The Indianapolis Colts today won their regular season finale in thrilling fashion, as Andrew Luck hit Jack Doyle for the score with nine seconds left to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20 and improve to 8-8 on the year for the second-straight season.
The first half was an absolutely terrible performance by the Colts, as they were absolutely outplayed in every area. The Jaguars racked up 320 yards and 17 points while averaging 8.2 yards per play, while the Colts racked up just 105 yards and 3 points while averaging 3.5 yards per play. The Colts started the game with four straight three and outs, and in another situation they got the ball at the Jaguars’ 22 yard line and came away with no points after losing yards.
It was a terrible performance, but like everyone should have expected, the Colts made a comeback in the second half. Robert Turbin rushed for a seven-yard score to cap off an 83-yard drive, and then on the next drive the Colts went 89 yards and capped it off with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Luck to Dwayne Allen.
And then, after a Jaguars missed field goal in a tie game with a couple of minutes left, the Colts gave up two sacks in three plays, bringing up a punt. That punt was blocked, and the Jaguars recovered deep in Colts territory. The Colts forced a field goal and the Jaguars took the lead, but Chuck Pagano took his timeouts and the Colts had plenty of time left to move quickly down the field. Andrew Luck made incredibly quick work of the Jaguars and had the Colts down the field in no time, putting them in field goal range. The Colts then got down to the one yard line, and Luck hit Jack Doyle for a one-yard score for the win with nine seconds left. It was a heck of a drive by Andrew Luck, and it gave the Colts a win to get to 8-8 on the year. On that final drive, Luck was 6-for-6 (not including spikes) for 70 yards and a touchdown, plus he caught a Jaguars defender offsides.
The biggest highlights from this otherwise meaningless game were more on an individual basis:
Frank Gore topped the 1,000 yard mark on the season, becoming the first Colts back to reach that mark since Joseph Addai in 2007 and becoming the oldest player to hit the milestone since John Riggins in 1984. He finished the day by rushing for 62 yards on 16 carries.
Andrew Luck topped the 4,000 yard passing mark on the season for the third time in his career, reached the 30 touchdown mark for the second time, and extended his league-leading streak with his 23rd-straight game with a passing touchdown. He also recorded a 300-yard passing day, tying Johnny Unitas for the second-most such games in Colts history. On the day, Luck completed 24 of 40 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
T.Y. Hilton had a nice day to add to his tremendous season, hopefully putting enough distance between himself and the others throughout the league as he’s trying to finish as the NFL’s leader in receiving yards this year. He caught six passes for 95 yards.
Robert Mathis recorded a strip-sack in his final NFL game, extending his NFL record with his 47th strip-sack and passing Dwight Freeney (at least for the time being) on the NFL’s all-time sack list as he moves into 17th place.
Bill Polian took his rightful place in the Colts’ Ring of Honor in a halftime ceremony in which Jim Irsay called him “the best talent evaluator... in the history of the NFL.”
And Chuck Pagano
won his final game as Colts head coach ... wait, nevermind. Maybe.
Ultimately, today’s result shouldn’t impact what Jim Irsay decides to do with this team, because if the previous 15 games (and really the previous five years) haven’t been enough, there’s no reason why this meaningless game between two bad teams would sway things. Now, we just wait and see whether the Colts will really make any changes or not.