I think I could end this article with that statement, and it would say all it needs to.
If I told you, going into the game, that the Colts would score a defensive touchdown, have two takeaways, hold the Jaguars to 2-9 on third down, and keep Blake Bortles under 300 yards passing; I would have assumed the Colts would win in a blowout.
Not the case. I'll go on record saying that this was the worst performance I've seen from the Colts since the 62-7 debacle in New Orleans in the 2011 season. After a blowout loss to Pittsburgh, most of us here at Stampede Blue kept fairly calm. A loss in Pittsburgh was expected by most of us when the season began.
A 51-16 loss to the Jaguars though? The Colts still control their own destiny (I hate that phrase), which means the sky isn't falling yet. But it's close.
Ok, I guess I'll move on to some awards.
MVP - T.Y. Hilton
Hilton was probably the least bad player on the field for the Colts. The receiver hauled in four catches for 132 yards and seemed to provide a minor spark whenever he touched the ball.
Unfortunately, he only touched the ball four times.
On the second play of the game (for the Colts offense), Hilton beat his defender, then adjusted to an underthrown pass for a brilliant 57 yard gain.
He would come down with a pretty catch and run later, but the Colts never really got Hilton terribly involved. Part of that has to do with the pressure and poor play of Matt Hasselbeck to be sure. However, Hilton was having success against the Jaguars defense, but just didn't see as much action as I thought he should have.
Turning Point Award - Strip, Sack, Score
The Colts had just gone up 10 on a fumbled Bortles snap (I blame Bortles for the play). Then they forced another Bortles fumble to get the ball deep in Jaguars territory.
The Colts had a chance to go up 13, maybe 17, going into halftime and would get the ball to start the second half. In essence, the Colts had a chance to effectively end the game. Instead, Hasselbeck was hit, he fumbled, and the Jaguars scored.
The Colts proceeded to go three and out to start the second half, and the Jaguars never looked back. From there it was a dominant performance by the Jaguars, and an atrocious one from the Colts.
Warrior Award - Matt Hasselbeck
Yes, he played poorly in the game. But let's give some credit to Hasselbeck.
He's kept the ship from completely sinking without Andrew Luck, and has taken a beating while doing it. In the last two games in particular, Hasselbeck has taken lots of hits, and has somehow kept coming back for more.
A rib injury knocked him out of the contest for good against Jacksonville, but there's no questioning Hasselbeck's toughness.
Forgotten Award - Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, and Andre Johnson
Many, including myself, questioned the wisdom of Ryan Grigson when he drafted Fleener and Allen back to back. Then the Colts utilized both tight ends immensely well in the last three seasons (when they have been healthy).
The signing of Andre Johnson was universally praised this off-season, but he has been a disaster this year.
I can understand the phasing out of Johnson in the offense. But the phasing out of Fleener and Allen makes zero sense to me. Fleener is just about the definition of a conservative receiver, and Allen is by far the superior of the two when he is healthy, which he is this season.
Combined, Fleener and Allen have 59 catches and 3 touchdowns. Are you kidding? Last season the two combined for 80 catches, over 1,000 yards, and 16 touchdowns. Yesterday, those two combined for 3 catches for 3 yards.
Now to be even more disappointing let's add Johnson into this. Combined, Johnson, Fleener, and Allen have 90 catches and six touchdowns. That's it. That's terrible.
Like I said, I understand underutilizing Johnson at this point. But with a back-up QB and conservative play-calling, tight ends should be an offense's best friend. Not this year, apparently.
Poor Comparison Award - Chuck Pagano
Full-disclosure. When the score was 44-16 yesterday, I tweeted that in 2006, the Colts went to Jacksonville in Week 14 and lost 44-17. It was meant more to point out a coincidence more than anything else.
I also tweeted a simple "Nevermind" once the Jaguars hung 51 on Indy.
Of course, then Pagano goes rambling the same thing after the game. Josh (and others) have already noted the absurdity of comparing these Colts with the 2006 edition. I just had to give it a mention here as well.
LVP - The entire team
Yup, this one goes out to the whole Colts team. The players, coaches, and front office all get this one.
In all of my pre-season predictions, I had the Colts dropping a divisional game this year. I think most of the time I had it against Tennessee, though (that could very well still happen). Losing a division game is fine, after winning 16 straight you almost wait for it to happen. To lose like this, though? Yikes.
The kicker, though, is how this impacted the playoff race. A win yesterday would have eliminated the Jaguars from contention. A win coupled with a Texans loss (which happened) would have allowed the Colts to clinch the AFC South with a win next week.
Now, the Colts need two wins, and of those absolutely must come against Houston.
It was a bad, bad performance from a team that almost looked like it had quit late in the game. I don't think I can say enough words for how bad it was. You will read a lot of commentary about how the Colts need to clean house (I read that on the Star already). I'm not to that point just yet. Another ugly loss at home to Houston could get me there, though.
Well that was a lot of negativity for a snowy (at least in Iowa) Monday morning. Yet, the Colts are still leading the AFC South. The Colts still control their own destiny for the playoffs. And they don't play a team with a winning record the rest of the way (not that it's a comfort at this point). At the very least, it will be a fun, if no stressful, last three weeks.
Oh, and it's Star Wars Week. So we've got that going for us at least!