INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 25: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks to pass while under pressure from Dwight Freeney #93 and Robert Mathis #98 of the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Steelers won 23-20. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
The most points the Jaguars have scored in 2011 is 20, which they did against the Bengals in week five. The fewest amount of points that the Colts have allowed this year is 23 to the Steelers in week three. The Colts have allowed a league-worst 31.4 points/game, a number inflated by a staggering 62-7 loss to the Saints.
In their nine games so far this season, the Colts have been outscored in the first quarter 72-13. Weeks two, four and five are the only three weeks that the Colts managed to find themselves on the scoreboard after the first quarter and those same three weeks happen to be the only weeks that they held their opponents scoreless in the first quarter.
In those three games against the Browns, Buccaneers and Chiefs, Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney had a combined four sacks. In the other six games of the season they have combined for another four sacks. Using my amazing football math skills, that means that the pass rushing duo that has a combined nine Pro Bowls have been twice as effective if the Colts are the ones leading after the first quarter.
Getting an early lead takes away the need for a team to pass the ball. If a team is in a situation where they must pass and the opposing team knows that, the pass rushers are able to pin their ears back and get after the quarterback at full speed.
During the last decade, Freeney and Mathis have preyed on opposing quarterbacks who were forced to make up for the deficit that Peyton Manning had built up. At no point in 2011 have they been able to do the same and have been stuck in neutral, off their usual pace of 20+ combined sacks.
The Jaguars offense has struggled in 2011, but they need to score first and early to take the Colts pass rushers and their running game out of the equation. The three teams that were unable to do so were all three that came very close to losing to the Colts.