Stampede Blue writer Dan Dietz (aka, nopuntintended) wrote this morning about this Colts team answering 'a call to arms.' The call was to play with passion; to play with purpose. Well, today this Colts team answered such a call.
In a game littered with big plays and a playoff type atmosphere, it was the Colts that were able to 1) run the football, and 2) shutdown their opponent's running game.
All year long, we've been waiting for a game like this; where all the elements come together and we finally start seeing the team we expected to see way back in Week One. No one player epitomized that today than Donald Brown, who broke two runs over 40 yards, included a 43-yard TD run that looked as if Peyton Manning loaded him into a cannon and blasted him at the Jags defense. We also saw just how awesome this offense is when Austin Collie plays. The kid had 8 catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns, murdering the Jags secondary up the seam all day long.
The only negative of the game was Collie, once again, sustained a concussion. The hit was clean, and the fault on the play is squarely on Peyton Manning, and he knows it. Manning tried to fit a ball in between three defenders. Collie got to it, and was lit up by the safety. After the play, Peyton was visibly frustrated, seemingly with himself. Here's to hoping Austin is OK (he was alert on the sidelines afterward, but in street clothes).
When all is said and done, probably the real reason the Colts won this game was their defense. They held the Jags to 62 yards rushing (3 yards a carry), and forced David Garrard into a costly interception in the second half. The game was capped by the Colts special teams redeeming themselves. Late in the fourth, Josh Scobee attempted an onside kick, but did such a poor job that Colts linebacker Tyjuan Hagler (who had 5 solo tackles on the day) scooped it up and ran it into for a TD.
Give credit to the Jags for fighting back, but this was a VERY impressive win for the Colts. At 8-6, they now sit a top the AFC South. However, they are, by no means, out of the woods. Prior to today, they weren't even in the playoff picture. Now, they have their foot in the door. Next week, a win opens the door. The week after that, they walk through it.