Week 14 Game Recap: Indianapolis Colts 26, Jacksonville Jaguars 18
What you need to know
The Colts played a very good game, and controlled the game until a late rally by Jacksonville in the fourth quarter made the game competitive at the end. Indianapolis was very efficient on offense, and even added to their usual creative offensive approach. During the second quarter, they lined up for a field goal attempt, but instead the holder attempted a pass to the long snapper, Justin Snow, however the pass fell incomplete. Peyton Manning played very well. Despite being sacked three times in the first half, Manning maintained his poise and threw very effectively, completing 24 of 36 passes for 324 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. Manning relied heavily on his two starting wide receivers, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, along with running back Edgerrin James, and utilized them on a variety of routes. He threw with confidence, and was accurate on his throws. Some of his incompletions were as a result of tipped balls by Jacksonville’s defenders.
Marvin Harrison had an outstanding game, and showed why he is considered one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. He was targeted ten times, and finished with six receptions for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Harrison was matched up against Jaguar cornerback Rashean Mathis for a large part of the game, and on several occasions made some brilliant moves to get himself open against Mathis. He could have had a third touchdown, but Manning overthrew him on a pass play where he was open, and had he been able to catch the ball, would have been in the end zone.
Edgerrin James played a very complete, tough game. He gained 93 yards, but it took him 30 carries to get them, and he earned all of them, running hard against a very determined Jaguars defense. James was also featured a lot in the passing game, converting all nine of his targets into receptions, and amassing 61 yards receiving. James was given the ball on a first and goal play from the three yard line, but was stopped for a loss. Indianapolis went to the passing game on the next two plays in an attempt to score. The Colts did not have any other goal line scoring opportunities, but still found multiple ways to keep James productive in this game, and he responded favorably.
The Colts started strong, and scored two touchdowns early in the game. While they did not score a touchdown for the remainder of the game, they moved the ball well, and ended subsequent drives with field goals. They kept running the ball, even though Jacksonville’s defense only allowed one run of 20 yards or more. Indianapolis did not involve as many players on offense as they do most of the time, as James was the only running back who had any carries, and Harrison, Reggie Wayne and James caught 19 of Manning’s 24 completions. They did however, utilize these players in a variety of ways in the passing game, and as a result had another successful offensive game.
Jacksonville began slowly and fell behind early in the game. They were able to rally late from a 26 to three deficit in the fourth quarter to make the game more competitive. David Garrard was instrumental in helping the Jaguars rally, as he subbed for the injured Byron Leftwich, who did not play. Like the team, Garrard began slowly, and seemed out of sync with his receivers. He did rally in the fourth quarter, and passed for over 150 yards in that quarter alone. Garrard finished with 250 yards passing with 26 completions in 35 attempts, with one touchdown passing and another touchdown rushing. He also ran for 19 yards, including a two point conversion in addition to his rushing touchdown. After his spotty play for most of the first three quarters, where he missed open receivers, Garrard got into a rhythm with his receivers and spread the ball around to many of them, although he did target Jimmy Smith the most.
Jimmy Smith played very well. He had most of his yards in the fourth quarter, when Jacksonville was using the passing game exclusively and again showed his versatility. He got open on the shorter as well as deeper routes, and did a nice job of adjusting to the ball in the air and keeping his feet inbounds as he caught a one yard lob pass to the side of the end zone for a touchdown. Smith continued to play at a high level in this game, and caught eight passes on nine targets for 102 yards.
Fred Taylor returned from injury, but was unable to get the running game going. Taylor had just ten carries for 19 yards, and was stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage on the majority of his rushing attempts. Greg Jones ran effectively, but only had seven rushing attempts, as the Jaguars were forced to go to their passing game in the fourth quarter. Jones finished with 43 yards rushing, and added an element of elusiveness to the power running he usually displays when called upon.
After scoring to make the score 26-10, Jacksonville recovered an onside kick, and converted that possession into another score. That closed the gap to 26-18, but Indianapolis was able to hold on and win the game. This exemplified the determination the Jaguars displayed throughout this game. They never gave up, and kept trying to find ways to get back in the game. When Jacksonville had opportunities inside the ten yard line, they attempted to score in a variety of ways. They ran Taylor, threw passes to Ernest Wilford and Jimmy Smith, and ran Garrard. Garrard was stopped at the one yard line on one of his rushing attempts, and scored on a five yard run in which he broke several tackles before pushing his way into the end zone.
What you ought to know
|QB Peyton Manning, Pass: 24 - 36 - 324 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 6 - 0|
Manning displayed many of the attributes that make him the quarterback he is. He made adjustments throughout the game that seemed to result in him finding the open receiver most of the time. He was aggressive and went after the Jaguars when he saw an opening, and took the shorter throws when there was no one open deep. In this game, Manning relied heavily on his big three offensive players, Harrison, Wayne and James. He only threw six of his 36 pass attempts to players other than those three. He sealed the game on a third and long play with less than two minutes remaining, when he threw a pass in the face of an onrushing lineman, and completed it for a 12 yard gain for a first down. Manning again displayed a knack for making the right decisions, and being able to make any throw to any part of the field. He played a very good game.
James had a solid, complete game. Apart from one 20 yard run, he was unable to break free from Jacksonville’s defense, but he kept running hard right at the Jaguars’ defenders. He was very effective in the passing game, and was used on a variety of screen plays very effectively.
Harrison played very well. He was up to the challenge of facing top cornerback Rashean Mathis, and was able to get open several times, using a combination of moves, route running and speed to do so. Harrison and Manning were on the same page throughout this game, and as a result, he had outstanding numbers.
Wayne also had a good game. He too was able to get open several times, and showed some nice moves after he caught a couple of passes. Wayne was utilized mostly on sideline routes, and was able to get open most of the time. He showed a willingness to run into the middle of the field after catching the ball.
Stokley was not a factor, and only had one ball thrown to him, which fell incomplete.
When he was thrown the ball, Fletcher was productive, averaging just over ten yards per reception.
Clark was not targeted until the second half, but made the most of his second target, catching a pass for a first down that sealed the game for the Colts.
Vanderjagt hit both of his extra point attempts, and all four of his field goal attempts, which were from 40, 34, 38 and 46 yards.
The Colts were good against the run. They stopped Fred Taylor several times behind the line of scrimmage, and held him to less than 2.0 yards rushing per carry. His backup, Greg Jones was more successful as he had a couple of runs that boosted his total to 43 yards in seven attempts. The Colts run defenders did allow the Jaguars’ quarterback to run up the middle for a five yard score as well as a two yard run up the middle for a two point conversion.
The Colts pass defense was aggressive and kept Garrard off balance for most of the game, until the fourth quarter. Although they did not record any sacks against Garrard, the Colts defenders forced him to rush several of this throws, and use his athleticism to escape the rush and try to make some plays on the run. They did, however, allow him time to sit in the pocket and pick their secondary apart in the fourth quarter, though some of this was attributable to them protecting a big lead and being less aggressive.
|QB David Garrard, Pass: 26 - 35 - 250 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 19 - 1|
Garrard had a tough game for the first three quarters, but persevered and brought his team back in the fourth quarter. He showed he can make plays out of the pocket with his legs, and looked a lot more comfortable passing in the fourth quarter, which coincided with him targeting Jimmy Smith. Garrard threw mostly short to intermediate passes, though he did show a strong arm on a couple of deep passes to Smith. Over 150 of his yards came in the fourth quarter, as did his touchdown pass and run. While attempting to score in the second half, Garrard fumbled at the two yard line, with the ball recovered by the Colts.
Taylor returned from injury, but was not effective, thanks to a very determined Colts’ defense. Taylor did not have an opportunity to break through the initial wave of defenders, and was ineffective in this game.
|RB Greg Jones, Rush: 7 - 43 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (1 targets)|
Jones ran effectively in the limited opportunities he had. He did not allow one tackler to bring him down, and showed an ability to use some moves to get outside and gain extra yardage.
Pearman was not a factor running or receiving in this game, and contributed more as the punt returner.
Smith had a very good game. He showed he can still beat cornerbacks deep as well as get open on shorter routes. He displayed nice body control in turning in the air and concentrating to catch a one yard lob pass for a touchdown. Smith’s numbers may have been even better had he not been overthrown on a couple of passes earlier in the game.
Williams began promisingly by turning his first catch into a run through some Colts’ defenders for a first down, but apart from one other target, did not contribute much to the game.
Wilford was not much of a factor in this game, and like Jones, was utilized mostly on shorter routes. He did drop one of his targets, which would have improved his numbers.
Jones was targeted once in the end zone, but apart from that, was used on short routes with little opportunity for big plays. Again, he was not much of a factor with Leftwich out.
While Brady caught all five passes thrown to him, he fumbled twice while trying to fight for extra yardage. Despite the two fumbles, Garrard still threw to him afterwards.
With Garrard focusing on the shorter passing game, Wrighster was utilized as an outlet receiver several times. He was unable to turn any of these short passes into big gains.
Scobee converted his lone extra point attempt and his only field goal attempt, which was from 27 yards.
The Jaguars held Edgerrin James to just over 3.0 yards per carry. Apart from one 20 yard run, they held him to fairly minimal gains though he did have 30 rushing attempts. The Jaguars had a lot of penetration from their linemen and linebackers, and they pursued well when James tried to run outside to get away from them.
The Jaguars began the game by applying pressure to Manning and recording three sacks in the first half, but their cornerbacks were beaten several times by the Colts’ receivers. When the Jaguars’ pass rushers could not get to Manning, he was able to complete a high percentage of his passes against the Jaguars secondary. The Jaguars’ secondary had two opportunities to make what would have been difficult interceptions, but instead had to settle for knocking the ball to the ground.