JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines five key plays in the Jaguars' 23-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in a 2021 Week 10 game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., Sunday
1. Breakout opener. The Jaguars all week discussed stopping running back Jonathan Taylor, the unquestioned key to defending Indianapolis. Taylor made immediate impact, taking a handoff from quarterback Carson Wentz and running 34 yards to the Jaguars 34 on the game's first play from scrimmage. Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins ran him out of bounds, and the Colts moved 29 more yards in nine plays with kicker Michael Badgley converting from 24 yards for a 3-0 lead with 9:57 remaining in the first quarter. Taylor rushed five times for 52 yards on the drive and finished with 116 yards rushing and one touchdown on 21 carries.
2. Blo-o-o-o-o-ock. The Colts took momentum early, not only with the game-opening drive but by stopping the Jaguars on the ensuing possession and turning a special-teams play into a double-digit lead. After the Jaguars failed to produce a first down, Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin rushed past Jaguars safety Andrew Wingard and blocked punter Logan Cooke's punt. Colts linebacker E.J. Speed recovered the block and broke tackles to fall into the end zone near the pylon for a 10-0 Colts lead with 8:23 remaining in the first quarter. "It was a twist," Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer said. "It was a looper and we just made an error. I don't want to say anything until I know exactly what happened."
3. Grind, grind, grind. Sunday was all Colts early for many reasons. Not only did the Colts get big plays from Taylor and special teams early, they didn't need big plays to be effective – driving 53 yards on their second series for a methodical touchdown. Taylor opened the drive with a 20-yard run, and the rest of the drive was plays under 10 yards. Taylor rushed five times for 41 yards on the drive, which he capped with a four-yard touchdown run to give the Colts a 17-0 lead with 2:48 remaining in the first quarter. Taylor at that point had rushed for 93 yards on nine carries.
4. Agnew all the way – easily. A game the Colts dominated early didn't feel as one-sided as might have been the case as the first quarter ended. Jaguars kicker Jamal Agnew was why. With the Colts leading 17-0 and outgaining the Jaguars 116-8, the Jaguars turned in a possession that helped them gain momentum. They started at their 22, and faced 1st-and-10 after a 12-yard pass from rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence to wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. Agnew on the ensuing play took an inside handoff from Lawrence and ran through a huge hole on the left side of the Colts' defense for a 66-yard touchdown. That cut the Colts' lead to 17-6 with 1:03 remaining in a wild first quarter that ended with that score after kicker Matthew Wright missed the extra point following Agnew's touchdown. The Jaguars went three and out on six of their first seven possessions, with the drive featuring Agnew's touchdown the lone exception.
5. Deep to Jones – and more. The Jaguars' recent struggles to make plays downfield continued in a big way Sunday – but Lawrence's deepest successful throw downfield in the last three games was one of the biggest plays Sunday and helped get the Jaguars back in the game. Lawrence on 3rd-and-10 from the Jaguars 35 threw a back-shoulder pass that wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. caught for a 23-yard gain to the Colts 42. The Jaguars had entered the game last in the NFL for third-down conversions and were two of 11 on Sunday before the pass to Jones. The Jaguars scored seven plays later and running back James Robinson's one-yard dive – and ensuing two-point conversion pass from Lawrence to tight end Dan Arnold – made it 20-17, Colts, with 10:34 remaining. "That was huge to get us back in the game," Lawrence said of the drive.
5a. Fumble. The Jaguars' effort to get back in the game Sunday was remarkable – and very remarkably, they took possession on their 25 with 2:37 remaining trailing 23-17. This was just after the defense allowed a five-minute drive, but held the Colts to a 37-yard field goal by Badgley. A two-yard run by Robinson gave the Jaguars a first down at their 26, and back-to back checkdown passes from Lawrence to Robinson for nine yards gave the Jaguars a first down at the Colts 46. The Jaguars took their second timeout at that point with 1:02 remaining. But Lawrence scrambled on the next play, fumbling as he was hit by defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo just before Lawrence hit the ground. Defensive end Kemoko Turay recovered at the Colts 45 with :50 remaining for the game's only takeaway and Wentz knelt three times to end the game. "Just have to take care of the ball," Lawrence said. "I just have to take care of it. That's on me."