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Jacksonville at Indianapolis

Colts shift gears, use defense, running to elude Jaguars

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts have a new winning combination: patience and defense.

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For now, defense is the high-octane unit for Colts
by Clark Judge
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With Peyton Manning's wide-open passing game mostly grounded Sunday, the Colts pounded away at Jacksonville, breaking through in the final nine minutes with a 6-yard TD run from Ran Carthon and letting their suddenly stifling defense preserve a 10-3 victory over the Jaguars.

"We need to be able to win games like this," coach Tony Dungy said. "Good teams, if you don't win the championship, you have to win games that go any kind of way."

It wasn't pretty for the Colts (2-0), but it was effective.

Manning, the two-time MVP, was off the mark, overthrowing receivers much of the day and looking out of sync as the Jaguars pressured him. He finished 13-of-28 for 122 yards with one interception and a quarterback rating of 44.0 -- his worst regular-season rating since December 2001.

The NFL records some expected to fall this week for most yards passing and touchdowns by a quarterback-receiver tandem never materialized. Manning connected with Marvin Harrison three times for 36 yards, leaving the duo 24 yards and three touchdowns short of their claim to the league's best tandem ever.

Instead, the Colts relied on a persistent running game. Edgerrin James ran 27 times for 128 yards, and Indianapolis used a 17-play drive that consumed nearly nine minutes before Carthon's late TD run finally gave the Colts the lead with 8:27 left.

Still, Indianapolis took the early edge in the AFC South title chase -- protecting its home field against the only team to beat it at home last year -- and got more help when Carolina beat two-time defending Super Bowl champion New England. That result brought a roar from the stragglers still left inside the dome.

"Every week it seems it's a different test," James said. "We show the fans what we can do."

The Jaguars (1-1) may have lost more than a game.

Byron Leftwich hobbled up the field during the final two minutes, rekindling images from his senior year at Marshall, as he nearly rallied Jacksonville. He got the Jaguars to the Colts 22 before a pass to Jimmy Smith in the end zone was broken up by Bob Sanders on the final play.

Leftwich was injured on the second-to-last series when Raheem Brock sacked him from behind and he was bent him over awkwardly. Leftwich lay on the ground reaching for his knee before limping off the field. He was X-rayed after the game.

"I don't want to say what it is right now, but it wasn't the knee," said Leftwich, who was in obvious pain on the final drive. "I'm happy the knee is OK."

Leftwich finished 16-of-29 for 198 yards, was sacked six times - three times by Montae Reagor -- and continually took big hits. Smith caught three passes for 49 yards to become the 12th member of the 800-reception club midway through the second quarter. He now has 802 career receptions. Fred Taylor carried 16 times for 81 yards.

The Jaguars also lost safety Donovin Darius with a sprained left knee in the second quarter. He did not return.

But the game was dictated by two defenses that hardly budged. Indianapolis had 268 yards in offense, while the Jaguars managed 303.

"They held us to three and Baltimore to seven," Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio said. "I think he (Dungy) is getting his guys to play pretty good."

The Colts took control by grinding it out.

With Manning struggling, Dungy relied on the run and Carthon scooted up the middle and barely sneaked the ball over the goal line to make it 7-3 with 8:27 to go.

The Colts then burned 3:51 on their next series when Mike Vanderjagt's 41-yard field goal made it 10-3 with 1:50 left.

Indianapolis' defense took care of the rest.

As Leftwich tried valiantly to rally the Jaguars, he was constantly under pressure. His throwing arm was once hit just as he released the ball and he limped badly from play to play.

He did get the Jags in position to force overtime, taking them to the Indianapolis 22, and throwing to the front corner of the end zone, where Sanders batted down the ball to end the game.

"We were fortunate today, the defense could carry the offense for a while," Colts cornerback Nick Harper said. "We showed everyone we're for real."

Notes

  • The fourth-quarter comeback was the 23rd of Manning's career.
  • The Jaguars don't play another division game until Nov. 6.
  • Sunday's game marked the first time in James' career that he rushed for 100 yards against the Jaguars.
  • Harrison's three catches gave him 854 in his career, breaking a tie for sixth all-time with Irving Fryar, who had 851.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Indy relies on Edgerrin James (128 yards rushing) and defense with its passing game held in check.
 
Indy relies on Edgerrin James (128 yards rushing) and defense with its passing game held in check. (AP)
 

 

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Sun. Sept. 18Final
00303
0001010
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
None
2ND QUARTER
None
3RD QUARTER
FGJosh Scobee 28 Yd, 6:59. Drive: 7 plays, 23 yards in 3:40.
4TH QUARTER
TDRan Carthon, 6 Yd run (Mike Vanderjagt kick is good), 8:27. Drive: 17 plays, 88 yards in 8:59.
FGMike Vanderjagt 41 Yd, 1:50. Drive: 9 plays, 34 yards in 3:51.
Players of the Game

E. James
Rush 27
Yds 128
Avg 4.7
TD 0

B. Leftwich
Att 29
Comp 16
Yds 198
TD 0
 
Jacksonville
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
B. Leftwich16/2919800
RushingATTYDSTDLG
F. Taylor1681018
G. Jones329027
B. Leftwich31104
M. Jones2704
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
J. Smith349024
B. Jones141041
R. Williams438015
E. Wilford125025
F. Taylor318011
K. Brady112012
M. Jones1909
L. Toefield2606
Indianapolis
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
P. Manning13/2812201
RushingATTYDSTDLG
E. James27128014
D. Rhodes41006
R. Carthon6516
J. Mungro1303
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
E. James439015
M. Harrison336014
B. Stokley224020
R. Wayne319010
D. Clark1404
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
NYG 27 Final
NO 10
WAS 14 Final
DAL 13
KC 23 Final
OAK 17
MIA 7 Final
NYJ 17
PIT 27 Final
HOU 7
CLE 26 Final
GB 24
SD 17 Final
DEN 20
ATL 18 Final
SEA 21
STL 17 Final
ARI 12
BAL 10 Final
TEN 25
BUF 3 Final
TB 19
SF 3 Final
PHI 42
MIN 8 Final
CIN 37
DET 6 Final
CHI 38
NE 17 Final
CAR 27