As the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars prepare to square off Sunday in the Sunshine State, who could forget the last time these AFC South Division combatants got together?
Jaguars kicker Jason Myers hasn’t. The Colts undoubtedly remember this one, too.
It isn’t often a kicker has two chances to win a game … and doesn’t. Well, actually, Myers missed three field goals late. Just before his first 53-yard attempt with 6 seconds remaining in regulation fluttered wide right, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano called a timeout.
What was Pagano thinking then?
“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, a ton of ‘Our Fathers,’ a lot of Hail Marys. You dumbass,” Pagano said afterward. “Yeah, that’s what was going through my mind, I’m sure most of my family’s as well. I’m waiting to hear it from them. You guys think you’re tough. Just wait until the car ride home.”
Then Myers missed wide right again.
In overtime, the first-year placekicker was provided another chance to deliver victory. This time, his 48-yard field goal attempt hooked wide left with 8:13 remaining.
The Colts drove down the field. Out trots Adam Vinatieri, the NFL’s greatest pressure kicker, and he makes a 27-yard field goal with 4:36 remaining to end it. It would be an understatement to suggest the Colts, in their first game without quarterback Andrew Luck, were fortunate to walk out of Lucas Oil Stadium on Oct. 4 with a 16-13 overtime win.
“It doesn’t matter if that’s your first or your 21st,” Vinatieri said of the 25th game-winning field goal in the fourth quarter or overtime of his 20-year career. “I try to approach every kick, first quarter or overtime, the same way.”
The Jaguars outgained the Colts 431-326 in total yards. The visitors also enjoyed a plus-2 turnover advantage. Yet they fell to 1-3 while the Colts survived to 2-2.
“I didn’t do my part today,” Myers said, per the Florida Times-Union.
“Unbelievable game to be a part of,” Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said.
“A great team win,” Pagano said.
“Adam is money. He’s clutch. A first-ballot Hall of Famer,” Pagano also said.
Fast forward to the present and both teams are coming off disappointing losses. The Jaguars lost 42-39 at Tennessee to drop to 4-8. The Colts were pounded 45-10 in Pittsburgh in primetime to fall to 6-6.
While the Colts are tied with the Houston Texans for the division lead, the Jaguars need this game to sustain any semblance of a playoff pulse, however bleak those prospects might seem. The reality is, the Jags are just two games behind the Colts. And as everyone has noticed by now, nobody is running away with the division.
Myers is still getting his share of criticism. He’s missed a league-high six extra points. But he’s also hit 15 of his last 16 field goals to boost the season numbers to 22 of 26.
“If it comes down to a field goal, I would love to have that chance, but most important is just us getting a win,” Myers said this week, per the team's web site.
Vinatieri, the NFL’s oldest player at 42, missed his first two attempts to start the season but has made 17 consecutive field goals since, including a 26th career winner in a comeback victory at Atlanta.
Luck is out injured again. That means 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck, who was making his first start of the season against the Jaguars last time, will get his sixth start. He won his first four starts before last Sunday night.
If Colts-Jaguars comes down to a field goal again, the visitors obviously have the utmost confidence in Vinatieri.
“He’s as close to automatic as you can have,” Hasselbeck said.
Added Vinatieri, “I hate watching actually at the end of the game, the other team lining up for a potential game-winner, because I’m helpless at that point.
“Statistically, most of the time, the kicks are good.”
Just not last time for the Jaguars. Not once, but twice.
Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.