JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Inspiration one week, domination the next.
The Colts had cause for concern following an emotional victory four days earlier, one in which cancer-stricken coach Chuck Pagano delivered a passionate, postgame speech in the locker room. Interim coach Bruce Arians was worried the team might crash from the emotional high.
Not even close.
Indianapolis scored on three consecutive possessions in the first half, opening a 17-0 lead that started emptying the stands at EverBank Field.
Luck, coming off an NFL rookie record 433 yards passing against Miami, wasn’t quite as sharp. He didn’t need to be, either.
Luck completed 18 of 26 passes for 227 yards, with an interception and a fumble. But he was unstoppable near the end zone, deking defenders with two pump fakes and scrambling for a 5-yard score on one drive and then plunging across the goal line on fourth down on the next possession.
That was plenty against the Jaguars, who have the league’s worst offense and played a third game without star running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
There was no drama in the rematch.
The Colts essentially sealed the victory when Butler stepped in front of Gabbert’s pass in the flat and went untouched for an 11-yard score early in the third quarter.
Indianapolis became just the third road team to win on Thursday night this season, and just the fifth in the last two seasons. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said before the game that the league is analyzing whether home teams on short weeks have a distinct advantage.
It certainly would help any road team to play in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars have been outscored 153-44 at home this season, on the wrong end of lopsided losses to Houston, Cincinnati, Chicago and Detroit.