Jack Del Rio planned to do his own review of the penalty that allowed the Colts to continue their game-winning touchdown drive, and chances were Del Rio wasn't going to like what he would see.
"The last drive, we get an exceptionally late call, so I'll be taking a look at that one," Del Rio said following the Jaguars' 24-17 loss at Alltel Stadium on Sunday.
A holding penalty against cornerback Dewayne Washington on a third-and-five pass incompletion by quarterback Peyton Manning provided the Colts with a second chance, and they used that opportunity to drive 69 more yards in 11 more plays and score the game-winning touchdown on a three-yard run by Edgerrin James.
"It was a cheap call but they called it," safety Deon Grant said of the penalty on Washington, who was in coverage on the opposite side of the field from Manning's pass for wide receiver Marvin Harrison.
Only moments previously, the Jaguars had tied the game following a 40-yard touchdown pass from Byron Leftwich to Jimmy Smith on a fourth-and-one play, and a two-point conversion pass from Leftwich to rookie tight end Brian Jones.
It marked the Jaguars' first taste of defeat this season. In this case, it was the kind of bitter taste that goes with knowing the outcome could've very easily been different; maybe it should've been different.
"We left some plays out there on the field," Leftwich said in the postgame interview session.
Yeah, they left a lot of plays out on the field, the result of not converting several short-yardage situations that would've sustained drives and allowed the Jaguars to enjoy an even greater time of possession advantage. As it was, the Jaguars held the ball 11 minutes and six seconds longer than the Colts did.
The Jaguars were better in most major statistical categories, including total net yards and third-down efficiency. But they failed in one very big way: The Colts were three-for-three in red-zone touchdowns; the Jaguars went without a touchdown in two red-zone appearances.
Leftwich enjoyed one of the best days of his two-year career. He completed 29 of 41 passes for 318 yards, a touchdown, no interceptions and a 101.5 passer rating. It's a performance that may satisfy those fans who were insisting on more offensive output, but it didn't produce a win.
"I'm not looking for good statistical games. I'm looking for a win," Leftwich said.
"The bottom line is winning. That's why Tom Brady is deserving of the credit he gets, because he's won Super Bowls. Winning is more important than lighting up the scoreboard with stats. I think we're going to win a lot with our guy," Del Rio said.
As a result of Sunday's performance, the Jaguars offense will almost certainly move out of last place in the league rankings. Clearly, the Jaguars would prefer to have one of those ugly wins that had become their specialty over the first couple weeks of the season.
The Jaguars also suffered another major setback on Sunday. Left tackle Mike Pearson suffered what was thought to be a season-ending knee injury in the third quarter. Del Rio confirmed those fears in his postgame interview.
"I'm disappointed this didn't end in a win but the guys played hard and we battled a very good football team; a very potent offense. We just didn't make enough plays," Del Rio said.
After the Colts had taken a 24-17 lead, the Jaguars moved from their 20-yard line to the Indianapolis 45 at the two-minute warning. The Jaguars faced a fourth-and-one.
"We elected to go with Fred (Taylor)," Del Rio said.
Taylor was stopped short of the first-down marker and that ruling was upheld by replay review.
"I thought it was a first down. When I saw the spot, I was shocked," Leftwich said.
Defensively, the Jaguars forced Manning and company into two three-and-out possessions and intercepted Manning on the first play of another possession, but the Colts cut down the field with ease on three far-too-easy touchdown drives.
"We were fairly effective on third down," Del Rio said of his defense, which limited the Colts to three for eight. "The crowd showed up and was excited. We just weren't able to get it done."
Rookie linebacker Daryl Smith turned the Jaguars in the right direction in the fourth quarter. Smith tipped a Manning pass that was intended for tight end Dallas Clark. The ball fell into Smith's hands as he lay on the ground. Four plays later, Leftwich and Smith hooked up for the touchdown that led to a 17-17 tie.
Indianapolis took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when Manning moved his team 75 yards in seven plays. His 15-yard pass to Harrison opened the scoring, as Harrison beat cornerback Juran Bolden.
That touchdown drive followed the Jaguars' two-down failure to convert on short-yardage attempts. On third-and-two, Taylor gained a yard. On fourth-and-one, LaBrandon Toefield was stopped for no gain.
Early in the second quarter, rookie kicker Josh Scobee missed a 35-yard field-goal attempt and the Colts took a 10-0 lead with 43 seconds to play in the first half when Mike Vanderjagt made good from 46 yards.
Leftwich rallied the Jaguars to a 48-yard field-goal try by Scobee on the final play of the half and Scobee split the uprights.
A 42-yarder by Scobee in the Jaguars' opening possession of the second half capped a 50-yard drive and cut the Colts' lead to 10-6, but not for long.
Manning and company went 83 yards in 10 plays, the score coming on a 16-yard pass to tight end Marcus Pollard. The Colts led 17-6.
The Jaguars were first-and-goal at the Colts five-yard line with 13:37 to play in the game, following a diving catch by rookie wide receiver Ernest Wilford of a 24-yard pass from Leftwich. Rookie fullback Greg Jones gained three yards to the two, but Taylor lost two yards and Leftwich threw incomplete on third down. Scobee hit from 22 yards, bringing the Jaguars to within 17-9.
"We just weren't doing our job as good as we can do it," Grant said of the defense. "We play them again. We'll be ready the second time we play them."
The Jaguars and Colts, each 3-1 and tied for the AFC South lead, will meet in Indianapolis on Oct. 24.