Manning threw early and often, and ended the day with 229 yards with two touchdowns passes to Austin Collie, and the Colts defense held Jacksonville’s stout running attack to a mere 67 yards, with Maurice Jones-Drew going for just 46 yards on 15 carries.
The loss means that the Jags now need to win their last two games and get a Colts loss to take back the division. If the Colts win their last two, the Jags lose out on a championship they were a game away from having Sunday.
Donald Brown rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown for Indy, who built a 14-3 and 21-10 lead before the Jags got it close with 1:54 left at 24-17. Then on the kickoff after the Jags score, Tyjuan Hagler returned it 41 yards for a Colts score to put the game away.
David Garrard, dealing with a hamstring injury that limited him at practice this week, had 294 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for Jacksonville (8-6), which had won five of six coming in.
Mike Thomas returned a punt for a touchdown but also lost a key fumble in the defeat for the Jags, who will wrap up the season with a home game vs Washington and then a road game at Houston.
The Colts will play at Oakland and at home against the Titans to wrap up the regular season, and the Jaguars will very much be scoreboard watching the Colts games while they also need to take care of business.
Despite only trailing 14-10, the Jaguars went for it on 4th-and-1 from their own 39-yard line on the first touch of the second half. The decision backfired as Maurice Jones-Drew fumbled a pitch, resulting in a turnover on downs.
After a false start penalty, Brown took a stretch handoff to the left and went up the sideline for a 43-yard touchdown with 12:19 remaining in the third.
Thomas’ muffed punt, caused by the Colts’ Taj Smith getting blocked into the returner just as the ball arrived, led to an Adam Vinatieri 34-yard field goal at the 8:47 mark.
Thomas had a 39-yard catch to move into Colts territory on the next drive, and Marcedes Lewis made a sensational one-handed grab to gain the six. From there, Garrard found Mike Sims-Walker with 3:54 left in the third.
On the final play of the frame, Antoine Bethea intercepted a Garrard pass at his own 13 and returned the pick 31 yards. Vinatieri’s 37-yard kick made it a two-possession game, 27-17, with 9:57 to play.
Sims-Walker’s one-yard TD reception with 1:54 showing made things interesting, but Hagler scooped up Josh Scobee’s onsides kick and went 41 yards the other way for the score, clinching the Colts’ second straight win.
Brown’s 49-yard jaunt on the game’s opening drive preceded Collie’s seven- yard touchdown just 3:39 into the game.