What We Learned: Colts vs. Jaguars

Greg Talmage shares what we learned from watching the Colts defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 28-25, in a key AFC South battle Sunday.

1. The Colts are still the class of the AFC South:

With the win Sunday, the Colts basically hold a three-game lead in the division with four games left to play. It looks like Indianapolis is virtually a shoo-in for their fifth consecutive AFC South championship.

The Colts' offensive performance on third down was the most impressive part of Sunday's win. Indianapolis converted 10 of their 13 third-down plays. QB Peyton Manning completed 8-of-10 third-down passes for 145 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, for an efficiency rating of 118.6. The Colts totaled 156 yards on third down — 45.6 percent of their total output.

Not since Oct. 24, 2004, has Jacksonville led the division outright after the first month of the season. Since the 2002 realignment that created the AFC South, the Colts have led the division or been tied for the division lead in 91 of 98 weeks. Those are some impressive numbers, especially this season, when the division is arguably the NFL's best.

2. The Colts missed Raheem Brock:
Raheem Brock left the game with a rib injury, which affected the Colts' defensive line in an adverse way. One reason was that it took a man out of the rotation, causing each lineman to pick up the slack and play more snaps than usual.

The Colts also missed Raheem's versatility. He can play both DE and DT and pressure the quarterback from both spots.

The Colts will know the full extent of Brock's rib injury later in the week. If Brock can't go, Keyunta Dawson will likely get the start. The Colts' defense is predicated on the front four getting pressure. If that's not happening, then it puts extra pressure on the zone coverage of the Colts' corners, especially against a disciplined quarterback.

Marvin Harrison
Bob Levey/Getty Images

3. Marvin Harrison may not play until the playoffs:

Most of us suspected this given the talk out of Indianapolis last week. Now, though, it appears all but certain. How else do you interpret this quote from coach Tony Dungy? "When Marvin's back and our doctors feel like he can practice, play and have a good chance to play the next week, that's when he's going to play," Dungy said. "If games were do-or-die, he'd be playing. We want to win these next four, but I don't think they'll be do-or-die games."

So if these next four aren't do or die, then I guess that means no Marvin?

4. Garrard is a Talent:

All the postgame whining and complaining aside, the fact is that Jacksonville is a very good football team, with the skill and talent to do some damage in the playoffs. One particular bright spot is the play and development of their quarterback.

David Garrard has a live arm, excellent pocket presence, makes few mistakes and is coachable. Which divisional QB should Colts' fans fear more in the future: Garrard or Vince Young? Young has more overall talent and natural ability, but Garrard looks like he could end up being a more developed NFL quarterback.

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