There was plenty of talk last week about Jacksonville's rushing attack and how they had embarrassed the Indianapolis Colts with 375 yards on the ground last year. But the Colts defense was the dominant force on the field on Monday night as Indy posted a 29-7 win over the Jaguars.
"Don't expect what happened last year to happen this Monday night,
because there's definitely going to be a change of plans right now."
That's what strongside linebacker Tyjuan Hagler said as we wrapped up our interview this past week leading up to the Colts big matchup against the
Jacksonville Jaguars, who had rushed for 375 yards against the Colts last
And he was right. In addition to walking away with a 29-7 victory, the AFC
South-leading Colts completed a clean-sweep of away games against their three
division opponents with their convincing win in Jackonville on Monday night.
The Indianapolis defense descended upon the Jaguars with a disciplined fury,
staying on assignment and leveling blows on ball carriers throughout the
matchup. Later this week, after watching the game film and what the Colts
did on Monday night to them in front of a national audience, it's not likely that the
word "finesse" will come out of the mouths of the Jacksonville players
in the near future when discussing their division arch rivals.
The Colts are now 6-0 as they prepare for a matchup this Sunday against the
4-2 Carolina Panthers.
Dwight Freeney scored a safety for the team with a blindside sack of backup quarterback Quinn Gray
in the Jacksonville end zone. That was the Colts' first safety since the
2000 season and just the 26th in the franchise's history. Defensive end Chad Bratzke was the last Colt to perform the rare feat. In addition to the
safety, Freeney had two sacks, two quarterback hits and two forced fumbles.
While some wondered how Joseph Addai would do after just coming off a
shoulder injury and facing a strong Jacksonville run defense, he answered
the challenge well. Averaging 5.3 yards per carry, Addai ran for 85 yards
and tacked on another 22 yards on four catches. Kenton Keith rushed for 56
yards on 15 carries (3.7 avg.) and caught two passes for 16 yards.
The Jaguars kept wide receiver Marvin Harrison in check with just three
catches for 16 yards, but the heavy coverage he was drawing helped open
opportunities for Reggie Wayne who caught nine passes for 131 yards. Both
figures are season-highs for Wayne, who has nine or more catches in just
eight games since breaking into the league as a rookie back in 1991. He now
has 18 career 100-plus-yard receiving games, but his 131 yards against the
Jaguars is his fifth-highest single-game performance of his pro career. His
all-time high is 184 yards set back in September, 2004 against the Green Bay Packers.
The Colts held the Jacksonville offense to 117 yards on the ground, which
based on the number of carries the Jaguars had, actually matched up evenly
to Indianapolis' 4.3 yards per carry. It appears the Jaguars tried to
outsmart themselves a bit, coming out of the gates throwing the ball in
hopes of surprising the Colts rather than just digging in and seeing if they
could overpower Indy's defense with their rushing attack. Fred Taylor had 55
yards on 11 carries (5.0 avg.) while Maurice Jones-Drew posted 52 more on 13
carries (4.0 avg.). The longest run of the night was a 17-yard breakout by
Dallas Clark congratulated by Ryan Lilja
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Tight end Dallas Clark is having the best season of his career, and the
timing is a good-news, bad-news situation for the Colts. The good news is
he's become a major contributor to the Colts success, the bad news is he's
an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Clark caught 6 balls
for 44 yards and a touchdown, pushing his season totals to 30 catches for
366 yards and 6 touchdowns. He's just one-yard short of his 2006 season
total of 367 -- and he's only got six games under his belt. His career-high
is 488 yards set back in 2005, and he's just eight catches short of setting
a career-high in receptions. Clark's six touchdown catches is already a
career-best for a single season.
Quarterback Peyton Manning threw for 259 yards (23-37), tossed one
touchdown pass and was intercepted once. And after being sacked just three
times total over the first five games, he was sacked twice by the Jaguars.
Dating back to the season-opener in 2006, Manning has been sacked just 19
times and has thrown just 12 interceptions during the last 22 regular-season
Bob Sanders and Kelvin Hayden pulled in the first two interceptions
yielded by Jacksonville's offense this season, but they weren't off of
starter David Garrard, who was knocked out of the game due to an ankle
injury he suffered while being sacked by rookie defensive tackle Ed Johnson.
Backup Quinn Gray threw the interceptions, Sanders' third of his career and
Hayden's first regular season pick. The sack by Johnson was the first of his
pro career in regular season action. He was also credited with a quarterback
hit during the game.
Hunter Smith played an important role in the Colts' victory, dropping two
of his three punts inside the Jacksonville 20-yard line. He's placed five of
his 16 punts this season inside the opponent's 20-yard line.
The Jaguars tried to convert six fourth-down opportunities, including some
situations where they could have tried a long field goal if they had a
kicker with a stronger leg than veteran John Carney, who provides them with
accuracy when kicking under 40 yards (7-7), but he missed both of his
opportunities so far this season of 40 or longer. It makes you wonder why
they didn't sign former Colts kicker Shane Andrus, who has a cannon of a
foot and could be just as reliable inside the 40. The Jaguars punted just
once all night.
Jaguars wide receiver Ernest Wolford was the only Jacksonville receiver to
end the night with more than 25 yards of receiving as the Colts did a
tremendous job of blanketing the receivers and keeping them in front of
them. Wilford had 6 catches for 53 yards. Greg Estandia had the only catch
of more than 20 yards, his sole reception of the night which went for 22
yards. The Jaguars' top receiver, Dennis Northcutt, was held to three
catches for 20 yards.
Both teams played a very clean game with the Colts being flagged four
times for 27 yards while the Jaguars drew just two penalties for 20 yards.
Kelvin Hayden was called for pass interference (7 yards), Ben Utecht for a
false start (5 yards), and Ryan Diem drew two flags for holding and a false
start (15 yards total). All four of the Colts penalties were committed in
the first half.
Jacksonville managed to put together two long drives, but only one
resulted in points for them. A 10-play drive after a big kickoff return by
Maurice Jones-Drew covered 40 yards and resulted in their only touchdown. On
their final possession of the night, they strung together 17 plays covering
45 yards before fumbling the ball away at the Indy 10-yard line. Dwight Freeney forced the fumble, his second of the game, which was recovered by
Kelvin Hayden led the team in tackles with eight, although many of
those came in pass coverage. He had a busy night, defending four passes and
intercepting one. Linebacker Freddy Keiaho, still wearing a brace for
his dislocated elbow, was next with seven tackles while the team's new
starter at strongside linebacker, Tyjuan Hagler, tied with safety Antoine Bethea with six tackles. Former Colt linebacker Mike Peterson led the
Jaguars in tackles with nine.
Darrell Reid led the team with two special teams tackles. Tim Jennings,
Clint Session, Luke Lawton and Rocky Boiman were all credited with one each.
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