Colts 16 Game AFC South Win Streak Ends In Jacksonville

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, left, and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (8) greet each other on the field after an NFL football game in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015. Jacksonville won 51-16. AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, left, and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (8) greet each other on the field after an NFL football game in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015. Jacksonville won 51-16. AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Facing fourth-and-goal at the 1 with 2 minutes remaining, giddy fans gave Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley an earful.

“We want 50! We want 50!” they chanted.

Bradley begrudgingly obliged, allowing Blake Bortles to put a finishing touch on Jacksonville’s most complete — and maybe most important — victory in the head coach’s three seasons.

Bortles threw for three touchdowns and ran for a score on the team’s final play, and the Jaguars beat Indianapolis 51-16 on Sunday to end the Colts’ 16-game winning streak in the AFC South.

The longest division streak in NFL history is over, ended in lopsided fashion by an unlikely foe.

“We’ve been waiting on this,” Jaguars defensive tackle Roy Miller said. “I feel like we can do this every week if we want to. I know we’ve got all the tools to be as special as we want to be.”

The Jaguars (5-8) scored on offense, defense and special teams in the same game for the first time since 2011, the franchise’s most complete game under Bradley.

It helped Jacksonville gain ground in the muddled division, remaining one game behind the Colts (6-7) with three to play.

Indianapolis’ previous loss against the AFC South came on Dec. 16, 2012, at Houston.

This one also was the second straight 35-point loss for the Colts, who fell 45-10 at Pittsburgh last week.

“Back to the drawing board,” said veteran defensive end Robert Mathis, who scored Indy’s lone touchdown on a fumble recovery in the end zone.

“You never want to let a team score 50 points on you. Jacksonville is a lot better football team than what we saw the first time. The last time we got stomped like this was in 2006 and we went on to win the Super Bowl.

“You can climb from the depths, from the bottom of the valley all the way up the mountain top. It can be done. That’s what I’ve told the guys. It can be done.”

Indeed, the Colts lost 44-17 at Jacksonville in December 2006 and regrouped to win it all. Of course, that team had Peyton Manning. This team is unsure when it will get star Andrew Luck back.

“We need to find that switch and hit it,” Mathis said. “We’re still digging, still clawing. When you win, everything’s all right. When you lose, all hell breaks loose. We’ve just got to keep fighting. I’m not embarrassed because Jacksonville has pro players. Angry and disappointed? I would say that because I know we’re a helluva lot better than what we showed today.”

The Jaguars had lost six in a row in the series, but ended that streak with a dominant second-half performance. Jacksonville outscored Indy 42-3 after the break and finished with its most points in a regular-season game. The Jags beat Miami 62-7 in the 1999 postseason.

Seven different players scored for Jacksonville in this one.

Bortles completed 16 of 30 passes for 250 yards, with TD passes to Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson and Julius Thomas. Bortles has eight TD passes in the past two weeks and set a franchise record by throwing 10 over a three-game span.

Andre Branch scored on a 49-yard fumble return. Rookie Rashad Greene returned a punt 73 yards for a score.

And Denard Robinson, who replaced injured starter T.J. Yeldon (knee), scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter.

With fans chanting for more, Bradley opted to go for it on fourth down late. Bortles leaped over the line for his first rushing touchdown of the season.

“We played probably our worst half of football all season,” Bortles said. “But guys don’t get panicked or freaked out. They stay committed to the system.”

The game was dull for 28 minutes, with the teams combining for nine punts and three field goals. But three fumbles provided a spark.

The final one changed the game. Branch stripped Matt Hasselbeck of the ball, picked it up and rumbled 49 yards for a touchdown that cut the lead to 13-9. The Jaguars carried that momentum into the second half, and after Bortles found Robinson for a touchdown late in the third, the only thing left was to see how many points the Jaguars would score.

They ended up with half a hundred.

“It feel good to not have a one-possession game,” Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis. “We earned that. We’ve been talking about it all week: Can we put a complete game together? We did that in the second half. We’ve got to bottle that up and keep rolling.”

Notes: Hasselbeck left the game late with a rib injury and was replaced by Charlie Whitehurst. … Yeldon left the stadium on crutches, but declined to talk about his injury. … Jaguars had a season-high 154 yards rushing. … Indy’s T.Y. Hilton caught four passes for 132 yards. … Jaguars rookie Jason Myers missed his league-leading seventh extra point.

 

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