The Jaguars looked to take their momentum from week 16 into this game against the Colts. The Jaguars got off to a hot start forcing the Colts to go scoreless on on their first six drives. This included four three and outs to start the game. They wrapped up Frank Gore and did not allow Andrew Luck to get going, but they wrecked in the second half. The Jags only scored a total of three points to the Colts’ 21 in the second half. The Jaguars had a 17-0 lead that they ended up blowing. They could not put the Colts away. They let them stay in the game and the Colts made them pay. A lot went wrong, but we should look at what went right first.
Corey Grant had himself a great game. He finished with 122 yards on 18 carries with 1 TD. This included a 57-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Grant received the start due to TJ Yeldon and Chris Ivory both being out. His success relied a lot on the playcalling. Most of his runs had him hitting the outside to use his speed to his advantage. Grant had a 4.2 40-yard dash and he showed that speed on his long touchdown run. Grant does not have a future on the team with Yeldon and Ivory ahead of him, but he did show that he is capable of being a reliable running back. He has the speed to breakaway, but also the ability to break tackles.
Blake Bortles had a lot to prove in this game. The next head coach might decide to start another QB over Bortles. This game should help his starting status for next year. He finished completing 25 passes on 39 attempts for 301 yards with 1 TD. The one negative to Bortles’ game was the fumbles. He lost two fumbles in this game and one of them came on the Colts’ 24-yard line. The Jaguars could have kicked a field goal on this drive, which would not have changed the outcome of the game, but it could have changed the playcalling late in the game.
This would have put the Colts down by 6 late in the 4th quarter, which might have caused them to play differently allowing the Jaguars defense to make a stop. A six point lead may have caused the Colts to play aggressively causing them to make mistakes. I think that Bortles should remain as the starting QB next season and this game should help next year’s coach think that way too.
Allen Robinson was another player whose job was in question. He had a good day catching 5 passes for 82 yards. His production did drop this season, but he picked it up late in the season. He should stay in the #1 spot next season and he showed what he is capable of at that position.
The defense was hit and miss in this game. They were great in the first half, but terrible in the second half. The Jaguars’ defense only allowed three points and started the game forcing the Colts to four straight three and outs. They got pressure on Andrew Luck and forced him to make mistakes including an interception. The defense stepped up and held Frank Gore to 62 yards on 16 carries as well, but it fell apart in the second half. They allowed 21 points with Luck finishing with 321 yards with 2 touchdowns. The Jaguars’ defense have a tendency to start strong and finish weak and that happened in this game. The defense just broke down especially on the Colts’ last drive.
It seemed like the Jaguars wanted to secure the #4 pick in the draft in this game. They started off strong looking like a much dominant team, but the foot came off the gas in the second half. The defense was getting beat in coverage and the offense could not finish drives. The whole team just played conservative instead of that aggressive style that worked against the Titans and in the first half. They left way too much time on the clock for the Colts to make a final drive. They decided to run to the outside with Grant three times instead of attempting a pass to convert on third down.
Corey Grant definitely hurt the Jaguars in this game. He had a good game stat wise, but his running became predictable. The Colts knew that he was only hitting the outside so they knew how to play him. They ran the same run play on that final drive to set up the field goal. The Colts had seen that play and were prepared for it. The Jaguars won last week because they caught the Titans by surprise, but the Colts seemed to figure out what the Jaguars were doing on offense and defense.
This was definitely a tough loss for the Jaguars. It felt a lot like that week 15 loss to the Texans. The team did not play their best in the second half. They looked great in the first half, but could not get anything going in the second. This is definitely a game that the Jags should have won. A win would not help them while a loss did secure them the #4 pick in the draft. It was a bad way to end the season though. Fans now have to go into the offseason with a bad taste in their mouths. The Jaguars blew a 17-0 lead against their division rivals. It is important to finish on a high note and the Jaguars did not do that.