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3 takeaways from Colts disappointing shutout loss to the Jaguars

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts had their hands full with their AFC South counterpart Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite their respective records, this matchup has become much more competitive over the past few years.

The early portion of this game showed that this one can stay close, and that the Colts offense can be stalled through several drives. In this one, which is going to need to be looked at by the Colts coaching staff, they were shut down for the entire day.

This one hurts as the Colts had a chance to rise to 7-5 and remain solid in the hunt in the AFC Wild Card picture. Dropping back to .500 makes the Colts’ road to that end increasingly more difficult now.

Colts offense did not have a good day today

Most of the first half and well into the second half, the Colts looked very similar to how they played in the second half of their first meeting in Week 10 against the Jaguars. The offensive line wasn’t great, Andrew Luck wasn’t able to get into a rhythm, there were some drops and the Jaguars defense played a large role in that as well.

The Jaguars’ front-seven was able to get pressure on Luck early and often, the Jaguars’ secondary was playing some really tight coverage throughout the game, and Luck just made a couple bad decisions as well. Luck was sacked 3 times (hit 9 times) — another was negated by penalty — but the Jaguars forced pressure on him consistently throughout the day.

Luck took several hits, and today — unlike recent weeks — he wasn’t able to climb the pocket as often and was forced to escape to either side making downfield throws increasingly difficult. Luck finished with 248 passing yards, but averaged only 4.8 yards per attempt as he was forced to hit on underneath throws for the vast majority of the afternoon.

luck didn’t throw for a single touchdown, and had 1 interception as well. Having some struggles is one thing. Getting shut out for the game with Luck under center is a whole other issue. And it IS an issue.

Colts running game hit the skids again

In their last meeting, the Colts amassed only 81 yards on the ground. Today, they were held to less than 30 rushing yards through three quarters, and in the end — despite more carries in the fourth quarter — only 30 rushing yards on the game.

The Colts didn’t stay with the running game quite like they have recently either, and in a very close game it likely means that Frank Reich didn’t have a ton of faith in that aspect of the offense against the Jaguars’ run defense. Reich did sprinkle some runs in, but they were only able to accrue 2 yards per carry on the day.

That’s not going to cut it.

Marlon Mack didn’t see a single carry in the final quarter of the game, and they didn’t even use him much to offset Jacksonville’s approach to stopping the Colts offense. After nearly 450 combined rushing yards in Weeks 7-8, the Colts’ best output has been their 118-yard effort in Week 12 against the Dolphins. The Colts must be better going forward.

The defense did enough to win, again

Once again, the Colts defense was able to force a turnover, was able to force some pressure on the quarterback, didn’t give up any big plays and held the Jaguars’ running game under 3 yards per carry. Those are all aspects of the game that should be enough for this offense to do its work of putting points up on the board.

They allowed only 6 points, Denico Autry sacked Kessler three times while the team accumulated 7 hits, but they weren’t able to break up many passes today and that might be their only downfall. Maybe they should have switched things up a bit more against a quarterback who hasn’t started this season and hadn’t won a game in his career.

The Colts were, again, solid in stopping the opposition behind the line of scrimmage with 7 tackles for loss, and were effective enough for the Colts to find a way to win today. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.