JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars came home to an all-too-similar result Sunday.
The start was slow. Again.
And there wasn't nearly enough after that to overcome a large deficit. Again.
With the offense also struggling again, a strong start defensively faded into a difficult second quarter, when quarterback Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts turned a tight game into rout by pulling away for a 37-3 victory over the Jaguars in front of 59,695 at EverBank Field Sunday.
The Colts outgained the Jaguars 437-205 for the game, and the margin was 239-69 at halftime. The Colts had 26 first downs to 14 for Jacksonville.
The Colts led 20-3 at halftime, meaning the Jaguars have been outscored 75-8 in the first half of four games this season.
Luck, the Colts' second-year quarterback, completed 22 of 36 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. He left the game midway through the fourth quarter.
Blaine Gabbert, starting at quarterback for the Jaguars for the first time since sustaining a lacerated hand in the regular-season opener, completed 17 of 32 passes for 179 yards and no touchdowns. He threw two first-half interceptions, each of which came after the pass deflected off wide receiver Cecil Shorts III.
Gabbert also threw a second-half interception that bounced off the hands of wide receiver Ace Sanders, a pass that appeared behind Sanders.
The Jaguars' defense kept the game close early despite the offensive struggles.
An interception by veteran cornerback Will Blackmon led directly to a 53-yard field goal by Josh Scobee, and when the Jaguars' defense stopped the Colts after 1st-and-goal from the 4, the first quarter ended with the Colts and Jaguars tied, 3-3.
The Colts took control in the second quarter.
First, a pass from Gabbert to the left side of the field bounced off the chest of Shorts. Cornerback Darius Butler made the interception and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown. The Colts then drove 81 yards on their ensuing possession, which running back Trent Richardson capped with a 1-yard run for a 20-3 lead.
Luck began the first half with a 31-yard touchdown pass to tight end Koby Fleener, who caught the pass wide open near the 10 for the easy score. The Colts then pushed the lead to 34-3 with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Luck to wide receiver Reggie Wayne with 1:22 remaining in the third quarter.
It wouldn't be accurate to say the Jaguars had momentum early in the second quarter, but they were tied with the Colts, 3-3, with the defense stuffing the Colts run in the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, Gabbert threw a pass to the left to Shorts. The ball bounced off Shorts' chest and into the hands of Butler, who returned it 41 yards for a touchdown and a 10-3 lead. The Colts drove 81 on six plays on their ensuing possession to take a 17-3 lead.
- Veteran cornerback Will Blackmon had his first career interception Sunday, a play that came in the first quarter and set up a 53-yard field goal by Scobee. Blackmon had an early interception nullified when end Jason Babin was called for lining up offsides.
- The Jaguars took their first lead since the regular-season opener when Scobee converted a 53-yard field goal in the first quarter.
- Defensive end Tyson Alualu had his first sack of the season. He now has 1.5 sacks this season.
LOOKING ON . . .
*Gabbert started for the first time in two weeks, with similar results as the opener. He completed 17 of 32 passes for 179 with three interceptions Sunday – this, after completing 16 of 35 passes with two interceptions in the regular-season opener against Kansas City. Gabbert was quick to leave the pocket at times in the second and third quarter, but he also again got little help from his receivers. Each interception bounced off the hands of receivers, including two off Shorts, who had at least three drops Sunday.
*Babin continues to struggle with penalties this season. He has six this season, including three Sunday. On Sunday, in addition to two five-yard penalties, he had a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when he hit Luck after a 17-yard pass to Wayne. That led to a second-half Colts touchdown.
Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis played for the first time this season, but continued to deal with the calf issues that have hampered him this season.
Lewis, who missed the first three games of the season with a calf injury, started, then left for the locker room with trainers midway through the first quarter because of a calf cramp. He was considered probable to return but was ruled out shortly thereafter.
Wide receiver Denard Robinson left with a hamstring injury in the second quarter. He did not return.
Also, cornerback Alan Ball left the game briefly after a downfield collision on an incomplete deep pass. He was replaced briefly by rookie Demetrius McCray, but returned on the same series.
Cornerback Dwayne Gratz missed a third consecutive game with an ankle injury, and safety Dwight Lowery (concussion), wide receiver Stephen Burton (concussion) and wide receiver Mike Brown (back) also were out.
Wide receivers Jeremy Ebert and Tobais Palmer were activated from the practice squad Saturday.
Rookie Josh Evans made his first start in place of Lowery.