Newsflash: The Indianapolis Colts are 6-3.
Everyone was expecting this to be a rebuilding year for the young squad, but after Thursday night's 27-10 road win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Colts are suddenly legitimate playoff contenders.
As it turns out, having Andrew Luck, the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL draft, tends to speed up the rebuilding process.
The Stanford product didn't necessarily have his best game throwing the ball on Thursday. He completed 18-of-26 passes for 227 yards, zero touchdowns and an interception, but as winners tend to do, he did what he needed to do to win.
Luck made some impressive throws at the right times and found the end zone twice on two short runs.
That was all Indianapolis' defense needed, because facing Blaine Gabbert has its benefits.
The oft-criticized QB completed just 18-of-31 throws for 209 yards and an ugly 6.7 yards per attempt. He threw an atrocious pick-six in the second half and looked mediocre throughout the entire night.
Head coach Mike Mularkey displayed his frustration by throwing things:
Chad Henne came in and led a touchdown drive that was capped off with a score to Cecil Shorts, but it was too little, too late for the Jags, who turned the ball over twice, were outgained by 27 yards (the discrepancy was much bigger until meaningless yards in the fourth quarter) and lost the time of possession battle by 10 minutes.
Will the Colts make the playoffs?
But while the Jaguars are looking worse every week, the real story here is the Colts. Playing inspired football for head coach Chuck Pagano, who earlier this week got the good news that his leukemia is in remission, the Colts continue to rack up wins.
With each successive week, Indianapolis is looking more and more like a team of destiny, and with each inspiring win, this becomes a better story.
Let's take a look at how this one unfolded via that thing they call Twitter.
Shortly after Andrew Luck's second rushing touchdown of the game put the Colts ahead 17-0, ESPN Stats & Info ironically enough provided us with this unique stat:
Andrew Luck has 5 rush TD this season.The rest of the #Colts team has combined for 2 rush TD.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 9, 2012
Donald Brown and Vick Ballard fantasy owners everywhere just cringed a healthy cringe. Luck owners are nodding in an approving fashion.
Just moments later, ESPN NFL analyst and former footballer Damien Woody expressed his disgust with the performance the Jaguars were putting forth:
I just ate so now wouldn’t be a good time to watch the Jags— Damien Woody (@damienwoody) November 9, 2012
I know, Damien, this one certainly didn't match up to last week's Kansas City-San Diego thriller. Nothing quite like Thursday Night Football this year.
If Woody was getting sick in the first half, I'm not sure I want to know how he felt after Blaine Gabbert threw a pick-six to get the third quarter started. But hey, at least, as Yahoo! Sports' Brad Evans puts it, it was a kind play by the quarterback:
Blaine Gabbert is so damn generous. Santa Claus is jealous. Wrapped that pass and put a bow on top.— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) November 9, 2012
Believe me, that was one of the nicer tweets of the night regarding Gabbert.
ESPN funny man Skip Bayless came forth with a silly tweet:
Jacksonville blew it when they didn't sign home-towner Tebow, bench Gabbert. They'd be extremely competitive & relevant even without MJD.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) November 9, 2012
Naturally, this went over well with his adoring fans. Classic Skip.
The tweets began to dry up as the two-yard runs and incompletions started to pile up, and as Grantland's Bill Barnwell points out, the crowd in Jacksonville followed suit:
63,272 announced as the ticket distribution for the game tonight, which means that about 27,000 people have apparently been kidnapped.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) November 9, 2012
Or, you know, they left because their team played comically bad. But just so we don't end on a bad note, here ya go, Jaguars fan(s). From Yahoo! Sports' Doug Farrar:
That moment where you realize that your only productive player is named Cecil Shorts III.— SC_DougFarrar (@SC_DougFarrar) November 9, 2012
Citizens of Jacksonville, I suggest you Salute Your Shorts.
The Colts get a real test next Sunday when they travel to New England to take on the 5-3 Patriots.
Jacksonville, meanwhile, will continue its quest for the No. 1 pick when it goes to Houston and takes on the 7-1 Texans.