Indianapolis overcomes miscues to beat Jags 23-3
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Coach Gus Bradley watched Jacksonville's defense go punch-for-punch with the NFL's best offense Sunday.
He cringed as the Jaguars' offense essentially threw in the towel.
Hours after attending the birth of his new daughter, T.Y. Hilton broke open the game with a 73-yard touchdown pass to lead the Colts to a 23-3 win over the reeling Jags.
"The defense did a hell of a job. They put us in great position," receiver Cecil Shorts III said after finishing with one receptions for six yards. "This one's on the offense. It comes down to execution."
The Jags (1-10) certainly had chances Sunday.
They forced six fumbles and recovered three. They sacked Andrew Luck five times in the first half, the most times Luck has been put on the ground all season. They held the Colts to 148 total yards in the first half and kept them out of the end zone until early in the third quarter.
But on a day the offense was stonewalled, Jacksonville never really had a chance to end its losing streak. The Jags have lost four straight overall and five straight against Indy (7-4).
Blake Bortles was 15 of 27 for 146 yards with one interception. The Jags rushed 23 times for 80 yards, finished with 194 total yards, their second-lowest output this season, and scored their only points on a 28-yard field goal that capped a 2-yard drive after Luck lost a fumble at his own 12-yard line.
"We had kind of a motto this week, to go 12 for 80. It was that 12-play, 80-yard drive," Bradley said. "That was the mindset: No mistakes, no holding calls. Let's play good, solid football. That's what's frustrating. We didn't do that."
Jacksonville's top performance came from Chris Clemons, who had three sacks and a forced fumble - all in the first quarter.
But it was Hilton who claimed the starring role after speeding from a nearby hospital to Lucas Oil Stadium and pulling into the stadium just 75 minutes before kickoff.
The 5-foot-9, 178-pound receiver wound up catching four passes for 122 yards to top the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight season. And after the long score drew the loudest roar of the day, he celebrated with perhaps the most touching moment of the NFL weekend by rocking the football to sleep. Andrew Luck called it cute.
"When I was out there, I wanted it to be special," Hilton said. "I was going to play every play for her- just give it my all. When I get back to the hospital I will take her the football."
Hilton was special. The rest of the Colts offense, not so much.
Luck finished 21 of 32 for 253 yards with the TD pass and ran eight times for 49 yards. But he was sacked five times, fumbled three times and lost two, all in the first half. He also came up 47 yards short of tying Drew Brees' NFL record for consecutive 300-yard games. Luck's streak ended at eight.
Running back Daniel "Boom" Herron started in place of Trent Richardson and carried 12 times for 65 yards, but lost a fumble at the Jaguars 7-yard line.
Even Mr. Reliable, Reggie Wayne, struggled, catching three passes for 10 yards.
But with Hilton cranked up and running hard, the Colts won for the seventh time in nine games and extended their winning streak against AFC South foes to 11.
"We know the easiest way to get into the tournament is to win our division," Pagano said.
After Adam Vinatieri's 20-yard field goal gave Indy a 6-3 halftime lead, Indy righted itself in the second half.
Richardson scored on a 1-yard run midway through the third quarter to make it 13-3. Less than two minutes later, Hilton beat Dwayne Gratz for the 73-yard catch-and-run to make it 20-3. Vinatieri's 32-yard field goal finished it.
"I was coming here and thought `What could I do?'" Hilton said. "Once I got (the touchdown) I quieted the crowd and rocked the baby to sleep."
Notes: Vinatieri's three field goals pushed him into fifth place on the NFL's career list with 472, one ahead of former teammate Matt Stover. ... Cecil Shorts III, the Jags' second-leading receiver, had one catch for six yards.