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Question of the Day
The Colts locked up the top pick in April’s NFL draft, setting the stage to select the Stanford quarterback. They fell to 2-14 when Maurice Jones-Drew ran for a season-high 169 yards, clinching the NFL rushing title and breaking Fred Taylor’s single-season franchise record in the Jacksonville Jaguars‘ 19-13 victory Sunday.
The Colts may have been the big winners, though. Indy would have dropped to the No. 2 spot in the draft with a victory in Jacksonville. Instead, owner Jim Irsay will have the choice to draft Luck to join four-time MVP Manning.
Manning was on the sideline all season after neck surgery and had a front-row spot for the Jones-Drew Show.
Jones-Drew started the day with a comfortable lead in the rushing race. And when Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy and Houston’s Arian Foster were inactive, it pretty much locked up the rushing title for Jacksonville’s stocky star.
He did it in style, taking a third-quarter handoff around the left side, breaking a tackle near the line of scrimmage and picking up 56 yards. It was his longest run in more than two years.
Teammates patted him on the helmet and shoulder pads. Two plays later, fans gave him a standing ovation as his achievement was announced over the public address system.
“As long as Mo stays healthy, he’ll break every single record I ever set,” Taylor said in a text message to The Associated Press. “He’s a special talent with great work habits and deserves to be rewarded as such.”
Jones-Drew also sealed the victory by picking up a first down in the closing minutes, sending many of the 60,000 on hand to the exits on New Year’s Day.
The biggest applause of the day was for the Weavers. Wayne and his wife, Delores, were honored at halftime. Wayne Weaver almost singlehandedly brought the team to Jacksonville in 1993. After 18 years, 352 games and six playoff appearances, he is walking away from an exclusive club.
The team honored Weaver and his wife with a video montage, gold-plated helmets and a spot in the Pride of the Jaguars, the team’s Hall of Fame. They joined left tackle Tony Boselli as the only ones in the Pride.
Khan officially takes over Wednesday. His biggest task is hiring a new coach.
The Colts could be in for changes, too.
Irsay must decide whether to pay Manning a $28 million bonus, let him become a free agent or work out a new deal with the franchise quarterback. Irsay has said that if Manning recovers from neck issues, he will be back in Indy, no matter the cost.
Questions also surround coach Jim Caldwell, team vice chairman Bill Polian and general manager Chris Polian.
So Luck seems to be the only lock.
The Colts, who lost their first 13 games, did little to sway public opinion in the finale.
Dan Orlovsky completed 27 of 40 passes for 264 yards, with a late touchdown pass to Austin Collie. He threw two interceptions and was sacked three times, twice by Jeremy Mincey.
The Colts had just 56 yards on the ground and settled for two field goals until the late touchdown .
By Michael P. Orsi
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