The Indianapolis Colts have been on a roll since their win over the New York Giants on Monday Night about two weeks ago. Indianapolis, led by the strong support of Peyton Manning, looks to go 3-1 against the 1-2 Jacksonville Jaguars, who are mediocre to say at the least.
David Garrard has been struggling a lot, and the Jags just can’t click.
Thanks to Manning, the Colts are averaging 29.7 points per game, which ranks second in the league. They are also averaging 412.7 yards per game, which fits at third in the league. The four-time MVP is having another great season so far, as he leads all the quarterbacks with a 116.7 rating along with nine touchdowns.
He looks to punish the Jags’ secondary like he has been doing to the past three teams Indy has faced so far. The Jags have allowed over 289 passing yards per game, which goes for fourth-worst in the NFL.
“As odd as it seems or as hard as it is to imagine, I really do think he is getting better,” Colts tight end Dallas Clark said. “It’s all those little things he does, but he’s really been on fire this year, just putting the ball where it’s supposed to be.”
Austin Collie has been hot so far this year, even though it is only just his second season now in the league. Just last week, he caught twelve passes for 171 yards along with two touchdowns, a career-high for him. Collie has been leading the league so far with 359 receiving yards along with being tied for first in the league with four touchdowns.
The Colts offensive is nothing to worry about, but the defense is the big question. Everything has been going well, except just one thing which has been a problem for a long time with the Colts: run-defense. Indy is so far allowing 141.3 yards per game, which ranks fourth-worst in the league.
Dwight Freeney isn’t worried about that statistic, however, as there is one major one that’s far more important.
“I think the biggest stat I think most people need to worry about is how many points we allow,” he said. “I think that’s the biggest, the most important stat of them all, because that’s what most matters, is who has more points at the end of the game…”
The Colts need to stop Maurice Jones-Drew today in order for a sure win, as the Jags’ passing game isn’t really something you could be confident about. Jones-Drew is the only hope towards a victory.
“…He does it all extremely well, I mean he’s a guy that first of all, he can find the holes quickly,” Colts coach Jim Caldwell said. “I mean he’s a great back with great vision…”
Jones-Drew is just a bit of a step off from last year, but is still doing pretty good with 217 rushing yards.
The Jags are recently just coming off a miserable loss to the Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles, 28-3. And David Garrard continues to struggle. Garrard was just coming off a four-interception performance versus the San Diego Chargers in Week Two. Last week, he only completed 13-of-30 passes for 105 yards. His rating is really something you don’t want to talk about.
“I just think collectively we all have got to play better,” Garrard said. “I’ve got to make sure that I get the ball out faster so I don’t put pressure on my offensive line. I’ve got to get it out faster to the right guys and allow them to make plays and to be explosive. We’ve got to throw the ball downfield at times, too. We just have to get back to doing what we do and I’ve got to get back to doing what I do.”
“As long as he’s our best option, we’ll continue to go with him,” coach Jack Del Rio said Monday.
That might change, though, as the Jaguars picked up recently-released Buffalo Bills’ quarterback, Trent Edwards, off waivers. Garrard isn’t worried about that. But he was worried when the fans booed him last Sunday.
“You can’t come off two games like that and not get flak,” he told the Jaguars’ official website. “It definitely frustrates you but that’s not something I can control. A win cures everything.”
The Jags are 4-14 versus the Colts all-time and last beat them two seasons ago in a 23-21 victory, thanks to a game-winning field goal. In Jacksonville, I see a win for Indy.