For much of the night Thursday it appeared as if the Colts might be handed their first defeat of the season by their hated division rival, the Jaguars from Jacksonville. Jacksonville needed a win to remain in control of their playoff destiny. A win for the Colts for all intents and purposes meant the same as a loss.
When it came down to it though, the Colts were not to be denied. This time it was not the late heroics of Peyton Manning and the offense, but a timely interception by rookie cornerback Jacob Lacey that sealed the win. It was the second interception of his young career and it could not have come at a better time with the Jaguars driving down the field.
David Garrard and the Jaguar offense were in top form giving the Colt defense a tremendous test as the regular season winds down. Garrard put the secondary to the test throwing 40 times throughout the night, completing 23 for 223 yards and 3 touchdowns. However it was his one interception that cost the Jaguars the chance to hand Indianapolis there first defeat as well as remain in control of their fate.
With much speculation on how much the starters for the Colts would play, it was somewhat surprising to see them remain in for the entire game. In his postgame interview, Manning referred to the need for the first teams to work on things and that he was glad they got the chance to do so against a quality opponent.
While both the offense and defense looked much better than they had in recent weeks, the need to iron out the kinks was still apparent. Manning did throw for four touchdowns yet again, but he also threw his fifteenth interception as well; he only had 14 all of last season and has not thrown more than that since he had 19 in 2002. Of his 14 interceptions this season, 11 of them have come in the last 7 games, sometimes making his late game heroics necessary.
Maurice Jones Drew appeared to run at will almost on the Colt defense on his way to gaining 110 yards on the ground. Garrard looked to be in command of his game as well. Both the running and passing stats were in line with what the Colts have allowed all season. However, where they are usually one of the stingiest scoring defenses only allowing 17.7 a game for the season, they gave up 31 to a team that has averaged only 18 a game.
So while the game may not have been a perfect one for the Colts, for the time being they still are.