Tale of the tape: Indianapolis at Jacksonville
The surging Colts roll into Jacksonville to tackle the downtrodden Jaguars Thursday night. Find out how this AFC South battle breaks down with our tale of the tape.
The Colts are piling up yardage, but that hasn't exactly translated into a boatload of points in recent weeks. They've averaged over 430 total yards of offense per game on north of six yards per play, but have scored a grand total of only 59 points in their last three games. Rookie QB Andrew Luck has received heaps of praise following his 433-yard passing day against the Dolphins, but has topped 300 yards only once in three road games this season, posting a less than impressive 2:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Jacksonville has scored more than 15 points only once in its last five contests and has been outgained in terms of total yardage in seven of eight games so far this season. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew remains sidelined with a foot injury - bad news for an offense that is averaging just over 250 yards per game. On a brighter note, second-year QB Blaine Gabbert has made positive strides, tossing nine touchdowns compared to only five interceptions. He's found the end zone in seven of eight games, but has thrown multiple TDs only twice.
Indianapolis' defense continues to improve, having allowed only 46 points combined over its last three games. A word of warning though. Those three contests have come against pedestrian offenses in the Browns, Titans, and Dolphins. Still, it's a step in the right direction after getting torched for more than 20 points in four of the first five games this season. The return of LB Pat Angerer from injury has solidified the linebacking corps, but there are concerns with CB Vontae Davis sidelined and DE Robert Mathis questionable to play.
The Jags defense has been on the field an awful lot this season, and we've seen signs of this unit tiring in recent weeks. Jacksonville has allowed at least 24 points in four consecutive games, giving up over 30 twice during that stretch. Home cooking hasn't helped, as the Jags are allowing a whopping 432 total yards per game at EverBank Field. They've forced just one turnover in their last two games after recording three in an overtime loss to the Raiders on October 21.
Indy hasn't made much noise with its return game, falling below the league average in both punt and kick return yardage. Veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri has struggled as well, connecting on only 16 of 22 field-goal attempts. With that being said, he did make good on a 43-yard game-winner against Miami this past Sunday. He also misfired on a pair of kicks in the same game.
Jacksonville has been even worse than Indianapolis when it comes to returning kicks. Kicker Josh Scobee gives the Jags a considerable edge, however, as he's a perfect 14 for 14 on field-goal attempts this season. The Jags have also been terrific defending punt returns, holding the opposition to an average of only seven yards.
Word on the street
“You can’t say enough good things about him, from him as a human being to him as a football player to him as a teammate. He’s the kind of guy you really want your kids to grow up and become. He’s a professional, he does it with class and he’ll be a good one for years to come.” -- Colts DE Fili Moala giving high praise to rookie QB Andrew Luck.
“I’m disappointed that we are where we’re at. I know the players are. I certainly know the fans are. I just want them to know how they feel, we feel the same way. Everybody in that locker room feels the same way. We’re mad, too, very disappointed we’re in this position." -- Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey speaking about the team's 1-7 start to the season.