Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Paul from Jacksonville:
What was the deal with that game plan? We are a rushing team and they are bad against the run. This should have been a game where we imposed our will and shoved it down their throat. Instead, we got cute and tried to get into a shootout with Peyton Manning. We've tried that before and it didn't work then, either.
Vic: I don't think the game plan was the problem. The problem was a failure to execute the game plan. Three of the first four and 10 of the first 16 plays were runs. I think the game plan was clearly tilted toward the running game but game plans change when you fall behind. In the first half, the Jaguars ran the ball 14 times and passed it nine. On the first possession of the third quarter, the Jaguars ran the ball three times and passed it once, but they got stopped on fourth down and the Colts scored on a 43-yard run two plays later to make the lead 21-10 and, at that point, the game plan had to change. I think we all made a mistake in evaluating this game. I think we put too much emphasis on the running game and not enough emphasis on balance.
Dean from Rochester, NY:
"Vic Ketchman: They didn't even measure. This is extraordinary. The Jags are gonna punt. I gotta go." Frankly, I'd rather have your late-game blog in a critical game than any locker room interviews after the game.
Vic: That's very kind of you to say, but they don't pay me to do one thing. I have many things to do and I can't do them trapped in the press box waiting for an elevator as postgame interviews are being conducted. As it stood, Jack Del Rio met with the media much sooner after the game than he usually does, so it was good that I got downstairs. The Lucas Oil Stadium press box elevator is small and makes many stops along the way. It is in express mode for the media with six minutes to go in the game and we are directed to the media interview rooms, where we are able to watch the final minutes on TV. Getting back to that final entry, I am still stunned they didn't measure on fourth down. I must've missed something.
Llyr from Cardiff, Wales:
The more the league tries to protect receivers, the more their quarterbacks put them in danger.
Vic: You're right. Austin Collie sustained another concussion and frightening down-on-the-turf moment running the same down-the-left-seam pass route that caused him to be taken from the field on a stretcher in Philadelphia. Maybe the Colts should find somebody else to run that route.
Troy from Murrieta, CA:
Can you tell me why they didn't kick a field goal when there were 20 seconds left in the game?
Vic: The NFL limits Hail-Mary touchdowns to one per team per season.
James from Orange Park, FL:
Can you explain why we looked so sloppy? We got some breaks and, in my opinion, so did they, yet, we could never pin the Colts down.
Vic: I can't explain it, neither can I explain why it was one of the strangest Jaguars-Colts games I have ever covered. Neither team was true to its identity. The Jaguars didn't run the ball nor stop the run, and the Colts got strangely conservative when they had a chance to put the game away in the fourth quarter.
Sam from Jacksonville:
If the Jaguars finished 7-9 last year, how are they doing better this year?
Vic: Well, they're 8-6 which, by my math, is better than 7-9, and if they should win their next two games they'd finish 10-6, which might qualify for the playoffs or would become one of the few 10-6 records in history not to make it into the playoffs. That wouldn't represent improvement?
Robert from Orange Park, FL:
I am a diehard Jaguars fan but right now I do not want them to make the playoffs. I mean, they have a chance to prove themselves and they completely screw it up. How are people supposed to support a team when every year they just set us up for disappointment?
Vic: Oh, no, don't bring that wimpy crap here. This is a tough column for tough guys and I won't have whining and crying about disappointment. Hey, life's tough. How do you think Giants fans feel today? It happens. I will not abide by this they-ripped-my-heart-out stuff. You agree to subject yourself to that possibility when you become a fan and, I promise you, it happens to all fans of all teams. What are they supposed to do, let you cry on their shoulder and promise they won't do it again? Not in this column; no way. I won't allow this kind of thing.
Kevin from Starkville, MS:
So what are our chances of making it to the playoffs now? Do we have to just hope the Raiders show up next Sunday against the Colts?
Vic: The Jags need someone to beat the Colts. I think the best chance of that happening is next week in Oakland. The Jags would also win the division title if the Colts lost their last two and the Jaguars won just one of their last two, but I don't think that's going to happen. The best chance of winning the division, in my opinion, if by beating Washington and Houston and Oakland beating the Colts. The Raiders have the pass-defense, pass-rush and running game to do it.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Has Jim Caldwell started a movement in the NFL by calling time just before the onside kick, in order to get a look at what the Jags were planning to do?
Vic: I think it was a smart play because it eliminated one strategy for attempting an onside kick, which was the Jaguars' sunburst play. In other words, it eliminated Plan A and made the Jaguars go to Plan B, but what if Plan B had worked? I'm not sure where I stand on this time out stuff. I think it's more important to be ready to go.
Adam from Jacksonville:
I know the call didn't decide the game, but what is your opinion on the non-penalty on the muffed punt? To me, I find it hard to say he was blocked into Thomas, given the fact that he took five steps and traveled almost 10 yards after contact.
Vic: I'm sure we'll hear more about this and I promise to contact a guy I know who will give a full explanation of the call in tomorrow's column, but here's my initial thought: Loss of ball is far too harsh a penalty to sustain for a block in the back.
Andrew from Charlotte, NC:
Props to Del Rio for going for it on fourth down. You have to keep your offense on the field to beat the Colts. He made it the first time and I like the call the second time. Do you think Maurice Jones-Drew would have had it if he caught the pitch?
Vic: No, I don't think he would've gotten the first down, but I think David Garrard would've gotten it easily if he had just run a quarterback sneak into a gaping hole the Colts had left over center. The middle linebacker was flexed more than a yard off the ball.
Bill from Woodbury, MN:
You said: "Fumbled pitch, Colts' ball. They'll have the ball at the Jaguars 38. Whoa! Hmmm. Ouch! You know what I mean?" I know you were being as nice as could be, and I think I know what you mean. Being down by only four and on your own side of the field, the call to go for it there morphed from what usually appears like aggressive football (going for it on fourth down) to what appeared as desperate. Am I close?
Vic: It's all a matter of how old you are. I'm from a generation that punted the ball any time they were outside the opponents' 30-yard line; that's the absolute truth. Bill Belichick changed all of that. He proved that good teams go for it and make it all over the field, so preference on this becomes a matter of how old you are. I understand what coach Del Rio was doing. He was attempting to make a play that would change the game. He was attempting to seize control; dominate time of possession, keep Peyton Manning off the field and all of that stuff we talked about all last week. If it works, it's great. If it doesn't, the older generation is going to say it wasn't worth the risk.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
You just have to give the Colts credit. They got physical this week. Let's see if the bumps and bruises follow them to Oakland. It's tough every week. The Jaguars looked a little less physical this week.
Vic: You're right. I tip my cap to the Colts for playing football the way it should be played. They blocked and tackled. They hit. They ran hard. They won up front. They won the battle of the hitting.
Vince from Tampa, FL:
Why is it that the Colts are leading the division?
Vic: The Colts are not leading the division. They are tied with the Jaguars for the division lead but the Colts are in control of their own destiny, which means they will win the division title should they win their next two games, based on a better record in common games. That's the tiebreaker that would be employed.
Eddy from Los Angeles, CA:
Would you say it's time for everyone to panic?
Vic: Sure, that'll solve everything. Let's all go nuts. It's so dignified, too.
Todd from St. Johns, FL:
Do other teams have trouble with their communications equipment or is it just the Jags?
Vic: Several teams have difficulty with their communication equipment in New England. These things happen. For example, years ago when Paul Brown was coaching the Bengals, the Riverfront Stadium scoreboard always went out when the Steelers had the ball and were driving late in the game. I hadn't heard of problems previously with the communication equipment in Indianapolis.
Daniel from Jacksonville:
I couldn't help but notice that MJD was on the sideline a lot toward the end, when the game was on the line. Did he aggravate an injury?
Vic: I don't know; maybe they just wanted Rashad Jennings in there because of his pass-catching ability. I do, however, think the knee bothered Jones-Drew on Sunday.
Ed from Orange Park, FL:
One hundred fifty yards rushing and plus-2 in turnovers was the winning combination. Too bad it was for the other team.
Vic: My formula for winning the game was "get 31 (points) and two (turnovers)." The Colts did.
Brett from Ocoee, FL:
I still think the Jaguars have a better chance of beating the Redskins and the Texans than the Colts have of beating the Raiders and Titans.
Vic: That's an interesting perspective.
Scott from Ann Arbor, MI:
Watching the fourth quarter of the Jets vs. Steelers, I couldn't help but notice the defense the Jets were playing looked an awful lot like the "hell" defense you referred to a few weeks ago. It really caused the Steelers offensive line fits not knowing which side of the line was overloaded and who they each needed to block.
Vic: A one-man rush would cause the Steelers offensive line fits.