INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Tyson Alualu cared little about appearances Sunday.
The Jaguars beat the Indianapolis Colts, 17-3, pulling away from a tie game at halftime with a pair of hard-earned second-half touchdowns to beat the NFL's only remaining winless team in front of 64,619 at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis Sunday afternoon.
The Jaguars didn't dominate statistically, and they made some costly errors. As a result, the outcome wasn't decided until midway through the fourth quarter.
What mattered far more to Alualu than that was this:
The Jaguars won.
And that means the second half of the season started the way the Jaguars wanted.
"It's a great feeling," said Alualu, whose fourth-quarter fumble recovery set up a three-yard game-clinching touchdown run by Maurice Jones-Drew with 3:52 remaining.
"It's something I feel we need to get used to. I just feel we're a step closer to where we want to head. We just have to focus on getting another win next week and take it one game at a time."
The Jaguars (3-6) won for a second time in three games, and won their first game after a midseason bye week. The Colts slipped to 0-10 a year after winning a second consecutive AFC South title.
"It was a huge win for us," Jaguars center Brad Meester said. "We talked all bye week about starting fast the second half. You never know what can happen. We just had to start fast, and we were able to do that. We got a win in the division and that was key for us."
The Jaguars, who out-gained the Colts 251-212, took a 3-0 lead with a 44-yard field goal by Josh Scobee with 2:44 remaining in the first quarter. The Colts tied it with a 42-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri with 14:20 remaining in the first half.
Jones-Drew rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries, while the defense limited Indianapolis to 84 yards on 23 carries. The Jaguars also registered five sacks and forced three turnovers.
"It was a good effort," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said. "We leaned on our defense and our running game. It was important for us to come in and get a divisional win."
It remained tied at halftime, but the Jaguars turned in one of their best drives of the season in the third quarter, moving 86 yards on 16 plays on a possession that used 9:40. Rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert converted the opportunity into points with an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jarett Dillard on 3rd-and-3 with 1:49 remaining in the third quarter.
"That was a good ball – well-executed by the quarterback," Del Rio said
It was Dillard's first career touchdown.
"It was a great touchdown at a great time in the game," Dillard said. "It was almost set up like it was set up in college. I saw the defender playing outside leverage. I said, 'Well, I'm going to take the inside and release.' That's just what happened."
Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny ended the Colts' ensuing drive with an interception off quarterback Curtis Painter at the Jaguars 21, and one possession later, defensive end Jeremy Mincey and Alualu combined for the turnover that clinched the victory.
On the play, defensive end Jeremy Mincey knocked the ball from Dan Orlovsky as he set to pass. The ball caromed forward and Alualu caught it at the 15 and returned it to the 7. Jones-Drew's three-yard run up the middle three plays later made it 17-3.
The Jaguars will travel to Cleveland to play the Browns next week.
"It feels great," Jones-Drew said. "A lot of guys in the locker room, they hate losing. They take it in different ways. A lot of guys aren't as emotional as I am. They don't speak out as much as I do. We were talking in the bye week how we had to change it. We were practicing better. We have to take it one game at a time.
"We won one. Now we're 0-0 going against Cleveland and we have to win that one."
*Mincey finished with 2.5 sacks in addition to forcing the game-clinching fumble. "He was a force out there today for us," Del Rio said.
*Cornerback Rashean Mathis sustained a second-quarter knee injury and did not return. "He was having a good year for us," Del Rio said. "He's a good football player. We're just saying some prayers and keeping our hope alive. At this point it wasn't good because he wasn't able to return." Del Rio said Mathis will undergo an MRI upon returning to Jacksonville.
*Alualu caught a fumble in mid-air late in the fourth quarter to set up the Jaguars' game-clinching touchdown. It was originally ruled an interception, but that was changed when it was determined that defensive end Jeremy Mincey knocked the ball from quarterback Dan Orlosvsky before Orlovsky started to throw. Alualu said he was less upset about not getting the interception than failing to score. He returned the fumble seven yards to the Colts 8. "The only thing that bothers me is I was that close and should have gotten in for a score," Alualu said. "I can't complain. Our offense finished it off and I'm happy with the results."
*Jaguars linebacker Clint Session on beating his former team, the Colts: "It feels good to come up and get a win versus a real good team. Regardless of (quarterback) Peyton (Manning) there or not, there's history there. They're a good team. Hopefully, we'll keep moving from there.
*Jones- Drew on the Jaguars' passing offense, which finished with 118 yards Sunday: "As long as we keep working in practice and getting that timing down – getting guys where we need to be and the ball where it needs to be – our passing game is going to start to flourish, we just have to continue to work on that."
*Jones-Drew said while Dillard's touchdown was key and impressive, the aftermath . . . well, it wasn't pretty. "You want to know what I was really thinking?" Jones-Drew said. "That was a horrible celebration by him. He needs to work on that. It was bad." Dillard followed his touchdown with a simple spike. "He's an old-school guy," Jones-Drew said. "I don't know why."
*Jones-Drew rushed for 78 yards on 13 carries in the first half, and averaged six yards a carry. He said he was more satisfied with the second half. "You can average six yards, but if you're not scoring points it doesn't matter," Jones-Drew said.