A Capsule Look at Sunday's Colts-Jaguars Game
COLTS (1-1) vs. JAGUARS (0-2)
Sunday, 4:15 p.m. EDT
Lucas Oil Stadium
Colts – Tony Dungy, seventh season as Colts Head Coach (74-24, 81-29 including playoffs) and 12th season as NFL Head Coach (128-66, 137-75 including playoffs).
Jaguars – Jack Del Rio, sixth season as Jaguars and NFL Head Coach (45-37, 46-39 including postseason).
Colts – 1-1, 2nd in AFC South.
Jaguars – 0-2, 4th in AFC South.
LAST TIME IN PLAYOFFS
Colts – 2007.
Jaguars – 2007.
2008 NFL RANKINGS
Offense – Overall, 18th (307.0 yards per game); Rushing, 32nd (39.0 ypg); Passing, 6th (268.0 ypg); Defense – Overall, 16th (309.0 yards per game); Rushing, 28th (181.5 ypg); Passing, 5th (127.5 ypg).
Offense – Overall, 29th (216.0 yards per game); Rushing, 28th (65.5 ypg); Passing, 22nd (150.5 ypg); Defense – Overall, 13th (297.0 yards per game); Rushing, 18th (106.0 ypg); Passing, 16th (191.0 ypg).
Colts – Peyton Manning (56-91 completions, 568 yards, 61.2 pct., 2 TD, 2 INT, 77.5 passer rating).
Jaguars – David Garrard (40-63 completions, 380 yards, 63.5 pct., 1 TD, 3 INT, 65.6 rating).
Colts – Joseph Addai (27 carries, 64 yards, 1 TD).
Jaguars – Fred Taylor (23 carries, 67 yards, 0 TD); Maurice Jones-Drew (12 carries, 30 yards, 1 TD).
Colts – Reggie Wayne (15 receptions, 179 yards, 2 TD); Anthony Gonzalez (14 receptions, 185 yards, 0 TD); Marvin Harrison (9 receptions, 92 yards, 0 TD).
Jaguars – Matt Jones (11 receptions, 130 yards, 0 TD).
Colts – Dwight Freeney (2).
Jaguars – Rob Meier (1), Clint Ingram (1), Quentin Groves (1) and Reggie Hayward (1).
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY?
Colts – The Colts, the five-time defending AFC South champions, lost their regular-season opener, 29-13, to the Chicago Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium, then rallied from a 15-point, third-quarter deficit to beat the Minnesota Vikings, 18-15, in Week 2.
Jaguars – The Jaguars lost the season-opener, 17-10, in a defensive game in which they were outgained by Tennessee, 309-198. This past week, after falling behind by seven points at halftime, Jacksonville rallied for a 16-10 lead early in the fourth quarter before losing to Buffalo in Jacksonville, 20-16.
QUOTES TO NOTE
"They're like us. They have some new offensive linemen playing because of injuries. They haven't run the ball nearly as well as they're capable of with those two runners (Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor). When you see their stats and they're averaging 2.9 or 3.0 yards per carry, that's very unusual for them. I think both teams are going to look at, 'Hey we have new guys in there, but we have to run the ball better.' I'm sure we'll see both of those guys run it quite a bit."
--- Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy
"I really resist the urge to make one game more imant than the other. Clearly, divisional games do take on added significance, and I think we all have to recognize that. But beyond that, I think the most important thing to focus on is the preparation and the work that needs to be put in, and then go out and compete and do what we do as well as we can. And that's what we're looking for."
--- Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del Rio
The Jaguars, selected by many to contend for not only a playoff position but their first AFC South title, lost their opening game of the season, 17-10, at AFC South rival Tennessee, then lost to the undefeated Buffalo Bills in Jacksonville this past weekend, 20-16.
A playoff team two of the past three seasons, the Jaguars are currently without starting center Brad Meester (biceps) and already this season they have placed starting left guard Vince Manuwai (knee) and starting right guard Maurice Williams (biceps) on injured reserve, ending their season.
Meester is expected to be out at least two more weeks, and the Jaguars also are without their top reserve tackle, Richard Collier, who was shot two weeks ago.
The Jaguars, who ranked second in the NFL in rushing last season, have averaged 65.5 yards per game and are ranked 28th. Fred Taylor, a Pro Bowl selection last season, has rushed for 67 yards on 23 carries – a 2.9-yards-per-carry average compared to 5.4 last season and 4.7 for his career entering the season.
Third-year veteran Maurice Jones-Drew, one of the NFL's top breakaway threats, has rushed 12 times for 30 yards for a 2.5-yard average compared to 4.6 last season and 5.1 for his career.
The Jaguars, after making the playoffs as a wild-card last season with an 11-5 record, made several major offseason changes, including the signing of wide receiver Jerry Porter as a free agent from the Oakland Raiders and cornerback Drayton Florence as a free agent from San Diego. They also traded three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcus Stroud to Buffalo.
Defensive coordinator Mike Smith left to become the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, after which longtime NFL assistant and former Buffalo Bills Head Coach Gregg Williams – most recently the coordinator in Washington – became the Jaguars' defensive coordinator.
"Gregg Williams comes in from the Washington Redskins with a completely different approach – a multifaceted, multi-front, multi-blitz approach," Colts President Bill Polian said. "He has veteran players to make it work. He has good rush people, including the two young ones they drafted. They're a formidable defense and they're going to give us different kinds and maybe more problems than we faced the last two weeks."
Three key head-to-heads . . .
• Colts middle linebacker Gary Brackett versus Jaguars running backs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. Not a true one-on-one matchup, but how the Colts fare against the Jaguars' running backs will be a key Sunday. The Jaguars ranked No. 2 in the NFL in rushing last season, but with three starting offensive linemen out with injuries, Jacksonville is ranked 28th in the league in rushing through two games. The Colts are ranked 28th in the NFL in rushing defense, having allowed 183 yards rushing to the Bears in the regular-season opener and 180 to the Minnesota Vikings this past Sunday. Colts safety Bob Sanders, the 2007 Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year, sustained an ankle injury against the Vikings and is expected to be out an undetermined amount of time.
• Colts wide receivers Reggie Wayne, Anthony Gonzalez and Marvin Harrison versus Jaguars cornerbacks Rashean Mathis and Drayton Florence. Mathis, a sixth-year veteran, is a former Pro Bowl selection, and the Jaguars signed Florence as a free agent to upgrade the secondary. Wayne, a Pro Bowl selection the past two seasons, has 15 receptions for 179 yards and two touchdowns this season and caught three crucial passes – including a 32-yard touchdown – as the Colts rallied for an 18-15 victory over the Vikings last week. Gonzalez caught a career-high nine passes for a career-high 137 yards against Minnesota.
• Colts defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis versus Jaguars left tackle Khalif Barnes and Tony Pashos. Freeney, after missing the last seven games of last season with a foot injury, has returned this season, starting the first two games and getting consistent pressures in each game. Freeney, who had 3.5 sacks last season, has two in two games this season and forced a fumble against the Vikings last week. He also has six quarterback pressures and had a sack for a safety last season against the Jaguars in Jacksonville. Mathis, the team's sacks leader last season, has a sack and a forced fumble this season and also has four quarterback pressures.
JAGUARS IN REVIEW
The Jaguars, after winning 11 games – 12 including a playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers – last season, have lost their first two games by a total of 11 points.
They lost the opener, 17-10, in a defensive game in which they were outgained by Tennessee, 309-198. After entering the game without Meester and Collier, the Jaguars lost Williams and Manuwai in that game. Jaguars quarterback David Garrard was sacked twice and he threw two interceptions.
This past week, after falling behind by seven points at halftime, the Jaguars took control in the second half before Bills quarterback Trent Edwards found wide receiver Lee Evans for a 37-pass on 3rd-and-6 from the Jaguars 44 with 4:10 remaining in the fourth quarter. Edwards threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver James Hardy a play later, and the Bills never trailed again.
"They are far from an 0-2 football team," Polian said. "They have just run into a little bad luck, which they will overcome in the end. They're too talented not to.
The Jaguars have had a reputation as one of the NFL's toughest defenses under Head Coach Jack Del Rio. One of the Jaguars' major moves of the offseason will do nothing to change that. Jacksonville in the offseason hired longtime NFL defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, replacing former coordinator Mike Smith, now the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Williams spent the last four seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins, and in those four seasons, the Redskins ranked sixth in the NFL in total defense at 306.6 yards per game allowed. The Redskins allowed 19.4 points per game during that span, the ninth-fewest in the NFL. In five of the last eight seasons, Williams' defenses – with three different teams – have ranked in the NFL's Top 10.
The Colts and Jaguars have met 14 times, including 12 times since each team joined the AFC South in 2002. The Colts lead the all-time series, 11-3, including a 9-3 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 six division games since 2003, with three of those losses coming against Jacksonville – 28-23 at Jacksonville in 2003, 27-24 at Indianapolis in 2004 and 44-17 in Jacksonville in 2006. The teams split the season series in each of those three seasons; the Colts swept the Jaguars in 2002, 2005 and 2007. 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.
On December 2, 2007, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning threw a season-high four touchdown passes – three in the first half and one in the fourth quarter – as the AFC South-leading Colts (10-2) moved closer to a fifth consecutive division title with a 28-25 victory over the second-place Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4) in front of 57,302 at the RCA Dome. Jacksonville had 27 first downs to 19 for the Colts, and Jaguars quarterback David Garrard completed 24 of 29 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns. Indianapolis took leads of 14-0 and 21-7 in the first half, and the Jaguars pulled to within three in the fourth quarter, but never took possession with a chance to take the lead. Manning completed 20 of 29 passes for 288 yards and was intercepted once. Wide receiver Reggie Wayne caught eight passes for 158 yards and a touchdown.