INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Jaguars scrapped Sunday, impressively and memorably. And particularly defensively.
A tough start was too much to overcome.
With quarterback Trevor Lawrence struggling early and improving late, and with a mistake-filled first quarter meaning a 17-0 deficit, a gritty defensive effort through the final three quarters wasn't enough Sunday. The Jaguars lost to the Indianapolis Colts, 23-17, in front of 60,622 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"One thing about that locker room is they fight for each other, care for each other," Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer said.
Lawrence fumbled while scrambling on a potential game-winning drive. Colts defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo forced the fumble and defensive end Kemoko Turay recovered at the Colts 45 with :50 remaining.
"Frustrated, obviously," Lawrence said.
Lawrence's fumble was the game's lone turnover.
"Just have to take care of the ball," he said. "Just have to take care of it. That's on me."
The Jaguars, winners of two of three games entering Sunday, slipped to 2-7. The Colts (5-5) won for a fourth time in five games.
"The greatest attribute of this team is no matter what people say about us we're going to keep fighting," said Jaguars tight end Dan Arnold, whose two-point reception from Lawrence early in the fourth quarter followed a one-yard touchdown run by James running back James Robinson and pulled the Jaguars to within three points.
Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, completed 16 of 35 passes for 162 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions. He was three of 14 for 36 yards in the first half. The Jaguars finished with 331 yards after having 154 yards at halftime – with 66 on a touchdown run by wide receiver Jamal Agnew.
"We have a lot of belief right now in that locker room," Lawrence said. "It just stings when you end the game that way. This one hurts because I'm frustrated with myself. We had no doubt we were going to go with the game. You just have to go finish it."
Meyer called the offensive performance overall "awful," particularly in the first half. The Jaguars have scored 33 points in the last three games.
"We just have to play better," Lawrence said. "That starts with me."
The Jaguars have scored 33 points in the last three games.
The effort against Colts running back Jonathan Taylor defined the Jaguars defensively.
Taylor, who entered the game as the NFL's second-leading rusher, was effective early. He rushed for 34 yards on the game's first play and had 107 yards rushing at halftime but finished with just 116 yards rushing and a touchdown on 21 carries.
"We went back to our ball," Jaguars cornerback Shaq Griffin said, adding that it was a matter of the defense "settling down after the first quarter. "That's the only thing we changed."
That allowed the Jaguars to inch into the game.
Running back James Robinson, playing after missing last week's victory over Buffalo with a heel injury, cut the Colts' lead to three, 20-17, with a one-yard dive and 10:34 remaining. The Jaguars rushed for 179 yards Sunday, including Agnew's 66-yarder. Robinson rushed for 57 yards on 12 carries and rushed for 52 yards in the second half.
The Jaguars regained possession with 8:24 remaining and a chance to tie or take the lead, but three plays netted one yard. The Colts drove for a 37-yard field goal by kicker Michael Badgley on the ensuing possession and led, 23-17, with 2:22 remaining.
Lawrence's lost fumble came on the ensuing series.
"We turned the ball over," Arnold said. "Unfortunately, that's how this game goes sometimes."
Colts quarterback Carson Wentz completed 22 of 34 passes for 180 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions. The Colts had 295 total yards, including 116 in the first quarter.
The Jaguars registered one sack Sunday – by defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton in the first quarter. They had no takeaways and have five on the season, with three coming in a victory over Buffalo last Sunday.
"We're going to get this thing turned around," Griffin said.
Step by step:
- The Colts took a 3-0 lead when Badgley converted a 24-yard field goal to finish the opening drive with 9:57 remaining in the first quarter. The Colts quickly pushed the lead to double digits when linebacker E.J. Speed returned a blocked punt 12 yards for a touchdown after the Jaguars went three-and-out on their first possession; linebacker Zaire Franklin blocked the punt, with the touchdown giving Indianapolis a 10-0 lead with 8:23 remaining in the first quarter. The Colts took a 17-0 lead when they drove easily on their second offensive series, with Taylor's four-yard run capping an eight-play 53-yard drive. The Colts had out gained the Jaguars 116-8 at that point and had seven first downs to none for Jacksonville. Agnew's 66-yard run on an inside handoff on the ensuing possession made it 17-6, Colts, with 1:03 remaining in the first quarter – and it stayed that way when kicker Matthew Wright missed the extra point.
- The second quarter was low-key compared to the first, with Badgley converting from 29 yards with 1:43 remaining in the half to push the Colts' lead to 20-6. Wright converted from 56 yards on the final play of the half to make it 20-9, Colts.
- The Jaguars cut into the lead early in the fourth quarter when Robinson capped a 10-play, 65-yard drive with a one-yard dive to make it 20-15 with 10:34 remaining. Lawrence passed to tight end Dan Arnold for the two-point conversion to make it 20-17.
Notable: The Jaguars, after entering the game last in the NFL in third-down conversions offensively, converted five of 13 Sunday. … Robinson played Sunday after being listed as questionable on the team's final injury report of the week Friday. Carlos Hyde started in place of Robinson. … The Jaguars' five inactives Sunday: Wide receiver Tyron Johnson, cornerback Tre Herndon, defensive end/linebacker Jordan Smith, running back Devine Ozigbo and tight end Jacob Hollister.
Injury report: Linebacker Dakota Allen sustained a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter.
Check out these top game photos of the Jacksonville Jaguars as they take on the Indianapolis Colts for Week 10 of the NFL Regular Season.