two-game losing streak to the Colts. The Jaguars trailed 21-20 with 1:07 remaining but kicker Josh Scobee converted a 51-yard field goal with four seconds remaining.
Statistically speaking: Running back Fred Taylor rushed 26 times for 121 yards, and Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew rushed 19 times for 107 yards and a touchdown, also catching four passes for 59 yards. The Jaguars rushed for for 236 yards and had possession for more than 41 minutes.
Coming up: The Jaguars play host to Houston (0-2) Sunday followed by games at home against Pittsburgh (2-1) and at Denver (3-0). The Jaguars are off the week of October 19.
Quote to note: "On the sideline, I said, 'This is our time now. Just believe.' I kept telling them, 'Just believe.' I told the offensive line to get them off my back.''
-- Jaguars Quarterback David Garrard
Houston Texans (0-2)
Last week: The Texans lost to the Tennessee Titans, 31-12, at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., on Sunday.
Next week: At Jacksonville (1-2).
Recent trend: After finishing last season on a surge with three victories in the last four games and the first .500 season in franchise history, the Texans have lost their first two games this season. It's the fourth 0-2 start in the franchise's seven-year history and the fourth in the last five seasons.
What happened Sunday: Quarterback Matt Schaub completed 17 of 37 passes for 188 yards, and was sacked three times. Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson caught two passes for 29 yards (14.5 avg.) and had two potential touchdown passes glance off his hands.
Statistically speaking: Rookie running back Steve Slaton, a third-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft from West Virginia, made his first NFL start, rushing for a career-high 116 yards on 18 carries with his first career touchdown. He had a career-long 50-yard run and also had four receptions for eight yards.
Coming up: The Texans will play the second of back-to-back road games at AFC South rivals when they visit Jacksonville Sunday. They will then play home games three consecutive weeks: Indianapolis on October 5, Miami on October 12 and Detroit on October 19.
Quote to note: "For us to become the team that we want to be, we all have to play better – not just (Andre), but myself and everybody on the team. We squandered opunities as an offense that we need to take advantage of."
--- Texans Quarterback Matt Schaub
Buffalo (3-0): The Bills scored 17 points in the final eight minutes, including a 38-yard field goal by Ryan Lindell as time expired, to beat the Oakland Raiders in Orchard Park N.Y., 24-23. It was the second consecutive fourth-quarter, come-from-behind victory for Buffalo, which rallied to beat Jacksonville a week ago in Jacksonville, 20-16. The Bills last started 3-0 in 1992. "It shows the chemistry and character of this team," Bills defensive end Chris Kelsay said.
New England (2-1): The Patriots, the five-time defending AFC East champions, slipped from first place in the division with a surprising 38-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins in Foxboro, Mass. The loss ended the Patriots' NFL-record streak of consecutive regular-season victories at 21. The 25-point loss was the biggest for New England in seven seasons at Gillette Stadium. It's the first time since Week 4 of 2005 the Patriots have been out of first place in the East. "It's brutal, man – brutal," Patriots defensive end Ty Warren said.
New York Jets (1-1): The Jets visit the San Diego Chargers (0-2) Monday night.
Miami (1-2): The Dolphins had lost 17 of their last 18 games, but on Sunday, they upset the defending AFC Champions, beating New England by 25 points in Foxboro, Mass. Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown scored a team-record four rushing touchdowns and passed for another, with four of the touchdowns coming on direct snaps to Brown. "That was fun," Dolphins Head Coach Tony Sparano said. "It was obviously a pretty emotional deal. They executed the game plan on both sides of the ball to perfection."
Baltimore (2-0): The Ravens moved into first place in the AFC North after three weeks, rallying past the Cleveland Browns in Baltimore Sunday. Cleveland led 10-7 at halftime, but the Ravens outscored the Browns 21-0 in third quarter en route to the victory. The Ravens are unbeaten under first-year Head Coach John Harbaugh.
Pittsburgh (2-1): The Steelers entered the weekend unbeaten, but allowed nine sacks in a 15-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger also was pressured into an intentional-grounding penalty that resulted in a safety. The loss was the eighth in succession for Pittsburgh in Philadelphia, a streak that dates to 1965.
Cleveland (0-3): After narrowly missing the playoffs last season, the Browns were expected to contend for an AFC North title this season. Through three games, the Browns have scored two touchdowns and quarterback Derek Anderson – a Pro Bowl selection last season – completed 14 of 37 passes for 125 yards in a 28-10 loss to the Ravens Sunday. Anderson threw three interceptions and was sacked five times Sunday. "I don't know whether we're trying to live on the success we had last year, but it's not working,'' Browns Head Coach Romeo Crennel said. "So we're going to have to do a lot better, or this thing is really going to get away from us.''
Cincinnati (0-3): The Bengals, after losing their first two games, turned in a strong performance on Sunday before losing to the defending Super Bowl champions in overtime, 26-23. Against the New York Giants, Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer – who had the two worst passer ratings of his career in the first two games – completed 27 of 39 passes for 286 yards. "It's definitely a tough situation, a situation we never envisioned ourselves being in,'' Palmer said. "We have to keep coming together as a team. It may sound crazy but we have improved, but not enough.''
Denver (3-0): High-scoring games have become the norm for the Broncos. A week after beating the San Diego Chargers, 39-38, the Broncos held off a New Orleans rally Sunday to win, 34-32. Denver led 21-3 early, then needed a missed field goal by Saints kicker Martin Grammatica for the victory. The Broncos are 3-0 for the first time since 2003 and have allowed 28 points per game. "We've got to be the luckiest team right now because of what's going on,'' Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said. "We put ourselves in those situations, but right at the end things have been happening for us. You've got to take it as a good sign.''
Oakland (1-2): The Raiders led the Bills by nine late in the game, but couldn't hold the lead and lost, 24-23. Various media reports early Monday morning indicated Raiders second-year coach Lane Kiffin would be fired, perhaps as early as Monday. Raiders second-year quarterback JaMarcus Russell completed 9 of 15 passes for 156 yards and also ran for a one-yard touchdown.
San Diego (0-2): The Chargers play host to the New York Jets (1-1) Monday night.
Kansas City (0-3): The Chiefs' struggles continued Sunday. Kansas City lost to the Falcons, 38-14, in Atlanta and including the last nine games of last season, the Chiefs have lost 12 consecutive games. Tyler Thigpen, the third starting quarterback for the Chiefs in three games this season, completed 14 of 36 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, who had 96 yards rushing in the first two games, rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.