With a win the Jaguars would have ensured themselves their first ever AFC South championship. Instead their 34-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts means that two consecutive wins are not enough to guarantee the Jaguars will play in the postseason. They will now need to root for losses by the Colts, Jets and/or Ravens coupled with victories against the Redskins and Texans.
Despite allowing just under 400 yards of offense to the Peyton Manning led Colts, it is difficult to place blame in the unit as they allowed the Colts offense to score 3 touchdowns and 2 field goals on 11 possessions. Against Manning, the defense played well enough. Instead the blame should go on an offense that had two crucial turnovers and a puzzling inability to run the ball.The Jaguars followed 3 straight games with over 200 yards of rushing and 6 straight games of more than 100 yards for Maurice Jones-Drew with a dismal 67 yards on the ground against one of the league's worst rush defenses. Many will point to a knee injury that held Jones-Drew out of two practices in the week prior to the game as the reason for his uncharacteristically poor game against the Colts, but room appeared to be scarce even for a healthy running back.
So instead of the power running attack that fans have become accustomed to, they saw a passing attack led by David Garrard that actually found some success against the Colts secondary as he finished with an admirable 93.5 passer rating.
The person that struggled the most on the offensive side of the ball was clearly Eugene Monroe who was beat on more than one occasion by Dwight Freeney. It was a Freeney pass rush that caused the game changing play in favor of the Colts to silence a Jaguars rally. A stunt allowed Freeney to beat Vince Manuwai and get pressure in the face of Garrard who threw a pass over the head of Jason Hill allowing an easy interception for Antoine Bethea as time expired in the 3rd quarter. The interception thwarted what was an impressive drive for the Jaguars that could've resulted in a game-tying touchdown.
Instead the Colts took advantage of the field position and extended their lead to 10 points with 10:02 left in the game. A late rally by the Jaguars was all for naught after a Josh Scobee onside kick was returned for a touchdown by Colts linebacker Tyjuan Hagler.
All the Jaguars can do now is make sure they take care of their own business and hope the chips fall their way.