INDIANAPOLIS – Following the Colts "highway robbery" overtime victory over the Jaguars in early October, Matt Hasselbeck had many more post-game texts than normal.
As you would expect, there were plenty of congratulatory messages being sent Hasselbeck's way after the Colts evened their record at 2-2.
Among the messages included people oblivious to the fact that the three-time Pro Bowler was still in the league at the age of 40.
"A lot of people hit me up saying, 'Hey man I had no idea you were still playing," Hasselbeck said of people reaching out to him after he started his first game since 2012.
"I guess being Andrew Luck's backup you get in a witness protection program a little bit," the 40-year old joked earlier this week.
Hasselbeck is back in the spotlight as an NFL staring quarterback, leading the Colts to four victories in his five starts this season.
His first win came against the Jaguars back in early October when Luck was sidelined with a shoulder injury.
When asked about what he's done for this team, Hasselbeck is quite humble.
"I'm just trying to help this team get a win every week and, in a sense, just trying not to screw it up," Hasselbeck says.
"I kind of told Andrew, 'My goal is to make sure this is still a playoff team when you come back,' and that's really what I'm trying to do. I'm just trying to win one game at a time. I admit, I am having fun aside from a funky hit on the top of the head this past week I've been very, very healthy."
Despite that hit, Hasselbeck practiced all week and will be the Colts starting quarterback come Sunday afternoon in Jacksonville.
This Week 14 matchup is pivotal for a Colts team sharing the same record with Houston, at the top of the AFC South.
There isn't much of a reminder needed for a locker room filled with veterans.
"Any loss or any win at this point, it's going to have a direct implication on how we fare in the playoffs," D'Qwell Jackson says. "There's no (playoff) guarantee, so we definitely have our work cut out for us.
"We're built for this. We've been battle tested all year. We just have to correct some things and just start fast. We have to get some wins now. We have to string them along."**
INTERESTING MATCHUPSColts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck versus the Jaguars offense: Is this Matt Hasselbeck's final start of 2015? Win or lose on Sunday, Hasselbeck has done more than his job in filling in for Andrew Luck. Hasselbeck definitely wants to correct the situational football from Sunday's loss to Pittsburgh. A 3-of-14 showing on third down and a 1-of-6 effort in the red zone added to the physical pain Hasselbeck felt early this week.Jaguars wide receivers versus the Colts secondary:With Allen Hurns clearing the concussion protocol, the Jaguars will have their dynamic "Allen" duo on Sunday. Hurns and 1,000-yard receiver Allen Robinson have combined for 18 touchdowns this season, the second most of any receiving duo in the NFL. Jacksonville will also have tight end Julius Thomas (three touchdowns in the last three weeks) playing this weekend after he missed the team's first meeting.
- The Colts have won their last 16 AFC South games, which is an NFL record for divisional games.
- Colts running back Frank Gore has at least 75 yards from scrimmage in nine of his past 10 games.
- Colts inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson leads the NFL in tackles (122).
- The Jaguars rank third in the NFL in yards per carry allowed at 3.6 YPC.
- Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robison (1,080 receiving yards) is the first Jacksonville wideout to crack the century mark since Jimmy Smith (2005).
- Jaguars safety Sergio Brown played for the Colts from 2012-2014. Brown has started four games for the Jaguars in 2015.
NOTABLE QUOTESColts Head Coach Chuck Pagano(on his message to the team to start Jaguars week):
"You just make a decision that that's the way you're going to go and that's obviously the decision that we all made. I think last night after the ballgame and then today in the team meeting. Again, the record it is what it is, last night it is what it is. Now it's about today. Sun came up, we got another ball game, we're at the three-quarter pole, fourth quarter of the season. You got three division games, two at home, a huge one, huge one, on the road this week. We control our own destiny and everything is still out there in front of you. We're not going to sit around and wallow in self-pity or any of that other bull crap. Everybody else is going through the same thing. Everybody is dealing with injuries, everybody is dealing with ups and downs. Philly gets knocked around two weeks back-to-back. Gives up back-to-back 45 points and everybody has left them for dead. I'm sure nobody and nobody in this room or none of the pundits, none of the so-called experts picked them to go up to New England. New England has got injuries and go win that game but they (Philadelphia) rallied and found a way to win a game. We made a decision today that we're going to put this one behind us. Everything is right there out in front of us and we're going to attack each day with everything that we have. We're sitting in Vegas and I don't know if you got 50-grand in front of you, 100-grand, 150,000, 200, 500. Everybody is a little bit different in that room. I have 50 bucks, we're putting everything in. We're putting all our chips in, we got a month left to go. It all starts this week and all we need to be is 1-0 come Sunday afternoon about 4:05 Eastern Time, that's the goal and we don't have any other choice and that's the decision we made."
Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano(on the pass rush and secondary going hand-in-hand):
"When they got to get the ball out in less than three seconds you got to cover for about two, two-and-a-half seconds, it's real easy, I could play to be honest with you. If we can't get home and they max-protect, they do whatever and you got to cover three-and-a-half, four seconds sometimes five or six if the play gets extended, now it becomes difficult. Now it's a tall order so you generate pass rush and sometime the ball is going to come out by design based on down and distance and situational football. But other times, if we can't get home and you can't force them to get rid of the ball or move around, get him off the spot, make him throw off his back foot, get errant throws, get overthrows, get interceptions and things like that, then it is difficult. It goes hand-in-hand and then tight coverage, doing a great job of playing technique in the back end, got everything blanketed so once he goes through his reads and this one is taken away, that's taken away, that's taken away and now that buys time for the rush if they are because you notice they are going to put a tight end over here and if Rob (Mathis) is sitting there he's going to get chipped. You got to deal with the tackle, number one, tight end is going to chip him and then he's going to get out on a route and then you have a back on this side chipping the other rusher on the other side. So it's not like you got a bunch of one-on-ones on every single snap, so a lot of things go into it."
Colts Inside Linebacker D'Qwell Jackson(on the difference for Blake Bortles in this second game against the Colts):
"He's got some weapons. Julius Thomas has come back, he's been a big part of their offense. They have some receivers that are making a ton of plays for them. There's not lack of talent whatsoever. Bortles, from playing him last year, he can make every throw on the field. Teams tend to blitz him a ton, so that's where I think we'll have the advantage. Blitz a ton, so he has to get rid of the football a lot. He's mature. He gets them out of bad plays into good plays. If you watch the film, you like what you see."
Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley(on the development of second-year quarterback Blake Bortles):
"I think he's always been extremely competitive and tough. That was one of the reasons why we drafted him. We saw those traits last year. I think his maturity just in how who goes about his preparation, how he prepares off the field and on the field. He has routines now that he goes through. He follows strict routines, things that he's kind of figured out on his own that works for him. His leadership, I think his leadership qualities that he demonstrates with the team, they all trust him. They all think the world of him as a leader and as a player. I think just his overall understanding of the offense, his maturity on and off the field with the preparation, I think have all been things where he's made great strides in."
Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley(on wide receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns and their growth within the offense):
"Sometimes it takes time. I think it's a whole new system. We're really pleased with how the whole offense thus far has picked it up. There's things that we need to work on. Specifically with the receivers, we have some things from them. Both Hurns and Robinson from OTAs, mini camps, training camps, we saw some things from them that we were very pleased about. I think that the challenge was to see some of those things take place from the practice field to the game field. The first game we played, we had some drops and things. I think the timing and things wasn't there as what we hoped. Every game thereafter, it's really progressed very nicely. I think now we're to the point where some of the things we saw in practice are showing up on the field."
Jaguars Wide Receiver Allen Robinson(on the progress of the Jaguars offense):
"By us having a lot of young guys last year I think that really benefitted us coming into this year. We were able to get a lot of reps in last year and get a lot of experience that some guys don't get initially coming into the league. I think for us, it was just by us playing a lot of our young guys last year."