Colts Stuff Jaguars 29-7

The defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts made a statement on Monday Night Football as they dominated the upstart Jacksonville Jaguars, 29-7, in a battle for first place in the AFC South. Indianapolis dominated the game on offense and defense, en route to a 384-226 advantage in total yards, while forcing three Jacksonville turnovers and a safety.

For the Jaguars, the lopsided final score didn't accurately reflect how bad this game was. While trailing 7-0 early in second quarter, Jaguars quarterback David Garrard was sacked which caused an injury to his ankle. Garrard tried to return for one series, but couldn't move well enough to play. At this point, it is likely that Garrard will miss at least two weeks of action.

Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio commented about the injury--

"I would think it's most likely he'll miss some time. He tweaked it pretty good. It's in the ankle. He got a pretty good sprain in there."

Jaguars quarterback David Garrard described his injury--

"When he hit me, I didn't think it was that bad a deal. It really didn't hurt, but on the way back to the huddle, I could just feel it give way. I really couldn't put any pressure on it. In 21 years of playing football, I've never been injured like that before, so it was something new to me to not be able to continue playing. It was definitely a hard pill to swallow, but I heal fast and I'll be back as soon as possible."

When Garrard went down, the Jaguars turned to inexperienced backup quarterback Quinn Gray, who couldn't do much to keep the Jacksonville offense on the field. Gray was 9/24 passing, for 56 yards and two interceptions. Gray made bad throw after bad throw, and when the Jaguars got down by more than one score, it appeared as if the Colts put the game was on ice.

Whereas the Jaguars were at a major disadvantage without their starting quarterback, Indianapolis played terrific on both sides of the ball. Colts quarterback Peyton Manning ran the Indy offense like an absolute technician as he completed 23 of 37 passes for 259 yards, while throwing for one touchdown and running for another. Wide receiver Reggie Wayne caught nine passes for 131 yards, and tight end Dallas Clark had four receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown.

The Colts beat the Jaguars at their own game by out-rushing them 141-113, and dominating time of possession 34:07-25:53. Indianapolis was the more physical team all night long led by strong safety Bob Sanders, who had four tackles and an interception, including a key fourth-down stop in the second quarter when the game was still close.

Bob Sanders was asked about the differences between this Colts team and the one that allowed 375 yards to the Jaguars last year--

"I think we're a little more physical and a lot faster."

To add more injury to insult, Jaguars star running back Maurice Jones-Drew hurt his left knee with less than two minutes remaining in the game when the Jaguars were trying to get what would have been a meaningless final score. Jones-Drew's injury is officially listed as a sprain, and further tests will determine the severity of the injury. Jones-Drew led the Jaguars with 197 all-purpose yards and their only touchdown of the game.

The Jaguars must now go into regroup mode while they are on the road for the next three weeks, starting in Tampa Bay next Sunday. It appears as if the team will not have their starting quarterback, and if the 4-2 Jaguars are going to stay in the playoff race, they'll have to play great defense and special teams to take pressure off the inexperienced Quinn Gray, who will likely be the team's interim starter.



Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Jagnation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, and Sportsillustated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer.

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