The Colts are the far better franchise but can’t win in Duval County
Maybe the Indianapolis Colts didn’t choke in their final game of the 2021 season.
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Most football fans wouldn’t be surprised by the Jacksonville Jaguars franchise .381 winning percentage against the Indianapolis Colts. The Jaguars became a franchise in 1995, when the Colts had Marshall Faulk. Three years later the Colts drafted Peyton Manning and turned Hoosier town into the birth of Omaha Productions.
However, what football fans might not know is that in recent years the Jaguars have dominated the Colts in Duval County. Going into Sunday’s matchup the Colts had not won a game at what is now known as TIAA Bank Field since 2014. While the Jaguars’ 2021 season was a disaster by any objective assessment, they did defeat the Colts at home in Week 18 which led to a day in which the the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders should’ve met in the desert where Nicky and Sam did in Casino and arranged for the game to end in a tie.
At that time in 2021 the Colts were a dark horse Super Bowl favorite with Carson Wentz as their quarterback. This past offseason the Colts traded for Matt Ryan, and hoped the steady leader of the Atlanta Falcons for nearly 15 years — and 2016 MVP — could be the quarterback that Wentz couldn’t be, and direct them to playoff success.
The Ryan Era began with a 20-20 tie with the Houston Texans in which placekicker Rodrigo Blankenship failed them enough to get released before their Week 2 matchup against the Jaguars. In Week 1 Ryan passed for 352 yards.
On Sunday, the Colts were shutout in Duval County. The 26-11 loss last year that cost them a playoff berth likely hurt more, but a 24-0 loss after that Week 1 draw has the Colts looking like the NBA franchise that they share a city with — a lottery team.
Matt Ryan completed 16 passes for 195 yards for less than a 50 percent completion percentage and also tallied three interceptions. For all of the teams that put together comeback efforts in the early window of games, the Colts had no chance. One problem was likely that their best offensive player, Jonathan Taylor, only touched the ball 10 times.
The Colts have far from the most difficult schedule in the NFL. Six of their games are against the AFC South — arguably the worst division in the league — and while they have to do battle against the AFC West, the NFC division that they’re matched up against is the NFC East.
They have the opportunity to get their season back on track, but if they continue to play like they have the first two weeks of this season, they’ll be in the running for a high enough 2023 draft pick to select Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud.
Who would’ve thought that kryptonite for the Colts was a yearly trip to northern Florida.