You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Colts/NFL

Advertisement
Associated Press
Jacksonville’s Chad Henne is sacked by Robert Mathis (98) and Bjoern Werner (92) during the first half Sunday in Indianapolis. Mathis finished the year with a lead-high 19 1/2 sacks.
Indianapolis 30, Jacksonville 10

Colts rolling into playoffs with rout

– Indianapolis tried everything to move up in the AFC’s playoff pecking order.

The Colts still came up short.

Andrew Luck threw for 282 yards and one touchdown, Robert Mathis reclaimed the NFL sacks lead and Adam Vinatieri became the seventh member of the NFL’s 2,000-point club Sunday as the Colts routed Jacksonville 30-10 before watching their long-shot hope of earning a first-round playoff bye vanish in Cincinnati.

Not that the Colts cared much about what was going on with the Bengals or Patriots.

“We’re in the playoffs, and that’s what matters,” Luck said before knowing next weekend’s pairings. “We get to play at home, so it will be fun to not have to wait around to play.”

That will have to suffice for now after handing the Jaguars (4-12) their third straight loss.

An Indy win coupled with losses by New England and Cincinnati would have vaulted the Colts into the No. 2 spot. Both the Bengals and Patriots won Sunday.

Coach Chuck Pagano promised his team would not watch the scoreboard, and it was clear they did not until the game ended. Instead, the Colts were focused on keeping their momentum.

“They always talk about December being the second most important month in football and we went out and went 4-1,” Pagano said. “I have no idea, unless you guys have any updates, but we know we have a home game. So we’ll wait to see what happens.”

Indy (11-5) is now playing its best football of the year.

After alternating wins and losses for six straight weeks, the Colts rebounded with three straight routs. They’ve matched their longest winning streak of the season and their 11-win total from last season, appear rejuvenated on offense and defense and seem to be enjoying themselves mightily.

Luck was 26 of 37 for 282 yards, shattering Cam Newton’s record for yards passing (7,920) in a player’s first two seasons and becoming the first player in league history to top 8,000 yards during that span. Luck finished his second season with 8,196 yards.

T.Y. Hilton caught 11 passes for 155 yards, both career highs.

Mathis, who led the league in sacks most of the season, retook the lead by sacking Chad Henne once in each half to give him 19 1/2 .

A third sack was awarded to Jerrell Freeman, though it appeared Mathis made the initial contact. Robert Quinn of St. Louis had one sack against Seattle but fell half a sack short of Mathis.

Vinatieri, long dubbed the best clutch kicker in league history, delivered another strong performance. The 41-year-old made three field goals and scored 12 points to move into fifth all-time with 2,006 points – passing George Blanda (2,002) and Matt Stover (2,004).

Donald Brown scored on a leaping 1-yard TD run, Trent Richardson followed that with a 2-yard TD run and Vinatieri booted a 23-yard field goal to make it 17-0 after one quarter.

“I’m glad we’re playing decent football going into the postseason,” Luck said. “We know the postseason’s a whole different ball game and one-and-done. But to finish the regular season strong with these wins has been good.”

Advertisement