What Happened Against Jaguars, Simply Can’t For Pagano’s Colts Anymore


Still smoldering after a 51-16 meltdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Chuck Pagano‘s Indianapolis Colts are left to quickly search for answers, as they rapidly clear the rubble.

Time is of the essence, as the Colts have a must win divisional game for AFC South supremacy looming large next weekend against the Houston Texans–their only hope for a playoff bid.

Dec 13, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (8) reacts after getting hit in the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. The Jacksonville Jaguars won 51-16. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, the team was once again without their star starting quarterback Andrew Luck and has been hit with a number of key injuries, including stalwart starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo among others.

However, it’s one thing to get beat by the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road because you’re both outgunned and undermanned, but it’s another thing entirely to get blown out in such embarrassing fashion all together.

After all, with or without Luck, the Houston Texans aren’t going to be feeling sorry anytime soon for these crippled Colts next weekend in what has the makings of a season-deciding game. They aren’t going to offer to sit their star player J.J. Watt to make things more fair.

Those Texans aren’t going to show the Colts any mercy and rightfully so, as both teams will have their seasons likely on the line in what should amount to a “do or die” game.

This wasn’t the Pittsburgh Steelers “Big Ben” Roethlisberger once again bullying the Colts on the field like last weekend, where the 2x Super Bowl Champion and 3x Pro Bowler amassed 364 passing yards and 4 passing touchdowns in another 45-10 Colts blowout loss.

Something that is at least stomach-able.

Dec 13, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) points against the Indianapolis Colts in the third quarter at EverBank Field. The Jaguars won 51-16. Mandatory Credit: Jim Steve-USA TODAY Sports

Instead, it was the Jacksonville Jaguars, under young and unproven starting quarterback Blake Bortles, who simply stole the Colts lunch money and our bike on his way to 250 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown in a 51-16 demolition of a Colts loss.

Don’t get me wrong, Bortles has shown considerable improvement and promise in his 2nd NFL season, but this was neither an elite NFL quarterback nor future Hall of Famer.

(At least not yet.)

The Colts didn’t just lose. They lost in embarrassing fashion.

Pick a stat, any stat.

It will tell a horrifying tale:

When the Colts lose (which seems to be occurring more and more often these days), they aren’t just getting beat, they’re getting stomped and simply run off the field. It’s not just that the Colts get beat, but such beatings occur in blowout fashion far too frequently:

At a certain point, it’s fair to question why these blowout losses keep occurring so frequently. This one stings the most and is arguably the worst loss of the Colts new regime.

As this time, it was neither a great team like Brady and Belichick’s New England Patriots dismantling the Colts nor an elite quarterback like Roethlisberger. It was the rebuilding 4-8 Jacksonville Jaguars entering today’s game–a team with young talent, but still a team that finished just 3-13 a season ago.

The Colts were beat in every facet of the game: offense, defense, and special teams, making critical errors in each.

Whether it was Andre Branch strip-sacking quarterback Matt Hasselbeck for a 49-yard fumble return for a touchdown, safety Dwight Lowery whiffing on receiver Allen Hurns en route to an 80-yard touchdown reception, or Rashad Greene returning Pat McAfee‘s punt 73 yards for a touchdown among other miscues, the Colts made mistakes today that simply can’t happen in each facet of the game.

Plays like this can’t happen:

There’s no excuses. No way to sugarcoat it.

The Colts still have life to their season because they have the luxury of playing in the woeful AFC South, but make no mistake about it, this team won’t win next weekend if they play the same lousy way they did today.

That blame is not limited to just the players, as it’s also on coaching and management from top to bottom. Everyone in the organization has to be held accountable for a dismal showing such as this.

Having Luck back soon will certainly help, but while he’s shown he can be a great player, he’s not a miracle worker. He doesn’t play on defense or special teams either.

Finger-pointing this time of year won’t get them anywhere because it’s all about results this late in the season and winning games.

The Colts have to clean it up, because what happened on Sunday simply can’t happen anymore. It’s time to clean it up or someone else may be doing the cleaning in the foreseeable future–especially with their season likely on the line next weekend.

Dec 13, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano yells during the first quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports