Colts avenge embarrassing loss, rout Jaguars

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Indianapolis held the unenviable honor of being one of two teams to lose to Jacksonville last year during the Jaguars' franchise-worst 2-14 season.
And with the Jags appearing to be headed for a similar record -- or possibly worse -- Andrew Luck and the Colts ensured there would be no encore Sunday.
Riding the momentum of last week's road win at reigning NFC champ San Francisco, Luck threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns, and running backs Trent Richardson and Donald Brown took advantage of the NFL's last-ranked rushing defense, piling up 154 yards on the ground in a 37-3 rout of the Jags (0-4).
"Overall, it was a great team win," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "(My guys) never let off the gas."
Richardson, in his second game with the Colts since being traded two weeks ago by the Cleveland Browns, finished with 20 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown, while Brown tallied three rushes for 65 yards, including a long of 50. Veteran wideout Reggie Wayne started his 186th straight game -- the second-longest active streak in the NFL -- and was Luck's favorite target once again, catching five passes for 100 yards, including 5-yard touchdown late in the third quarter.
Luck also threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to TE Cody Fleener on Indy's first drive of the third quarter.
It was the AFC South opener for both teams, and the Colts were wary of Sunday's duel being a trap game. So earlier in the week, Pagano placed mousetraps in each players' lockers as a way to remind the team not to look past winless Jacksonville and ahead to next week's matchup at home against the Seattle Seahawks (4-0).
It worked.
The Colts (3-1) jumped out to a 20-3 halftime lead on a 41-yard interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Darius Butler, a 1-yard score from Richardson and two Adam Vinatieri field goals. Indianapolis cruised from there, atoning for its stunning 22-17 loss to the Jaguars in the final minute last November that marked Jacksonville's first of only two wins last season.
But this isn't the same Jaguars team from a year ago. No, this one might be worse.
Jacksonville, which is off to its third 0-4 start in franchise history and has now lost nine straight games dating to last season, couldn't take advantage of the Colts' 26th-ranked rushing defense and tallied just 40 yards on the ground to go along with 165 passing yards.
Maurice Jones-Drew, the NFL's rushing champ just two seasons ago, finished with 13 carries for 23 yards, snapping a streak of four straight games of going over 100 yards against the Colts. Jones-Drew has now accumulated just 128 yards and one score this season.
Cecil Shorts, the AFC's third-leading wideout coming into the game, was again the Jags' top target Sunday with seven catches for 61 yards, although he did drop Jacksonville's best look at a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.
Josh Scobee accounted for Jacksonville's only points -- a 53-yard field goal to open the scoring in the first quarter.
"This one stings. This is not the result we expect," said first-year Jags coach Gus Bradley, whose team has now been outscored 129-31 in its opening four games and has the NFL's last-ranked offense. "We must continue to learn. We have to compete in all areas, and we're not (right now). That falls on me. It just stings."
It might sting the most for Blaine Gabbert, the former first-round pick who might have finally played himself out of the starting job after three years of little success. In his first game back since suffering a hand injury in Week 1, Gabbert finished 17-for-32 passing for 179 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions to fall to 5-20 as the Jags' starter since 2010.
The return of star TE Marcedes Lewis didn't factor in either as Lewis re-injured his ailing calf after just two series and did not return.
One of Jacksonville's lone positives Sunday came from linebacker Paul Posluszny, who entered the game tied for NFL lead with 31 total tackles. Posluszny had another strong game with a team-high nine stops, while the Jags' Will Blackmon recorded a first-half interception of Luck.
Butler led the Colts with six total tackles, while Robert Mathis notched five stops and three sacks of Gabbert, bringing his season sack total to 7.5.
NOTES: Jacksonville was one of six winless teams entering Sunday, along with the Redskins, Vikings, Giants, Steelers and Buccaneers. The Jags, Giants, Bucs and Steelers remained winless after all four lost, while the Vikings won and Redskins faced the Raiders in one of Sunday's late games .... Gabbert came into Sunday 3-1 all-time against the Colts --- but just 2-19 against the rest of the NFL. ... Vinatieri capped the scoring with a 28-yard field goal with 2:56 left in the game. ... The Jags have now scored just eight first-half points this season (two FGs, one safety) -- the lowest output in the NFL. ...The Colts lead the all-time series 17-8, although Jacksonville had won three of the last four entering Sunday. ... Colts first-round draft pick Bjorn Werner (LB) suffered a foot injury in the first quarter and did not return, while the Jags' first-round pick, WR Denard Robinson, suffered a hamstring strain just before halftime, but he did return. ... Jacksonville leading wideout Justin Blackmon will return from his four-game suspension next Sunday at the St. Louis Rams.

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