NFL Nation: AFC South
That’s the hope at least in the battle of winless AFC South teams in Jacksonville on Sunday. The Jaguars are playing their home opener.
Here are three storylines to watch in the game:
Pressure the QB: This will be a weekly storyline until the Colts show they can put pressure on the quarterback on a consistent basis. They didn't get any sacks against Philadelphia in the previous game. The Jaguars, who will have two new offensive line starters, have given up 13 sacks, including 10 against Washington last week, in two games. You might as well throw your hands up if the Colts' defense can’t sack Jacksonville quarterback Chad Henne at least once. Is that too much to ask?
Spread the ball around: The Colts have plenty of talent at receiver with Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and Hakeem Nicks, tight end with Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener and in the backfield with Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw. Now it’s up to quarterback Andrew Luck to spread the ball around. Luck still relies heavily on Wayne and Hilton, who have been targeted 20 and 22 times, respectively. Bradshaw, a running back, is next in line at 12 targets. “I feel like our scheme is comprehensive enough,” offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said. “Once teams adjust to try and take away one component or one person in our offense, we have other guys around that will make plays. The NFL season is a long season. We have 14 more games to go and it’s the ultimate chess match. Over the course of time, you’ll find out that there’ll be enough opportunities for guys to make plays throughout the offense.”
Protect the ball: Richardson ran for 79 yards against the Eagles, his highest total since the Colts acquired him on Sept. 18, 2013. But he has to do a better job protecting the ball. He fumbled twice, with Wayne diving on his first fumble. Richardson’s second fumble ended up costing the Colts, as the Eagles took advantage of the turnover to score a touchdown. Going back to the Kansas City playoff game last season -- four games total -- Richardson has fumbled three times. “Trent runs extremely hard and he’s always fighting for extra yards,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “When you put the ball on the ground, guys are going to point that out in other meeting rooms in other cities and say, ‘Hey look, this guy, you know, yada yada yada.’ Trent understands that and all our backs, all those guys that touch the football know how important ball security is and we harp on it every single day, and we’ll continue to harp on it. We’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the football.”
On Friday, it was University of Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan’s turn, and he spoke about the players developing a deeper relationship with teammates.
"His message was about trust and really a deep love for your teammate," Bradley said. "I think that is something that resonated with our players. I think that our players really are connected and are close and I think he challenged them to take it to another level."
"We come in here and we always say, ‘I trust my guy next to me,’ but he said, ‘How far does that trust go?’" Gerhart said. "’Do you really know intimate details about that person? Do you know about his family life? Do you know if he’s having any type of issues?’ He said everybody is a broken and fractured individual on some level and he said, ‘Can you be there for that person and they can trust you on that level?’ It was a really interesting conversation.
"It’s definitely a bigger challenge when you have 53, 63 guys on a team, but I think you can break it down into units. You could be running back or offense or whatever it may be, and I think it’s something that we can take into consideration and listen and see, get to know people a little better."
Safety Josh Evans has heard Donovan speak before. Donovan addressed the UF football team several times during Evans’ four years with the Gators. Donovan’s message on Friday was similar and it stuck with the Jaguars players the way it suck with him, Evans said.
"As a matter of fact we just kind of talked about some of those things in our last meeting as a team, pretty much building on that and finding a way to being [connected] to one another and play hard for each other,” Evans said.
Sunday's Indianapolis Colts-Jacksonville Jaguars game at EverBank Field isn't exactly a Super Bowl rematch, but there's still something pretty significant at stake: the first victory of the season.
Both teams enter the game 0-2, though the Colts have at least kept things close. Indianapolis lost its first two games to Denver and Philadelphia by a combined 10 points. The Jaguars lost games to Philadelphia and Washington by a combined 48 points, including a 31-point loss to the Redskins last Sunday.
This is a must-win game for the Colts, who risk falling behind the surprisingly undefeated Houston Texans in the AFC South. The Jaguars could use a victory if only to get some good vibes going, which was something the franchise had plenty of during the offseason with the new video boards, pools in the stadium and the excitement over rookie quarterback Blake Bortles.
ESPN Colts reporter Mike Wells and Jaguars reporter Michael DiRocco break down the matchup.
DiRocco: The Colts' pass rush obviously isn't the same with Robert Mathis done for the season. How are they compensating and are they licking their chops because they are preparing to face a Jaguars team that just gave up 10 sacks?
Wells: They’re licking their chops, not because Chad Henne has been sacked 13 times in two games, but because they simply want to get some sacks. The Mathis-less Colts have only one sack this season. Remember Eagles quarterback Nick Foles from Week 1, the one the Jaguars sacked five times? The Colts didn’t sack him once on Monday night. In fact, they hit Foles only four times the entire game. I’m not sure who’s slower, Foles or Peyton Manning. I thought the Colts would be able to get to Foles. I was wrong. I’d like to think they’ll be able to get to Henne, especially with two new starters on the offensive line for Jacksonville this weekend.
The Jaguars looked like they were on their way to gaining some momentum. They scored the first 17 points against Philadelphia in Week 1, but they’ve been outscored 75-10 since. Was Jacksonville teasing everybody in the first 30 minutes against the Eagles?
DiRocco: That’s what it’s beginning to look like, because in the six quarters since those first 30 minutes the Jaguars have looked as bad as they did last season. Actually, they’ve looked worse in spots, especially the offensive line. The way the offense has played isn’t that surprising, though. With a rebuilt offensive line and three rookie receivers, plus the limitations that Henne brings to the table, it was clear before the season began that the offense wasn’t exactly going to be explosive. However, the way the defense has performed since the first half of the season opener is befuddling. The unit was supposed to be significantly better than 2013 after adding ends Chris Clemons and Red Bryant and tackle Ziggy Hood. Those three, along with a healthy Roy Miller and Sen’Derrick Marks, were supposed to form a solid defensive front that would stop the run, rush the passer well and keep the team in games into the second half. They’ve played poorly the past six quarters, giving up 191 yards rushing to the Washington Redskins. Guys are getting out of position, not making plays when in position to make them and are missing tackles.
It looked like Trent Richardson was pairing with Ahmad Bradshaw to give the Colts a pretty good one-two punch. But after fumbling twice against Philadelphia, are we going to see less of Richardson this week and the rest of the season?
Wells: Not starting Richardson would be admitting that the trade with Cleveland was a complete bust. Richardson will continue to be the starter, but Bradshaw will get his fair amount of carries with his load continuing to increase if Richardson can’t hold onto the ball. Richardson was going to be one of the most talked-about players in the Philly game if the Colts had won because he had his best rushing game (79 yards) since coming to Indianapolis in September 2013. Richardson was talked about a lot after the game, but not in a good way. The Colts recovered his first fumble, but his second one led to an Eagles touchdown and played a significant factor in why they lost the game.
How long will the Jags stick with Henne before giving the ball to the player they hope will be the face of their franchise for years to come in Bortles?
DiRocco: At least one more week. Though coach Gus Bradley left a little wiggle room in his statement earlier in the week that Henne was still the starter, he reaffirmed it Wednesday morning. Henne is an average quarterback who holds onto the ball too long at times and doesn’t throw down the field as much as he should, but he’s not the reason the Jaguars are 4-16 since the start of 2013. He’s not losing games. The Jaguars aren’t going to play Bortles until they believe he’s completely ready, and nobody is sure when that will happen. Plus, the Jaguars' offensive line is a mess and has two new starters this week, including rookie center Luke Bowanko. The Jaguars also are without tight end Marcedes Lewis (high ankle sprain) and have had to rely on three rookie receivers. That's not exactly a great environment in which to drop a rookie quarterback. Henne will continue to take those lumps but if things don't improve, the Jaguars might turn to Bortles for a spark within the next few weeks.
How effective has Reggie Wayne been since coming back from the torn ACL? He's obviously not the same player he was two years ago when he caught 106 balls -- what can he still give the Colts?
Wells: You’re right, Wayne isn’t the same player he was two years ago. But what he’s shown through the first two games is that he’s still quarterback Andrew Luck’s security blanket. Luck will look to Wayne first when he needs to get a first down or when he’s under pressure and needs to get rid of the ball quickly. Wayne leads the Colts with 12 catches for 126 yards. He had no problem admitting that he wanted to prove the doubters wrong about his ability to come back from the torn ACL. He’s proven -- so far -- that he can still be an effective player.
By the look of things it appears the Jaguars don’t have an identity. They’ve given up 75 points, scored only 27 and given up 13 sacks in two games. Does this franchise have an identity as either an offensive- or defensive-dominant team?
DiRocco: It was supposed to have an identity as a physical, hard-nosed defensive team, and that’s exactly what it was in the first half against Philadelphia. After that, the Jaguars have been wandering aimlessly. Players have talked about getting punched in the mouth the last six quarters and not responding. That has to change against Indianapolis. It’s the perfect scenario, too: the home opener against a team coming off a Monday night game and a team against which they've traditionally played well.
Freeman, who missed Monday’s game against Philadelphia because of a hamstring injury, did not practice again Thursday, but defensive coordinator Greg Manusky is remaining optimistic that he will play.
"I don’t know the status of each guy, what it’s going to be on Sunday," Manusky said. "I’m expecting him and all the guys to be up who are banged up right now. I know Arthur (Jones) is down for a little bit, that’s a little bit different."
Josh McNary will likely start again if Freeman doesn’t play.
Here’s the rest of the practice report
Did not practice: CB Vontae Davis (rest), DL Jones (ankle), WR Hakeem Nicks (illness).
Limited practice: DL Ricky Jean Francois (ankle), OL Joe Reitz (ankle), CB Greg Toler (ribs).
So the Jacksonville Jaguars may have to go with a second-year player, a rookie who missed most of training camp and all of the preseason, and a guy who just joined the team Tuesday as their primary receivers in Sunday’s home opener against Indianapolis.
It’s not that Lee is the offensive MVP. It’s just that it’s the latest in a string of setbacks and events that are giving the offense very little chance to be successful. Remember, the Jaguars have produced just 10 points, 266 yards and converted just 4 of 20 third downs over the past six quarters WITH Lee and Lewis in the lineup.
If Hurns doesn’t play because of an ankle injury and Shorts misses his third game because of hamstring tightness -- both of which are more likely than not -- the Jaguars will have to rely on rookie Allen Robinson, Mike Brown and Tavarres King as their top three receivers. If they decide to raid the practice squad, they could add second-year player Kerry Taylor and/or undrafted rookie Tony Washington. To do that, though, the Jaguars would have to cut players from the active roster to make room.
Regardless, the combined experience of the five healthy wide receivers (including those on the practice squad) who could play Sunday isn’t much: Twenty-seven games played and 62 receptions.
This is where not having Ace Sanders, who has two more games to serve in his suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, hurts the most. He caught 51 passes as a rookie in 2013.
Jaguars receivers have been beset by injuries since OTAs began in May and the team has no idea why. They’ve all been soft-tissue injuries, too: calf strains, hamstring strains (or in Shorts’ case, tightness), ankle sprains. The hamstring strains, which felled at one time or another Lee, Shorts, Robinson and Brown, are the most disconcerting because they tend to linger. It’s an injury that players are reluctant to try to return too quickly from because that often leads to further damage and a longer absence.
It’s a tough injury to play through as well, because it limits explosiveness and leaping. Sudden movements, such as cutting or firing off the line of scrimmage, are risky as well.
So Lee will sit against the Colts, and there’s a good chance Hurns will, too. As for Shorts, it’s questionable. With what’s available at receiver, rookie quarterback Blake Bortles might be thanking coach Gus Bradley’s decision not to put him on the field.
You figured the Colts were acquiring a running back after Vick Ballard was recently lost for the season with a torn ACL. But it was anybody’s guess who that player would be.
Then at 6:19 p.m. -- 57 minutes and three tweets after his initial one -- the Colts announced that they had acquired Trent Richardson from the Cleveland Browns for a first-round pick.
OMG...the Earth is SHAKING!!!!! Shock and AWE is coming VERY SOON!!!!!!!— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) September 18, 2013
Colts Nation...are you sitting DOWN!!!!!!— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) September 18, 2013
Announcement coming SOON!!!!— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) September 18, 2013
This day of MONSTER TRADE,The Tidal Wave Of Deal making...Shocks the system of "..Didn't see THIS ONE COMING!!!!!!" Grig's Rollin' Dice!— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) September 18, 2013
Building a MONSTER for the BEST fans in the WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) September 19, 2013
Colts general manager Ryan Grigson had pulled off the biggest trade of the 2013 season.
You immediately thought that the Colts had just acquired their running back of the future to go with franchise quarterback Andrew Luck.
The No. 1 overall pick and the No. 3 overall pick of the 2012 draft teamed together for years to come. They'd go hand-in-hand. They were the perfect match.
That’s what you thought, at least.
The trade has been anything but perfect for the Colts. You can argue that the Browns are winning the trade so far. The Colts gave up a first-round pick that they could have used to try and fix a hole on their roster. The Browns used Indianapolis’ No. 26 pick and moved up to No. 22, where they selected quarterback Johnny Manziel. Manziel and LeBron James’ return to Cleveland have made that city a focal point in the NFL and NBA again, even if Johnny Football is on the sideline waiting his turn to be the team’s starting quarterback.
They got a running back who was uncomfortable his entire first season in Indianapolis. He was indecisive with his running and he eventually lost his starting job to Donald Brown. Richardson averaged only 2.9 yards a carry last season.
Grigson did not respond to a message seeking comment for the story, but he said several times during the offseason that he would do the trade again if the opportunity presented itself. He referred to Richardson as their 2014 first-round draft pick, while also not shying away from the expectations he has for Richardson this season.
"Trent, he needs to answer the bell and do his job to the best of his ability," Grigson said in training camp. "We’re all accountable here. ... He’s such a hard runner, we know how tough he is, but he’s got to produce just like all these guys do on this final 53."
Richardson has been a different player after having an offseason to learn the playbook. He’s running with more force and he has gotten better at picking which holes to run through. If not for a fumble that later cost the Colts seven points, Richardson would have been one of the positive storylines against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday -- he rushed for 79 yards, his highest total since joining the team, and he’s averaging 3.7 yards a carry through the first two games.
Richardson may never live up to the expectations of being the No. 3 overall pick. The Colts would simply be happy if he at least played like he was worth the No. 26 pick they gave up in this year’s draft.
The clock is ticking as they wait for that to happen.
But Andrew Luck and the offense don’t get a free pass, either. They’ve had their fair share of mistakes, too.
“Yeah, the friendly fire, it will kill you,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “Just like I told them in there, it’s so hard to win at this level. It doesn’t matter how good you play, all the games come down to one-score games. It doesn’t matter. You’ve got to eliminate friendly fire and you’ve got to finish games. You’ve got to put people away.
“We had a chance to put people away and we didn’t do anything in the first part of that third quarter. We got off the field on defense, but we couldn’t do anything offensively. We had our chances again and we didn’t capitalize.”
Here’s a breakdown of the Colts’ offensive miscues in the first two weeks of the season:
Week 1 at Denver
- Failed third-and-1 pass attempt at the Broncos’ 36-yard line. A delay of game penalty pushed the Colts out of field goal range.
- Luck tried to rush the offense to the line of scrimmage and attempt a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-goal from the Broncos’ 1-yard line. Luck was stuffed behind the line of scrimmage, leaving the Colts without any points when they had a chance a chance to cut Denver’s lead to 10.
- Luck’s pass attempt to tight end Coby Fleener was tipped and intercepted at Denver’s 32-yard line with the Colts trailing 31-17 in the fourth quarter.
- Running back Trent Richardson fumbled at the Colts' 25-yard line. The Eagles scored five plays later to tie the game at 20-20 late in the third quarter.
- Luck threw an interception after Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin got away with a hold on receiver T.Y. Hilton. The bigger issue was why the Colts threw the ball when the clock was in their favor and they had an opportunity to score at least three points to extend their lead to 10 points with about five minutes remaining.
Tight end Dwayne Allen said it best after the game.
"There's no falling back on, 'We're a young team and we're still learning,'" he said. "The whole 'young' title is out the door. We're a football team, and we're an experienced football team."
It’s the battle of winless teams when the Colts (0-2) travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars (0-2) on Sunday. The Jaguars have to feel good about the opportunity for big plays against the Colts.
The Colts gave up 231 yards after the catch to the Eagles, which is the most they’ve given up in a game in the nine seasons that ESPN has kept video-tracking data, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Eagles running back Darren Sproles had catch-and-run plays of 57 and 51 yards. His 51-yard gain set the Eagles up to tie the score at 27-27 in the fourth quarter.
Poor tackling continues to be an issue for the Colts. Part of the problem could be that coach Chuck Pagano doesn’t allow tackling in practice or in training camp because he wants to help prevent his players from getting injured. Health is obviously a priority, but the downside to that is that the Colts are having a difficult time tackling.
Struggle to move the ball because of poor offensive line play, a lack of playmakers, and a quarterback that doesn’t scare opposing defenses. Failure to stop the run, get off the field on third down, and make big plays on defense. Players talking about getting punched in the mouth by an opponent and failing to respond.
And a loss by double digits.
That last thing has happened a lot. In fact, it has happened a ridiculous amount of times -- really, an embarrassing amount of times.
Since the beginning of the 2012 season, the Jaguars are 6-28. That's humiliating enough. But it’s even worse than that because 20 of those losses have come by 10 or more points, including the first eight games of the 2013 season.
"Just hearing it, it’s definitely something you’re not proud about," said safety Chris Prosinski, one of nine current players that have played significant roles with the team over that span. "But I know for this team, looking back to 2012 there’s so much more difference between coaches, players, schemes, what-not. ...But the best thing to do is get back out there and practice and move forward."
The Jaguars have certainly been trying to do that but without much success. In fact, things kept getting worse. The Jaguars lost eight games by double digits en route to a 2-14 finish in the 2012 season. They lost 10 in 2013 and went 4-12. This season, they gave up 34 unanswered points in the second half against Philadelphia and lost by 17 points and lost by 31 at Washington last Sunday.
The Redskins loss marked the fourth time over the past two-plus seasons that the Jaguars have lost by more than 30 points.
Here’s further documentation to show how bad things have been since the 2012 season began:
- The Jaguars have been out-scored by 423 points in the 20 losses and have lost those games by an average margin of 21.15 points.
- In addition to the four losses by more than 30 points, they’ve lost nine games by 20 or more points.
- They’ve only lost three games by 14 or less.
The Redskins loss is arguably the worst loss the team has suffered since 2012. It wasn’t the largest margin -- that was a 41-3 blowout by Chicago in Week 5 of 2012 -- but the circumstances make it more troubling. The Redskins were already without Jordan Reed, one of the NFL’s top tight ends, and then lost quarterback Robert Griffin III and receiver DeSean Jackson in the first quarter.
The Jaguars had made a significant upgrade to the defensive front in free agency by signing ends Chris Clemons and Red Bryant and defensive tackle Ziggy Hood, and that was supposed to allow the defense to keep the games close into the second half and result in more chances to win games. That didn't happen against Washington.
Washington still rushed for 191 yards, piled up 32 first downs, and converted 6 of 14 third downs.
Maybe it’s time to start asking if the franchise is in better shape now than it was two years ago.
"We have some work to do but I definitely feel like this franchise is headed in the right direction," receiver Cecil Shorts said. "[GM] Dave [Caldwell], [coach] Gus [Bradley], they’re doing everything they can. It’s on us as players to take control of these reigns and get things going."
INDIANAPOLIS -- Let's get this out way: The officials missed the call when Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin held Indianapolis receiver T.Y. Hilton as the Indianapolis Colts were trying to extend their seven-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Everybody saw the hold except the officials. Colts coach Chuck Pagano didn't hide his anger when he saw the replay on the video board inside Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday night or when he talked about it during his postgame media conference following the 30-27 loss.
"I think I had the same view as you did," he said.
Hilton added, "Yeah, he pulled me down, but they missed it, so it's cool."
OK, that's taken care of.
The real issue on the play was the Colts' decision to put the ball in the air when it wasn't necessary. They had the ball third-and-9 at Philadelphia's 22-yard line with the clock running.
These weren't the Colts of the past year who needed quarterback Andrew Luck's arm to win a game. They had success running the ball Monday night. Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw combined for 149 yards on the ground. Indianapolis could have run the ball on third down, killed some more of the clock and then kicked the field goal to push its lead to 10 points with less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
That wasn't good enough for them.
"We knew we had the field goal in the bag," Pagano said.
The Colts spent the week planning for different situations, but Philadelphia's quick-fire offense obviously put some fear into them, so they got greedy in an attempt to go up by two touchdowns.
"Touchdowns are better than three points," Luck said. "We had been running the ball obviously very well. But I thought we also converted some big third downs throwing the ball. If we can convert that, then we had a good chance."
Greediness ended up getting the best of the Colts.
Luck thought he had Hilton open, but Boykin grabbed the receiver as he was making his cut on the play. No flag was thrown, and Malcolm Jenkins picked off the pass.
"I think everyone saw what happened on the play," Pagano said. "The last thing we said to the quarterback was take care of the ball. If the guy gets tackled, drug down, whatever it was, there's nothing the quarterback can do about it. Our thinking was wrong."
In a matter of one bad play call and a no-call by the officials, the Colts went from looking like they were going to pad to their lead to staring at the back of Darren Sproles' jersey as he took a short pass and raced 51 yards to put the Eagles in the position to tie the game with less than four minutes remaining.
The Colts have played two games and failed to take advantage of their opportunities in each of them. Now they sit 0-2 with their odds of making the playoffs at only 12 percent.
"There's no falling back on 'We're a young team and we're still learning,'" Colts tight end Dwayne Allen said. "The whole 'young' title is out the door. We're a football team, and we're an experienced football team. We've proven we can win football games, and these first two games are something we've proven that we can win and we just haven't done that. All we can continue to do is work on our craft."
- The statistics don’t favor the Colts (0-2) when it comes to making the playoffs. Only 12 percent of the teams that started 0-2 have made the playoffs under the current playoff format, which began in 1990. The Colts will try to improve those odds. “It stinks, it’s not good,” quarterback Andrew Luck said. “We realize it’s not the end of the season by any means. Our minds are now, ‘Hey, onto the next one.’ Whoever that is, we know we’ve got to get in the win column and get moving in the right direction.” The Colts next two games are against AFC South counterparts Jacksonville and Tennessee.
- Running back Trent Richardson will likely have a sleepless night after he fumbled twice, including one that led to an Eagles’ touchdown. Richardson sat out the next series before returning to the game. His fumbles took away from his 79 yards rushing. “I don’t fumble, it’s not my identity,” Richardson said. “It’s never been my identity, and saying with that I have to make better decisions. We were running the ball well all night and you slap yourself in the face when you fumble.”
- Colts coach Chuck Pagano said defensive lineman Arthur Jones, who left the game with a high-ankle sprain in the second quarter, will be evaluated Tuesday. Don’t be surprised if Jones is missing a few games with the ankle sprain.
INDIANAPOLIS -- A few thoughts on the Indianapolis Colts' 30-27 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles:
What it means: The Colts should have known the Eagles were going to get back into the game at some point despite being down 20-6 in the third quarter. It was easier for the Eagles to do it with the Colts turning the ball over. Philadelphia turned two Indianapolis turnovers into 14 points to help them come back from behind and win the game. Running back Trent Richardson fumbled and then the Eagles got away with what could have been a holding penalty by Brandon Boykin on receiver T.Y. Hilton to pick off quarterback Andrew Luck. After the Luck interception, the Eagles tied the score at 27 four plays and a penalty later. Kicker Cody Parkey, who was in Colts training camp, made 36-yard field as time expired to win it for Philadelphia.
Stock watch: Richardson's stock is down. You're probably wondering why after he rushed for 79 yards, his most as a Colt, on 21 carries. The problem is Richardson couldn't hold onto the ball. He fumbled twice. Receiver Reggie Wayne bailed Richardson out when he recovered his first fumble. Richardson's second fumble cost the Colts because the Eagles turned his miscue into seven points to tie the game at 20. Richardson spent their next series on the sideline, but returned after that.
Not-so perfect: It took 34 games, but Luck has finally lost back-to-back games in his NFL career. The last time Luck lost back-to-back games prior to Monday was when he was at Stanford. The quarterback who gave Luck his second consecutive loss? Philadelphia's Nick Foles. Foles' Arizona Wildcats beat Luck and the Cardinal on Oct. 17, 2009.
Hilton steps up: Receiver T.Y. Hilton was non-existent in the first half, catching only two passes for 13 yards because the Colts were focused on running the ball. But he became Lucks' go-to receiver. He had four catches for 52 yards in the second half.
Game ball: Running back Ahmad Bradshaw continues to show that he has no concerns with his neck. He rushed for 70 yards on 13 carries to go with five catches for 26 yards.
What's next: The Colts (0-2) head back on the road to play their first AFC South game at Jacksonville on Sept. 21. The Jaguars, who blew a 17-point lead against Philadelphia in Week 1, are 0-2 after losing to Washington on Sunday.
Colts: Receiver Da'Rick Rogers, running back Dion Lewis, linebacker Jerrell Freeman, linebacker Chris Carter, center Khaled Holmes, center Jonotthan Harrison, guard Joe Reitz
Eagles: quarterback Matt Barkley, receiver Josh Huff, defensive back Jaylen Watkins, offensive lineman Matt Tobin, offensive lineman Kevin Graf, linebacker Marcus Smith, defensive end Taylor Hart.
With Holmes and Harrison both inactive, rookie starting guard Jack Mewhort is the Colts' backup center behind A.Q. Shipley tonight. The Colts can put Lance Louis at guard if Mewhort is forced to play center.
When relying on rookie receivers, coaches know things aren't going to always go smoothly. That's certainly the case with the Jaguars, who have used three rookies (Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson) as their primary targets in the first two games and will continue to do so in Sunday's home opener against Indianapolis.
The biggest issue with that trio has been mental mistakes. Coach Gus Bradley said Monday they combined to make double-digit mental mistakes, such as running the wrong route, playing with inconsistent effort, lining up incorrectly, quitting on a route and using poor technique to get open. All of that was evident on film during the 41-10 loss to Washington and played a significant role in the Jaguars giving up 10 sacks and scoring just one touchdown.
With the loss of tight end Marcedes Lewis (high ankle sprain) for six to eight weeks, the ongoing uncertainty of veteran receiver Cecil Shorts' hamstring and Hurns being day-to-day with an ankle injury, the pressure is on Lee and Robinson to play with consistent effort and eliminate as many mental mistakes as possible, or the passing offense will become even more inept.
But he had no second thoughts about what happened at the end of Sunday's 41-10 loss at Washington, when rookie receiver Allen Hurns suffered an ankle injury on the team's final offensive snap. Quarterback Chad Henne threw a sideline pass to Hurns for 3 yards on fourth-and-16 and Hurns was hurt when he was tackled.
Bradley said he didn't consider just running the ball to kill the clock and end the game quickly when the Jaguars took over with 1:46 remaining.
"It didn't come up that way," Bradley said. "I think that the message to our team is we're going to compete every play. At the end of the game in that situation it was an unfortunate deal that took place, but that's our mindset."
Hurns is listed as day-to-day with an ankle sprain.
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