Jaguars vs. Colts: Jacksonville Rides Miracle Pass, Indy Miscues to Victory

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistSeptember 23, 2012

With 56 seconds to play, the Jacksonville Jaguars were all but dead for 2012.

One stunning play later, the Jaguars had taken the lead.

It would be difficult to find a more unlikely scenario than the one that played out in Indianapolis as the Jaguars upended the Colts 22-17.

With just under a minute to play in the game, Blaine Gabbert hit Cecil Shorts for an improbable 80-yard touchdown to put up the winning margin.

It was a moment of sublime redemption for Gabbert, who had only thrown for 75 yards total before his strike to Shorts. Despite a miserable effort by the quarterback, Jacksonville had hung tough thanks to a dominating 177-yard rushing day from Maurice Jones-Drew.

Jones-Drew's 59-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter helped the Jaguars climb back into a game in which they trailed 14-3 at halftime.

The Colts did their best to help the Jags of their hole. Indy committed 11 penalties for 106 yards and missed a field goal, and Andrew Luck threw an interception that gave Jacksonville the boost they needed.

Despite the miscues and the turnover, Luck managed to put the Colts on the verge of victory. His two first-half touchdowns were impressive, but just as telling were his efforts in the fourth quarter.

Luck twice put the Colts in position to take the lead with field goals, and despite an Adam Vinatieri miss on the first, the second time Luck gave the Colts the chance to take the lead, Vinatieri came through.

A 39-yard dump off Donald Brown set the Colts up in field-goal range with 1:23 to play. Head coach Chuck Pagano elected to go conservative, and three straight runs set up a 37-yarder by Vinatieri to give the Colts a 17-16 lead with :56 left.

That set the stage for Shorts, who split the Indianapolis defense and scored the winning touchdown.

For Jacksonville, the win staves off an 0-3 start and will temporarily quiet criticism of an offense that struggled for most of the game. Gabbert routinely missed open men, firing high and wide of his receivers.

Now, the Jaguars can point to the strong play of Derek Cox in the secondary as a positive sign the defense has turned the corner.

As more players return from injury, the Jaguars can hope for continued improvement.

Indianapolis, on the other hand, enters their bye week disillusioned. Despite all-around outstanding play from Luck, the Indianapolis defense was an embarrassment, surrendering 185 yards on the ground and forcing no turnovers.

The Colts will have two weeks to prepare for the Green Bay Packers as they strive to avoid a 1-3 start.