Jonathan Taylor rushed for 253 yards and two touchdowns, Philip Rivers threw for another score and Rodrigo Blankenship kicked two field goals to help the host Indianapolis Colts defeat the reeling Jacksonville Jaguars 28-14 on Sunday afternoon to clinch their second AFC playoff berth in three seasons.
Needing a victory of their own as well as a loss from one of four fellow postseason contenders in order to make the playoffs, Indianapolis took the field with the latter part of that equation solved as the Miami Dolphins fell 56-26 at Buffalo earlier in the day.
The Colts (11-5) scored the first 20 points of the game before withstanding rally by the Jaguars (1-15). Indianapolis closed the scoring with a 45-yard touchdown from Taylor and a two-point conversion pass from Rivers to T.Y. Hilton with 3:35 to go.
Jacksonville lost its 15th game to close the season, extending the franchise-record skid the Jaguars set with their Week 16 home loss to Chicago. The Jaguars’ lone victory came in Week 1, when they defeated the visiting Colts, 27-20.
Following a Jacksonville punt on the game’s opening series, the Colts wasted little time in grabbing the lead. A 6-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to Hilton capped a six-play, 78-yard drive in 2:43, as Rivers overtook Dan Marino for fifth all-time with his 421st career scoring pass.
The Jaguars punted on their ensuing possession, leading to Blankenship’s 22-yard field goal. On Jacksonville’s next drive, T.J. Carrie recovered a Darius Leonard strip-sack of Jaguars quarterback Mike Glennon and returned it 25 yards to the Jacksonville 15. Indianapolis capitalized three plays later on Taylor’s 1-yard touchdown run to take a 17-0 lead.
Taylor needed just seven carries to surpass 100 yards and finished with 253 on 30 carries to surpass injured Jaguars running back James Robinson for the league’s rookie rushing title. Taylor finished the regular season with 1,169 yards.
Rivers was 17-for-27 passing for 164 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Jacksonville has surrendered at least 24 points in each game during the losing streak, an NFL record.
The Jaguars got on the scoreboard with 27 seconds remaining before halftime, as Glennon found Laviska Shenault Jr. for a 9-yard touchdown to draw to within 20-7. It was their first of two touchdown connections on the day.
Glennon was 26-for-42 passing for 261 yards and two touchdowns. Dare Ogunbowale had 14 carries for 50 yards, while Chris Conley had seven receptions for 87 yards.
–Field Level Media