A Capsule Look at Sunday's Colts-Jaguars Game
COLTS (10-4) vs. JAGUARS (5-9)
Thursday, 8:15 p.m. EST
Jacksonville Municipal Stadium
Colts – Tony Dungy, seventh season as Colts Head Coach (84-27, 90-32 including playoffs) and 12th season as NFL Head Coach (137-69, 146-78 including playoffs).
Jaguars – Jack Del Rio, sixth season as Jaguars and NFL Head Coach (50-44, 51-46 including postseason).
Colts – 10-4, 2nd in AFC South.
Jaguars – 5-9, 4th in AFC South.
LAST TIME IN PLAYOFFS
Colts – 2007.
Jaguars – 2007.
2008 NFL RANKINGS
Offense – Overall, 18th (327.3 yards per game); Rushing, 30th (80.1 ypg); Passing, 6th (247.2 ypg); Defense – Overall, 11th (317.2 yards per game); Rushing, 25th (127.0 ypg); Passing, 7th (190.2 ypg).
Offense – Overall, 20th (318.0 yards per game); Rushing, 18th (110.8 ypg); Passing, 16th (207.2 ypg); Defense – Overall, 15th (319.1 yards per game); Rushing, 17th (110.7 ypg); Passing, 15th (208.4 ypg).
Colts – Peyton Manning (335-514 completions, 3,543 yards, 65.2 pct., 23 TD, 12 INT, 90.3 passer rating).
Jaguars – David Garrard (293-469 completions, 3,164 yards, 62.5 pct., 13 TD, 10 INT, 82.6 passer rating).
Colts – Joseph Addai (154 carries, 540 yards, 4 TD); Dominic Rhodes (138 carries, 511 yards, 6 TD).
Jaguars – Maurice Jones-Drew (154 carries, 655 yards, 12 TD); Fred Taylor (143 carries, 556 yards, 1 TD); David Garrard (66 carries, 273 yards, 1 TD).
Colts – Reggie Wayne (74 receptions, 1,022 yards, 5 TD); Dallas Clark (63 receptions, 684 yards, 5 TD); Marvin Harrison (53 receptions, 605 yards, 5 TD); Anthony Gonzalez (52 receptions, 614 yards, 4 TD).
Jaguars – Matt Jones (65 receptions, 761 yards, 2 TD); Maurice Jones-Drew (54 receptions, 484 yards, 2 TD).
Colts – Robert Mathis (11.5), Dwight Freeney (9.5).
Jaguars – Reggie Hayward (4.5).
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY?
Colts – The Colts, after back-to-back double-digit road losses, have won seven consecutive games – including two against AFC division leaders – to solidify their position in the AFC playoff chase. The Colts lost at Green Bay (34-14) and Tennessee (31-21) before beating New England (18-15) at home, then rallying from a 10-point deficit to beat Pittsburgh (24-20). They beat Houston, 33-27, at home and San Diego, 23-20, on the road before a 10-6 road victory at Cleveland. They beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 35-3, two weeks ago then beat the Detroit Lions at home Sunday, 31-21.
Jaguars – The Jaguars, after a 4-5 start, lost four consecutive games by double digits to slip from playoff contention and ensure themselves a losing record for the first time since 2003. The Jaguars during that stretch lost to Tennessee (24-14) at home, to Minnesota (30-12) at home, at Houston (30-17) and at Chicago (23-10) before beating Green Bay, 20-16, this past Sunday.
QUOTES TO NOTE
"The main thing is to try to get a win this week. That's one thing we've not done is rely on anybody else during this whole time. We just truly worried about us and tried to take care of ourselves. That is the goal on Thursday, to try to do whatever we have to do, even against the short week and all that, to try find a way to get a win. That's all I'm thinking about at this point."
--- Colts Quarterback Peyton Manning
"It obviously hasn't gone the way we had hoped. Clearly, you see what Indy's been able to do, putting together a run of seven straight is a type of thing, any team that starts the way we both did would like to have it go. You would like to get hot and run off a few and put yourself in position like they have."
--- Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del Rio
The Jaguars, after qualifying for the postseason a year ago, began the season with high expectations. Instead, they have struggled through 14 games and are assured of their first losing season since 2003, Head Coach Jack Del Rio's first season with the team.
They also have been eliminated from playoff contention.
Still, Colts President Bill Polian said this much is true:
No matter the record, and no matter their postseason fate, the Jaguars consider the Colts a rival, and will play Thursday's game as such.
"We have a very formidable opponent in front of us, because they know us well," Polian said. "It's a division rivalry with a lot of heat to it. There's nothing better they would like than to derail whatever plans we might have for making the playoffs."
The Jaguars have been hurt by injuries, with five starters on injured reserve, including Pro Bowl running back Fred Taylor and two starters along the offensive line – guard Vince Manuwai and guard tackle Maurice Williams.
Cornerback Rashean Mathis, also a former Pro Bowl selection, also is out for the season.
"I think it's part of life in the NFL," Del Rio said. "Depth is going to be tested. There are injuries throughout the league. I think the teams that adjust and plug in and carry on the best are the teams that ultimately find themselves playing in the post-season."
The Jaguars historically have run effectively against the Colts, with third-year running back Maurice Jones-Drew having rushed for 480 yards and five touchdowns in five career games. Jones-Drew rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in the Jaguars' 23-21 victory over the Colts in Indianapolis in September.
"There are certain things that we do well and there are certain things that they do well, and it's always a battle to see who can slow down who and who can get going and then ultimately win the game," Del Rio said. "I think any time you're going up against a high-powered offense, the more you can do to limit their opunities and their touches, the better it is for your football team.
"We've been successful at that at times, and certainly limiting the number of times that Peyton Manning gets his hands on the ball can be a factor."
Three key head-to-heads . . .
• Colts middle linebacker Buster Davis versus Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Not a true one-on-one matchup, but with Fred Taylor – the Jaguars' leading rusher and a Pro Bowl selection last season – on injured reserve, how the Colts fare against Jones-Drew will be key when Indianapolis is on defense. Jones-Drew, who is tied for fourth in the NFL with 14 touchdowns this season, this past Sunday scored a touchdown rushing and another receiving in a 20-16 victory over Green Bay. He also has had success against the Colts, with two of his seven career 100-yard rushing games coming against Indianapolis. He has averaged 96 yards rushing per game against Indianapolis. Davis has started the last two games in place of starter Gary Brackett. During that span, the Colts have allowed 82 and 90 yards rushing.
• Colts defensive ends Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney versus Jaguars offensive tackles Khalif Barnes and Tony Pashos. Mathis and Freeney, long one of the NFL's top pass-rushing duos, have reestablished themselves as such in the past few weeks. Mathis has 11.5 sacks this season – a total that is tied for third in the AFC – and he has 6.5 sacks in the last four games. He also had two or more sacks in three consecutive games, while Freeney – a four-time Pro Bowl selection who missed the last seven games of last season with a foot injury – has 9.5 sacks this season, including 6.5 in the last six games. Mathis and Freeney were named to the Pro Bowl this week. Pashos is in his sixth NFL season and has started for Jacksonville the past two seasons. Barnes, a second-round selection in the 2005 NFL Draft, has started the last four seasons.
• Colts wide receivers Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison versus Jaguars cornerbacks Drayton Florence and Brian Williams. Wayne, a 1,000-yard receiver the past five seasons, was named to his third consecutive Pro Bowl this week and has caught 74 passes for 1,022 yards and five touchdowns and last week, he had his third 100-yard game of the season. His 39-yard reception set up the game-winning touchdown in a 31-21 victory over the Detroit Lions. Harrison, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, has caught 53 passes for 605 yards and five touchdowns. Florence, who signed with the Jaguars as a free agent in the offseason, has started the last two games. Williams has started 90 games in seven seasons.
JAGUARS IN REVIEW
The Jaguars, after winning 11 games – 12 including a playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers – last season, have struggled at times this season and have been eliminated from playoff contention.
Their season started in frustrating fashion, with losses in their first two games – at Tennessee and at home against Buffalo – before they came from behind to beat Indianapolis, 23-21, in Week 3. The next week, the Jaguars beat the Houston Texans at home in overtime, evening their record at 2-2, before losing three of their next four games.
Through eight games, the Jaguars were 3-5, with all five losses – to Tennessee, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Cincinnati – coming by a touchdown or less.
The Jaguars followed a 21-19 loss to Cincinnati with a 38-14 victory over Detroit, but lost their next four games by double digits, losing at home to Tennessee and Minnesota, then losing to Houston and Chicago on the road.
They beat the Green Bay Packers, 20-16, at home this past Sunday.
The Jaguars were a playoff team last season largely because they had one of the NFL's most dominant, consistent running offenses. They went 11-5 and finished second in the NFL in rushing with 149.4 yards per game, with Fred Taylor finishing ninth in the NFL in rushing with 1,202 yards and Maurice Jones-Drew adding 768 yards. This season, the Jaguars are 18th in the NFL in rushing, and have lost four of the last five games to slip from playoff contention.
The Colts and Jaguars have met 15 times, including 13 times since each team joined the AFC South in 2002. The Colts lead the all-time series, 11-4, including a 9-4 record within the AFC South. Since Jack Del Rio took over as the Jaguars' head coach in 2003, Jacksonville has played the Colts as tough as any team in the AFC South. The Colts have lost eight division games since 2003, with four of those losses coming against Jacksonville – 28-23 at Jacksonville in 2003, 27-24 at Indianapolis in 2004, 44-17 in Jacksonville in 2006 and 23-21 at Indianapolis this season. The teams split the season series in 2003, 2004 and 2006. Indianapolis clinched the AFC South, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a 26-18 victory in Jacksonville in December of 2005.
In Week 3 of this season, Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee kicked a 51-yard field goal with :04 remaining to give the previously-winless Jaguars a come-from-behind 23-21 victory over the Colts in front of 65,938 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts allowed Jacksonville 236 yards on 48 carries, with Jaguars running backs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew each rushing for more than 100 yards. Taylor, an 11-year veteran, rushed for 121 yards on 26 carries, and Jones-Drew – a third-year veteran – rushed for 107 yards on 19 carries. After a 21-yard field goal by Scobee gave the Jaguars a 20-14 lead with 2:33 remaining, Indianapolis moved 77 yards in 11 plays, taking the lead with a 2-yard run by running back Joseph Addai (79 yards, two touchdowns, 16 carries) with 1:07 remaining. The Jaguars then drove 47 yards on seven plays to set up Scobee's game-winning field goal, a kick that came four plays after the most controversial play of the game. With :29 remaining, the Jaguars faced 4th-and-1 from their 29. Quarterback David Garrard threw an incomplete pass to his right, and after the ball hit the Lucas Oil Stadium FieldTurf, Colts players celebrated. Seconds later came a penalty flag. The call was pass interference against linebacker Freddy Keiaho, a call that gave Jacksonville a first down.