*OVERVIEW … *
LONDON – The Jaguars really, really needed a victory Sunday.
They got it in their fourth International Series appearance, but even after building a big lead it wasn't close to easy.
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, and kicker Jason Myers added three field goals before the Jaguars held on for a hold-your-breath 30-27 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in front of 83,764 at Wembley Stadium in London Sunday afternoon.
Bortles' second touchdown of the game went to wide receiver Allen Hurns with 5:03 remaining in the fourth quarter and was perhaps the game's key play. The other critical moment came with 1:36 remaining when Colts quarterback Andrew Luck's short pass on 4th-and-1 from the Jaguars 48 fell incomplete.
That came with the Jaguars leading 30-27. The Jaguars punted and defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks' sack – the Jaguars' fifth of the game – helped keep the Colts from rallying.
With the Colts having rallied from a 23-6 deficit to make it 23-20, Bortles passed to Hurns on the right sideline. He caught the pass, broke a tackle and weaved around the Colts' defense for a critical 42-yard touchdown and a 30-20 Jaguars lead.
Bortles' first half touchdowns and Myers' first field goal gave the Jaguars a 17-6 halftime lead and Myers converted two third-quarter field goals to help the Jaguars to a 17-point lead.
Bortles completed 19 of 37 passes for 202 yards with no interceptions and also rushed seven times for 36 yards. Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson caught five passes for 55 yards and an early touchdown.
The Jaguars also established a more effective running game than any of their first three games, rushing for 136 yards.
The Jaguars overcame 11 penalties for 145 yards.
The Jaguars' defense was effective for a second consecutive week. Luck completed 27 of 42 passes for 234 yards and the Colts finished with 284 total yards.
The Jaguars took an early 7-0 lead when Bortles passed three yards to Robinson. The play came five plays and 24 yards after rookie defensive end Yannick Ngakoue's first career interception. T.J. Yeldon ran twice for 25 yards on the drive and Bortles completed the touchdown off play action.
Adam Vinatieri converted a 53-yard field goal on the Colts' next possession, with middle linebacker Paul Posluszny leading a key multiplayer sack on 1st-and-10 from the Jaguars 25 to key the stop. Vinatieri's field goal made it 7-3.
Vinatieri's 50-yard field goal with 8:53 remaining in the second quarter pulled the Colts to within 7-6.
Bortles extended the Jaguars' lead to 14-6 with a one-yard quarterback keeper late in the second quarter. That came two plays after a pass interference penalty on Colts cornerback Patrick Robinson defending Robinson gave the Jaguars 1st-and-goal at the Colts 1.
The Jaguars drove 75 yards on 10 plays. Bortles kicked the ball into the stands after the touchdown.
The Jaguars then drove 75 yards on eight plays on their final first-half possession, taking a 17-6 lead when Myers converted a 22-yard field goal.
Myers' 46-yard field goal capped the Jaguars' first drive of the second half and gave Jacksonville a 20-6 lead and his 49-yarder late in the period made it 23-6.
Frank Gore pulled the Colts to within 23-13 with a one-yard touchdown run with 14:48 remaining in the fourth quarter. That play was set up by a 35-yard interference penalty on Jaguars safety Johnathan Cyprien.
A two-yard touchdown pass from Luck to wide receiver T.Y. Hilton made it 23-20 with 7:06 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Hurns' touchdown extended the lead before Luck found wide receiver Philip Dorsett wide open for a 64-yard touchdown to make it 30-27, Jaguars, with 3:03 remaining.
PLAYER OF THE GAME …
Allen Robinson, wide receiver.His statistics don't reveal his importance in this game. He caught 11 passes for 55 yards and a touchdown, but he was dominating the Colts' secondary in the second quarter as the Jaguars not only got their footing offensively but took control of the game. Robinson drew multiple penalties from the Colts' secondary, including a pass interference on Patrick Robinson that gave the Jaguars a 1st-and-goal at the Colts 1. Bortles' one-yard run two plays later gave the Jaguars a 14-6 lead.
The Jaguars' offense turned in its most balanced, effective game of the season. The Jaguars rushed for 136 and finished with 195 yards passing for 331 total yards and 23 first downs.
The defense set up the game's first touchdown when Ngakoue recorded his first career interception on a tipped pass. The Jaguars had three first-half sacks and finished with five for the game. Indianapolis had 282 total yards.
Myers converted three field goals in the second and third quarters pushing an eight-point lead – 14-6 – to 23-6 with 2:51 remaining in the third quarter.
INJURY UPDATES …*
Left tackle Luke Joeckel sustained a second-quarter knee injury and was ruled out of the game at halftime. Tight end Marcedes Lewis sustained a hip injury shortly after Joeckel's injury and did not return.
Offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum was reported with a back injury in the third quarter but he returned().
Myles Jack made his first NFL start Sunday. Jack, the Jaguars' second-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft and a player some believed a possible Top 5 selection, started at Otto linebacker with starting Otto Dan Skuta ruled inactive with a hip injury.
Other Jaguars inactives Sunday: quarterback Brandon Allen, cornerback Dwayne Gratz, defensive end Jared Odrick (triceps), tight end Julius Thomas (elbow), guard Chris Reed and tight end Ben Koyack (meniscus tear). Tyson Alualu made a second consecutive start at strong-side defensive end in place of Odrick and second-year veteran Neal Sterling started at tight end for Thomas.
STANDING OUT …
*Ngakoue is having a striking impact for a third-round-drafted rookie. He not only recorded his first career interception Sunday he had a sack-forced fumble in both Weeks 2 and 3. He later in the first quarter added his third sack in as many weeks. Second-year defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.'s pressure and tipped pass led to Ngakoue's interception.
*Yeldon was key for a rejuvenated Jaguars running game early, rushing for 40 yards six first-half carries. The Jaguars rushed for 80 yards in the first half and Yeldon finished with 71 yards on 14 carries. Jacksonville finished with 136 yards rushing after struggling in that area in the first three game.