Luck throws 4 TDs, Colts rout Jaguars 44-17
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Andrew Luck was critical of his play after the first two games.
He found nothing to complain about this week.
''It was better than the first two games, that's for sure,'' said Luck, who blamed himself for a botched play call at Denver and then a late interception Monday night against Philadelphia.
Luck was nearly flawless in the opening 30 minutes against Jacksonville. The budding star completed 22 of 27 passes for 244 yards before the break, connecting with nine different receivers. He found Ahmad Bradshaw for a 6-yard touchdown that made it 10-0, hooked up with Dwayne Allen for a 1-yard score on the next drive and capped the impressive start with a 7-yarder to Coby Fleener.
''That's Andrew,'' Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. ''We all know what he's capable of. Now we just have to keep building on that.''
The Colts (1-2) called this a must-win game, knowing that only three teams since the NFL expanded its playoff format in 1990 started 0-3 and made the postseason.
And they responded, leading 20-0 before Jacksonville got a first down and enjoying a 30-0 advantage at the break.
Jacksonville's quarterback change came much earlier - and was a switch that coach Gus Bradley expects to be permanent.
Bortles completed 14 of 24 passes for 223 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He found Allen Hurns for a 63-yard score midway through the fourth and then faked a spike and hit Cecil Shorts III for a 10-yard strike with 18 seconds remaining.
Bortles also ran for 30 yards and was sacked once.
''It was average,'' he said. ''I mean, I thought there was some good stuff and there was some bad stuff we need to correct. You can't throw two picks. ... The last one was definitely a stupid throw.''
Aside from the quarterbacks, here are some things to know about Sunday's game:
SACK HAPPY: Indianapolis' defense played a big role in the fast start. The unit forced three consecutive three-and-outs to start the game and finished with a season-high four sacks against Jacksonville's retooled line. The Colts came into the game with one sack. ''We wanted to make a statement, put it out there on film, that we able to rush the quarterback, that we can pressure them,'' linebacker Erik Walden said. ''We put an emphasis on it. We've heard it from the media, we heard it from the coaches, so we wanted to make our statement that we are capable of playing like this week in and week out.''
GROUND GAINS: Indy found a little room to run, with Ahmad Bradshaw gaining 65 yards on nine carries and Trent Richardson adding 57 yards and 14 touches. ''When you can run the football effectively, it just opens everything else up,'' coach Chuck Pagano said.
MISSING D: The Jaguars are giving up 466 yards a game, including 306 through the air, and have allowed opponents to convert 22 of 47 third-down plays. Throw in missed tackles and blown assignments, and it's no wonder the unit has given up 119 points in three games. ''It's disappointing,'' coach Gus Bradley said. ''We really need to take a look at it and find out the accountability.''
YOUTH SERVED: Jacksonville had seven offensive rookies on the field in the second half. Quarterback Blake Bortles, receiver Allen Hurns, receiver Allen Robinson, tight end Marcel Jensen, center Luke Bowanko, guard Brandon Linder and tackle Josh Wells all played, many of them at the same time. The Jaguars expect to take a few lumps with so much inexperience, but they believe they'll be better down the road because of it.
INJURIES: Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton (ankle) and linebacker Andy Studebaker (hamstring) left the game and did not return, but coach Chuck Pagano said neither injury ''will be very severe.'' Jaguars safety Winston Guy left the game briefly with cramps, but later returned.
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