Andrew Luck says he buys into the importance of short-term memory.
That applies equally, the Indianapolis Colts quarterback contends, to a 42-20 home loss to New England last Sunday or a 44-17 win at Jacksonville in Week 3.
The Colts (6-4) have a 10-game AFC South Division winning streak entering Sunday’s game against the Jaguars (1-9) at Lucas Oil Stadium.
While Luck’s team is smarting from the Patriots beatdown, he insists the humbling loss was put in the past as soon as the Colts watched film and fixed mistakes in Monday’s practice. Just because the Colts have owned the AFC South lately doesn’t mean the next game is a lock against a struggling opponent.
“You realize you’ve got to have a short memory for good or bad in this league,” Luck said Wednesday, “because you can be humbled real quick.”
That the Colts were by New England. Instead of pulling even with the Patriots (8-2) in the AFC playoff race for a top seed, they’re realistically relegated to vying for a No. 2 seed. And even then, that’s probably a long shot because Denver (7-3) has the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Colts.
The Colts own the league’s longest division winning streak. Their last AFC South loss was 29-17 at Houston on Dec. 16, 2012.
They’ve defeated Jacksonville the last four meetings. When trying to regroup, who better to do it against than the Jaguars?
Players can’t think that way, of course, which is why Luck gives props to what he describes as a strong Jaguars defense that plays hard and contests every snap. He suggests Sunday will be a “dog fight.”
Statistics suggest otherwise. Jacksonville is ranked 31st in points allowed and 29th in total yards allowed. The Colts are still No. 1 in total offense and passing yards as well as third in points scored.
The NFL’s leading passer with 3,388 yards was asked if he learns more from a bad loss or a good win?
“That’s tough,” he said. “I think you try to learn from both. You really do. Obviously the bad ones sting more, maybe gives you a little bit more impetus to get out there. I think this team has the right mind-set that no matter what happened last week, you’re on to a new week. You’ve got to got to go out and try to win.”
If indeed there’s any truth to the theory that bad losses can linger and teams can experience a hangover effect, the Colts might not find it so easy against the Jaguars the second time around. But if it’s true that Luck’s team can quickly move on from such an ugly setback and focus on the task ahead with added motivation to rebound, then the Jaguars likely don’t have much of a shot at an upset.
The Jaguars are coming off a bye week, the third straight Colts opponent to have that extra time off to prepare.
Oddsmakers have established the Colts as 15-point favorites.
“What you’ve done in the past, it has no bearing on this game here,” Luck said.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.