2012 NFL Week 10 Thursday Night Football Breakdown: Colts vs. Jaguars
Last week my only wayward prediction of the 4 games I previewed was a claim that the Dolphins would walk away 24-20 winners when Luck would probably not drive for the winning score. I said it would be a multiple lead change game (there were 5) and it would end a close one with Luck showing he’s no Peyton Manning. I’m not ready to put the gold jacket on him yet, but I will eat my words.
Luck is the real deal.
I admit that he has a knack for winning football games, but I never would have imagined him going off for 400+ including the go ahead scoring drive in the 4th quarter. The Colts had a game plan, but it eventually consisted of putting the game on Luck’s back and saying “Go Get’em.” The game ended 23-20 putting the Colts at 5-3 and a 3 game winning streak, ending the Dolphins 3 game winning streak.
I also predicted that the Jaguars would barely even want to take the field much less win the game. It sure looked like that harsh designation was pretty accurate Sunday versus the Lions. The Lions jumped out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back, even with a gimp Megatron. I was listening to the game via Jacksonville announcing during the end of the game and laughed at a claim that Gabbert was distinctively better than last year as he added a touchdown to an early 4th quarter score. Gabbert is completing 58% of his passes for an average of 161.9 yards per game. Though I agree that he is better than last year, it’s much in the same way the economy is better than last year; the Jags still stink, and there are still 40 year old, college-grad, 15-year tenure engineers working at Applebee’s.
The Colts come to Jacksonville tonight to square off on Thursday Night Football. Ranking dead last in passing yards, 28th in rushing yards, 25th in pass defense, and 27th in rush defense, the Jags are really just in the way of a surging Colts team. At one time I’d say to be weary of a Jacksonville team that often had Indy’s number, even when that number was 18 and not 12, but now with their few playmakers out or injured I see Jacksonville as bringing a knife to a gunfight. Their secondary will likely be cannon fodder for a highly-touted, humble rookie, who is starting to get his swagger and a solid feel for NFL speed. With Tom Brady (again I’m not ready to put the kid in the HOF yet) we’ve all seen how dangerous a quarterback can be once they’ve come out of their humble shell and start smirking a little.
The major x-factor here is the emotional implications. Colts coach Chuck Pagano underwent treatment for a form of Leukemia this week. The team was already a bright squad with young legs and a chip on their shoulder. Now with an emotional tie to winning the team will be ever more potent. When Pagano came to practice on Tuesday sans he goatee and hair on his head, the team showed their support as half of the team shaved their heads.
When I watch football I often get lost (and out of my seat) in just how incredible the minds of the coaches and talent of the athletes goes, and just how complex it all is. They both seem almost inhuman, doing and seeing things that I never could. It’s news like this, especially to such a prominent figure that shows just how much they are like us. When I think of sports and life threatening diseases, I think of being a kid and how moved I was by Jimmy Valvano. I didn’t understand life-threatening diseases then, and I still don’t now. There is an incredible sense of injustice, helplessness, yet a strong sense of hope and perseverance. This hope can only add to the momentum of a team that has crawled from a 2-3 record to a 5-3 record and postseason relevance.
Luck goes 300+ with 2 TDs as the Colts persevere 27-13 with a win for coach, and hopefully there is a lot of winning for Pagano in every sense of the word.