INDIANAPOLIS -- A month ago, the Indianapolis Colts bore little resemblance to a contender.
By sticking to coach Chuck Pagano's vision, their confidence is restored, and the team no longer looks like a one-and-done candidate.
The Colts carry momentum into the postseason thanks to their 30-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
With three straight wins and four in their last five games, the suddenly dangerous Colts righted the ship before hosting a first-round contest next weekend.
"We got hot," Pagano said. "Offense is rolling at the right time. Defense is playing lights out. We had some really bad defeats. It's resiliency. Faith is believing in something you can't see. They've never wavered. It's gratifying."
Emerging wide receiver T.Y. Hilton torched the Jacksonville secondary, setting career highs with 11 catches for 155 yards, and the Colts' defense forced two turnovers and easily shut down the league's 31st-ranked offense.
Indianapolis (11-5) is in the playoffs for the 11th time in 12 seasons. The fourth-seeded Colts play host to the fifth-seeded Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) on Saturday.
The Colts' final dress rehearsal played out nicely.
Quarterback Andrew Luck did not turn the ball over and was 26-of-37 passing for 282 yards, including a 7-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Griff Whalen. Pagano pulled Luck after three quarters with the game well in hand.
"He fit the ball into some tight windows," Pagano said. "The quarterback's done a great job managing the game. We know how special a player and leader Andrew is."
Jacksonville (4-12) concluded its sixth straight non-winning season. A young, rebuilding team is left with more questions than answers after its first year under coach Gus Bradley.
"We'll take this season, grow from it and add to it," Bradley said. "If you look at wins and losses, you say, 'Is that what you're looking for?' We learned to handle adversity."
Quarterback Chad Henne threw for 331 yards with a touchdown and an interception for Jacksonville, while running back Maurice Jones-Drew was held to 39 yards on 13 carries. He did catch five passes for 51 yards, but the Jaguars did not do much of anything well.
"We missed reads, tackles, assignments," Bradley said. "It wasn't up to our standards. (Indianapolis) is a very good team."
Kicker Adam Vinatieri's 23-yard field goal put the Colts ahead 17-0 after a quarter, as they wasted no time delivering an early knockout punch. They did it with a ball-control, pass-heavy formula.
Jones-Drew coughed up the ball on Jacksonville's third snap when hit by linebacker Jerrell Freeman and cornerback Darius Butler recovered at the Jaguars' 42-yard line. Eight plays later, running back Donald Brown leapt over the pile on second-and-goal from the 1 to give the Colts a 7-0 lead.
The Jaguars then went three-and-out on their second series, with right tackle Austin Pasztor beaten badly by NFL sacks leader, linebacker Robert Mathis, for a sack on third down. That set up another methodical Indianapolis drive that ended with Pagano gambling on fourth-and-goal. Running back Trent Richardson rewarded his coach with a 2-yard TD run, his fourth score as a Colt.
Though the Jaguars played a decent second quarter, they only managed a 37-yard field goal from kicker Josh Scobee. Safety Antoine Bethea's easy interception set up Vinatieri's 26-yard field goal to make it 20-3 at halftime. Vinatieri, 41, became the seventh player in NFL history to record 2,000 points.
Afterward, Pagano expressed pride in the Colts finishing the year with only 14 turnovers, fewest in the NFL. In his second year, Pagano's leadership is taking hold. His next goal is to win a playoff game. The Colts' late turnaround is encouraging on that front.
"They talk about December being the most important month in football," Pagano said. "To go 4-1 with some mojo into the playoffs is hopefully going to work in our favor."
Notes: The Colts traveled to Jacksonville in Week 4 and romped to a 37-3 victory. ... The Colts sealed their third undefeated finish in AFC South play. Indianapolis last went 6-0 against the division in 2009. ... Colts starting CB Vontae Davis sustained a groin injury in the first half and starting DT Aubrayo Franklin left with a knee injury. ... Jacksonville had seven starters out due to injury, including four on defense.