The two times a year when the Colts play the Jaguars is always a love/hate relationship for me when it comes to writing this Throwback Thursday piece.
Since, during the season, I always make an attempt (for better or for worse) to do a throwback based on the team the Colts are playing each week. This is the part I hate about the Jaguars. The franchise has only existed for 20 years, and has only been in the Colts division since 2002, so there isn't much history here.
However, back in my younger days, the Jaguars were one of my favorite teams, which was significantly bolstered by their unlikely playoff run in 1996. Once they joined the same division as the Colts that changed. But because of this, I enjoy taking a stroll down memory lane when it comes to the early days of the Jaguars franchise.
And speaking of the early days, we're throwing it back to the very first time the Colts and Jaguars met on the field, which also happened to be the Jaguars first season as an NFL franchise.
It was Week 15 in the 1995 season. The Colts were 7-6 and in the thick of the playoff race, while the expansion Jaguars were sitting at 3-10.
In this game, the Colts would be quarterbacked by Craig Erickson, due to an injury to Jim Harbaugh, while the Jaguars would be quarterbacked by Mark Brunell.
When the game started, it could not have gone any better for the Colts. Aaron Bailey returned the opening kick 95 yards for a touchdown, as the Colts scored the first time they touched the ball.
The first quarter belonged to Bailey, as the Colts got the ball back, after blocking a Jacksonville field goal. Erickson found Bailey for a 14 yard strike to extend the Colts' lead to 14-0.
In the early stages of the second quarter, the Jaguars were able to answer with a six yard touchdown run from James Stewart. However, the Colts answered right back with a one-yard touchdown plunge from Marshall Faulk, giving the good guys their 14 point lead back. The Colts would tack on a field goal from Cary Blanchard in the second quarter as well, giving them a 24-7 lead going into halftime.
Coming out of halftime, there wasn't much action in the third quarter. Mike Hollis added a field goal for the Jaguars, but Blanchard answered right back for the Colts. The Colts still led by 17 going into the final frame.
But the fourth quarter saw points on points get scored, as the teams traded scores on every possession.
Brunell got the scoring started when he found Willie Jackson on a 15 yard pass, cutting the Colts lead down to 10. Not to be outdone, though, Erickson found his tight end Ken Dilger for a 16 yard score to get the lead back up to 17.
The Jaguars weren't done as on the ensuing drive Brunell connected with Jimmy Smith to again pull the Jaguars within 10 points of the Colts. And again, the Colts countered with a score of their own when Lamont Warren found the endzone from two yards out.
On their final possession, the Jaguars again found the end zone when Brunell hit Jackson with a seven yard score, yet again bringing Jacksonville within 10. That would prove to be the final score of the game, though, with the Colts winning the 41-31 shootout.
If you just looked at the stats, you would think the Jaguars dominated the game. Jacksonville had 27 first downs, while the Colts tallied 15. The Colts ran the ball 35 times for only 91 yards (and two scores) as Jacksonville ran only 25 times, but rolled up 126 yards (and a touchdown).
Passing the ball was even more lopsided. Brunell finished 26-39 for 312 yards and three scores (plus a pick). Erickson only threw the ball 16 times, completing 9, for 129 yards and two scores. In total yards, the Jaguars tallied 424 while the Colts only had 219. And in case you were wondering, the Colts also rolled up 20 more penalty yards than Jacksonville as well.
The big difference that swung in the Colts favor (other than that kick return) was turnovers. Jacksonville turned the ball over twice, while the Colts didn't.
It was definitely a game where the stats didn't quite tell the whole story.
In the final two games of the season, each team went 1-1. The Jaguars would knock of the old Cleveland Browns (in their final game before moving to Baltimore) to finish their first year 4-12. The Colts would finish 9-7 and advance to the playoffs where they made an improbable run to the AFC Championship Game (a run Jacksonville would near replicate the next year).
The teams wouldn't meet again until 2000. The Jaguars didn't tally their first win in the series until 2003, and (in present day) haven't won against the Colts since 2012. The Colts hold a 20-8 record over their AFC South rivals.
And on Sunday, a rivalry is renewed for another season.