INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—Byron Leftwich is getting used to these frantic finishes. He just hopes they keeping turning out the right way.
On Sunday, Leftwich led the Jaguars to scoring drives on their final three possessions, and rookie Josh Scobee joined the growing list of Jacksonville heroes by making a season-long 53-yard field goal with 38 seconds left to beat the Indianapolis Colts 27-24.
It was another chapter in their magical season. They have won all five games in the game’s final minute.
“We just find a way to pull it out,” Leftwich said. “We expect to win every game. That’s the personality of our team.”
Sunday’s victory may have been the most critical.
Jacksonville (5-2) moved past the Colts and into first place in the AFC South, snapped the Colts’ four-game winning streak and won for the first time at the RCA Dome after three losses there.
It also gave the Jaguars a split in the season series after losing at home to the Colts three weeks ago.
“We knew it was important, but we didn’t want to tell all you guys and blow it up into something bigger than it was,” Leftwich told reporters. “We knew we had to find a way to win this game.”
Mission accomplished, thanks in part to the Colts’ atypical performance.
Indianapolis (4-2) looked rusty coming off a bye week, committing a season-high 12 penalties, fumbling twice and allowing the Jaguars to keep the ball nine minutes longer. In the third quarter alone, Indianapolis ran just seven offensive plays.
There were other problems, too.
Five-time Pro Bowl receiver Marvin Harrison played most of the game with an injured left shoulder, while co-MVP Peyton Manning and wide receiver Reggie Wayne got into an uncharacteristic shouting match just before the Colts started their final drive.
Wayne denied the confrontation, even though it was caught by television cameras, and Manning said there was no feud.
“Reggie’s one of my favorite players on the team. It was just frustration,” Manning said.
“We didn’t come out sharp,” coach Tony Dungy said. “We almost doubled our penalty totals for the first five games today. We just weren’t sharp.”
Jacksonville didn’t have the same trouble.
Leftwich completed 23 of 30 passes for 300 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Fred Taylor carried 20 times for 107 yards and caught five passes for 67 yards, while Jimmy Smith had five receptions for 113 yards and one touchdown.
And the finish followed the Jaguars’ usual script.
With the score 24-24, Leftwich opened the winning drive by hitting Taylor for 11 yards and Todd Yoder for 12, getting the Jaguars near field goal position.
Then Leftwich used the clock to advantage, forcing the Colts to use their timeouts. With 45 seconds left, Leftwich was sacked for the third time, forcing Scobee to try a 53-yarder. His previous best was 48 yards.
The ball stayed inside the right upright and barely dropped over the crossbar as Scobee lay on the ground.
“The last couple of seconds to kick a game-winner for first place in your division, there’s no better feeling,” Scobee said. “I was just excited to be able to go out there and give my team a chance to win.”
It was that kind of day for the Colts.
Jacksonville turned Dallas Clark’s fumble into a field goal early in the fourth quarter for a 16-14 lead.
The Colts retook the lead on Mike Vanderjagt’s 35-yard field goal after a touchdown pass from Manning to Harrison was overruled by replay because Harrison stepped out of bounds.
Leftwich then hooked up with Smith on a 25-yard TD pass with 6:41 remaining to make it 24-17, and Manning responded with a 39-yard TD pass to Harrison. Manning was 27-of-39 for 368 yards with three touchdowns. Harrison caught five passes for 70 yards, while Brandon Stokley had seven receptions for 112 yards.
But the Jaguars again got the final word.
“We found a way to pull it out,” Leftwich said.
Notes@: Vanderjagt’s extra point with 9:23 left in the first half gave him the team scoring record. He passed Dean Biasucci (783) and now has 788 points. … Leftwich set a club record with 15 straight completions in the first half. Mark Brunell had 11 straight completions. … The Colts failed to go over the .500 mark at the dome for the first time since moving to Indianapolis. They are now 81-82 all-time. … Smith moved past Charlie Joiner and Michael Irvin into 13th place on the all-time receptions list. He now has 751 catches.