Ever since Tony Dungy started coaching in Indianapolis we've heard talk about the season being broken into individual four game seasons. Each game, therefore, is a quarter. The Colts just completed a first quarter with both peaks and valleys and move on to the second quarter with quite a bit of work and improvement ahead of them.
"We are at the bottom of the division right now, that is reality. We're at the bottom of the division, the second quarter, we've gotta get better," said Colts safety Antoine Bethea.
With that very honest analysis, we take a look back at the highs and lows from the Jaguars 31-28 victory at EverBank Field Sunday.
Peyton finally throws a pick
Peyton Manning entered this game with a great touchdown to interception ratio. He had thrown 9 TD passes compared to 0 interceptions. He probably should've finished this game with another 3 scoring passes and without an interception. However, in the third quarter a beautiful pass to Brody Eldridge bounced off the rookie tight end and into the hands of Jacksonville safety Anthony Smith. It was one of two critical mistakes by Colts wide receivers (Reggie Wayne fumbled in the fourth quarter) inside the Jacksonville red zone.
"You have to be able to overcome them. Those things happen over the course of a football season, course of a game. You never like for them to happen, you'd like for them to go just right, when they do happen and there is time on the clock, you have to be able to overcome them and win in spite of them. We had chances to do that today, we just didn't do it," commented Manning after the game.
Peyton was clearly disappointed with the outcome, but none of the blame should be placed on #18. His final line, 33-46, 352 yards, included a handful of dropped passes, including the one that resulted in his first interception through four games.
Peyton should still be perfect in the TD to INT category and the Colts really SHOULD be 3-1.
What were they thinking?
The final series of the game left many media members in the press box and fans at home wondering the same thing, What was Jim Caldwell thinking calling timeout on 2nd and 2 from the Jaguars 31 yard line? It seemed obvious that Jack Del Rio didn't have confidence in his quarterback to lead the Jaguars into field goal range with less than a minute to play. However, an eight-yard gain by Jones-Drew on first down had many wondering why Caldwell would decide to call a timeout if Jacksonville seemed content to move on to overtime.
I believe Jacksonville might've quickly lined up for a pass play on 2nd down and if they had gotten a first down might've decided to go into hurry-up mode. Caldwell just made their strategy much easier.
"The big thing was, if they wanted to try to milk the clock in that situation, you certainly wouldn't allow it. We had enough timeouts to make them punt it to us, that was the idea," said Jim Caldwell after the game.
After an incompletion on 2nd and 2, Garrard hit Tiquan Underwood for a six yard gain and a first down. At this point, Jacksonville decided to call a timeout and see what they could make of this last chance to avoid overtime.
The critical play was the 22-yard completion from Garrard to Underwood that put the Jaguars in position for Josh Scobee. Underwood was wide open, apparently beating cornerback Jacob Lacey as safety Antoine Bethea tried to get over to assist in coverage.
"It was just pitch and catch. I have to look at the film and see exactly what happened," said Lacey after the game.
I can understand what Coach Caldwell was thinking...In no way did he expect Garrard to be able to complete a 22 yard pass to get the Jaguars in field goal range. While the timeout is easy to second-guess, the bigger question is what were the defensive backs thinking on on the play that really gave the Jaguars a chance to win the game.
Scobee (and Jaxson de Ville) celebrates
Many Colts fans remember Josh Scobee running all over the RCA Dome following 53 and 51 yard field goal kicks to defeat the Colts. Scobee is clearly at the top of Colts fans' list of "most hated" kickers. The Colts killer deserved to celebrate Sunday, having lifted his franchise to a potential season-saving victory thanks to a career-long 59-yard field goal.
Despite the many mistakes the Colts made on Sunday, sometimes you have to give credit where credit is due. The Colts were sure to pass along props to the kicker Colts fans love to hate.
"We gave him the opportunity, good players make those kicks, great players make those kicks, and that's what he did," said defensive end Dwight Freeney.
"Heckuva kick," said coach Caldwell.
"They practice it every day. Just like any team, they kick field goals in practice. He (Scobee) did what he had to do," said defensive tackle Daniel Muir.
Scobee's big kick also gave another Jacksonville icon, Jaxson de Ville a chance to celebrate. The highly entertaining mascot was standing behind the goal post and actually caught the game-winning kick after it fell through the uprights. Jaxson is one of the best mascots in the NFL and it was humorous to see him and Scobee, another cartoon character in his own right, run off the field together Sunday.
Still three quarters, eight games to play
As painful as this loss is to the Colts, the reality is this: There are still 12 games left in the 2010 season and both of their division losses have come on the road.
While the losses to Houston and Jacksonville clearly put the pressure on the Colts to perform in their division home games, the season is far from over.
"We've gotta be a more consistent team, we've gotta be the team that we've shown we can be and just keep doing our job. Everyone has gotta take it upon themselves to improve that," said tight end Dallas Clark.
There clearly is still time for the Colts to make improvements and claim another AFC South title.
Houston is currently 3-1 and alone in first place. The Colts, Titans, and Jaguars are all tied at 2-2. I have a feeling this AFC South will not be decided as early as in recent years and that this years' Colts might not have a couple of "bye weeks" at the end of the regular reason.
This isn't the end of the world. Running back Joseph Addai was a voice of reason in a distraught Colts locker room.
"You're down when you lose a game, but its not the end of the season, We know what kind of team we have, we just have to go back and look at the mistakes and correct them," explained Addai.
It may indeed be a Blue Monday in Indianapolis, but there is no reason to push the panic button. The Colts have been beaten by two very fired up division rivals away from Lucas Oil Stadium. If the Colts hold court at home and take care of business in their games outside the division, they will still be in good position to claim the AFC South title.
The 31-28 loss may be a bit of a wake-up call, but there are still eight games left to play.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times