Impressive. That’s what tonight’s win over the division rival Jacksonville Jaguars was. Going on the road with a young team on a short week – and winning convincingly? That’s impressive.
Yeah, we saw tonight how bad Jacksonville is. But remember, this is the team that beat the Colts in week 3. Beating a division opponent who was going for the sweep? Impressive.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the game tonight, however, is that it was the best these Colts have played as a team. Luck was good – 18/26 for 227 yards, a pick and 2 rushing touchdowns. Once again, he had a few drops as well. The fact that this game was considered to be just an "ok" game from the rookie quarterback should scare the crap out of the rest of the league. This guy, playing in just his 9th game, rushed for 2 scores, commanded the offense, threw for 227 yards and still it was just an average game. Watch out, NFL.
But tonight, for maybe the first time this year, this game was about much, much more than Luck. The Colts rushed for 138 yards on 37 carries, an average of 3.7 yards per carry. In fact, this was only the second time this year in which the Colts have run the ball more than they have thrown it. It was also only the second time this year that Luck had less than 30 attempts in a game (they were the same two games in which there were more runs than passes).
defense held the Jaguars to just 10 points, notched 4 sacks, 2 picks, a fumble recovery, and a touchdown. Darius Butler accounted for all three takeaways, and of the four sacks, three of them came from defensive backs.
The special teams played very well also. Adam Vinatieri was a perfect 2/2 on field goals, including a 41-yarder. Pat McAfee punted very well tonight, averaging 45 yards per punt and pinning two of his three punts inside the 20 yard line.
Bruce Arians was a perfect 2/2 on challenges, and while I questioned some of the play calls (I will mention it a little later), the job he and the rest of the staff has done week in and week out has been very impressive. To have this team ready for this game that could easily have become a "trap game" is to be commended.
Bottom line is that the Colts put together two complete halves tonight, something they have struggled to do this season. Sure, the Jaguars are really bad, but remember – they beat the Colts earlier this year. And the Colts need to beat the teams that they are supposed to beat. If they can just do that, they will walk into the playoffs. They don’t need to pull any upsets, they just need to win the games they are supposed to (I wouldn’t be against pulling an upset or two, though). If they do that, they are in. And tonight, they did just that. They have now won four in a row and five out of the last six, on their way to a 6-3 record.
Below are some notes from the first primetime game of the Andrew Luck era: