INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Senior writer John Oehser examines five key plays from the Jaguars' 34-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in a 2022 Week 6 game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., Sunday
1. Huge hole, then uh-oh. Running back Travis Etienne Jr. gave the Jaguars a huge opportunity early Sunday, but that opportunity vanished quickly. Etienne, who started Sunday after a career-high 71 yards rushing on 10 carries last week in a loss to the Houston Texans, burst through a huge hole on the Jaguars' first series Sunday. The 48-yard run on 1st-and-10 from the Jaguars 25 gave the Jaguars a first down at the Colts 27. But quarterback Trevor Lawrence rolled into a sack by Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner on 3rd-and-9 from the 26. The play lost 15 yards and moved the Jaguars out of field-goal range. Etienne's early run set the tone for the day, with the Jaguars rushing for 243 yards on 33 carries. "Offensive line," said Etienne, who led the Jaguars with 86 yards on 10 carries. "They were out there creating holes for us. A running back is a reflection of the offensive line. When they do a great job, we do a great job. I give all my credit to the O-line."
2. Back-to-back – and in. Etienne continued to be a big part of the offense on the second series – and the Jaguars also got a big play from speed weapon to get in position to take the lead. After taking over at their 44 after a Colts punt, Etienne turned a screen pass into a 22-yard gain to the Colts 20. "Travis has been great," Lawrence said. "You guys see how hard he runs." Wide receiver Jamal Agnew then ran 19 yards to the Colts 1 with a reverse, with Lawrence's one-yard sneak on third down giving the Jaguars a 7-0 lead with 3:48 remaining in the first quarter. A 14-yard run by running back James Robinson on the possession's first play set the tone for the drive.
3. All.The.Way. Sometimes, like last week for the Jaguars against the Texans, touchdowns come hard. Sometimes they come easy, which is what happened for the Jaguars early in second quarter Sunday. The Jaguars pieced together a drive to their 39, where they faced 3rd-and-1. Running from a heavy package against a bunched defensive look for the Colts, Lawrence handed to reserve running back JaMycal Hasty. He burst through a hole in the right side of the line and raced down the right sideline untouched for a 61-yard touchdown and a 14-3 Jaguars lead with 11:27 remaining in the second quarter.
4. Etienne – again and again. The Jaguars' running game was effective throughout Sunday – and Etienne's explosiveness repeatedly keyed the area. The Jaguars took possession to start the second half needing momentum and points after the Colts cut an 11-point lead to 14-13 late in the first half. They got that momentum when Etienne opened the half with a 27-yard run over right guard for a first down at the Colts 48. Lawrence threw 20 yards to wide receiver Tim Jones five plays later, then scored his second rushing touchdown of the game on the ensuing play – a two-yarder that gave the Jaguars a 21-13 lead with 10:55 remaining in the third quarter. Lawrence rushed six times for 23 yards and two touchdowns Sunday. "That's a part of my game I'm comfortable with and I know that can help us if needed," he said.
5. Zip to Zay. If there was a positive from Sunday for the Jaguars, it was an 18-play, 84-yard drive in the fourth quarter that gave them a 27-26 lead. The drive consumed 10:03 and very nearly gave Lawrence the most memorable late-game moment of his career. Lawrence, who rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another Sunday, completed five of five passes for 33 yards on the drive – and his most impressive pass may have been an 18-yarder to wide receiver Zay Jones on 3rd-and-13 from the Jaguars 38. Lawrence, who completed 20 of 22 passes for 163 yards with no interceptions Sunday, capped the go-ahead drive with a four-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Christian Kirk to give the Jaguars the lead with 2:44 remaining.
5a. Oh no. The Jaguars got their needed points with Kirk's touchdown, but the Colts moved steadily to put the one-point lead in jeopardy. They then converted the biggest play of the game when quarterback Matt Ryan threw deep down the right sideline on 3rd-and-13 from the Jaguars 32. After being in range for a potential 50-yard field goal, they instead had the game-winning points when rookie wide receiver Alec Pierce caught the pass for a touchdown pass down the sideline over Jaguars cornerback Shaq Griffin with :17 remaining. "I've been here before; it's not my first rodeo," Griffin said. "I've been in the league for a while now. My main thing is I'm hurt because I feel like I let my team down. There were a lot of plays I had out there that I did make, but with the last one it doesn't matter what I made today. The last on hurt me the worst. I put this loss on me, but when it comes to bouncing back, I fear nothing."