If you haven’t already – mark your calenders for Sunday, November 4th.
That’s when the “regular season” Super Bowl will be played in Indianapolis between the best two teams in the league, as the Indianapolis Colts take on the New England Patriots. The showdown between the two teams marched closer on Monday night, as the Colts did their part in setting up the matchup even further with a dominating 29-7 win in Jacksonville over the Jaguars.
The game was a statement game for the Colts, who have had to hear plenty as of late that the Patriots are the best team in the league. While Indy has yet to put up the gaudy numbers that New England has, one set of numbers that they do share are the only ones that matter – zero losses.
Monday night saw the Colts once again beat a team that in 2006 they were unable to defeat on the road. They used a two-headed monster in the running game of Jospeh Addai and Kenton Keith to combine for 141 yards, and Peyton Manning had his way for the most part with the Jags secondary, throwing for 259 yards and one score.
While the Colts were putting together a masterful outing, the Jags were busy trying to keep guys on the field. They were beset in the game by some big injuries, which included QB David Garrard, who left the game and will miss a few more with an ankle injury. They also lost leading rusher Maurice Jones-Drew with a sprained left knee with about a minute left in the game.
Indy put the game away by halftime, building a 17-0 lead behind Manning’s poise on offense and the defense shutting out Garrard and the Jags offense. Manning led three long drives which showed him finding pass catchers roaming in the Jags secondary. At the same time, Addai and Keith were finding holes in the usually stout Jags run defense.
The defense mopped up the rest for Indy, knocking around the Jags all night. They knocked out Garrard, and then beat up backup Quinn Gray, who went 9-for-24 for 56 yards with two picks. As usual, Bob Sanders was his usual disruptive self in the secondary making plays all over the place for the Colts.
Jacksonville, a team in the past that had given the Colts fits with their running game and physical play on defense, were no match for the Champs on this night. They ran for 117 yards, but with only 109 yards in the air they ended the evening with 226 yards while they allowed 384. They also committed three turnovers, which didn’t help matters.
So while the Colts continue to dominate alongside New England, the two start to look ahead to prepare for their collision course a week from Sunday in Indy. The Jags leave the contest with now more questions than answers, as they were knocked silly by a team they had played well against in the past, and now must deal with injuries to Garrard and possibly Jones-Drew.