Jacksonville, Fla. (AP) — The Indianapolis Colts badly missed their chance of an AFC wild-card spot, losing to the Jaguars 26-11 in a “clown game” on Sunday, 26-11 in Jacksonville.
The Colts became clowns. And when Pittsburgh beat Baltimore he was removed from the postseason contention.
NFL Rushing Champion Jonathan Taylor was held for 77 yards, Carson Wentz swung the ball twice – leading to 10 points – and Indy (9-8) did much to stop the miserable Jaguars (3-14). reduced.
Colts looked more like people who should have been decorated in giant bow ties, face paint and colorful wigs and suspenders.
With a playoff berth on the line, Indianapolis was a no-show on an 80-degree day in Jacksonville.
The 15-point result could have been a major blow, with the Jags scoring touchdowns from inside the 5-yard line rather than settling for two chip-shot field goals. Nonetheless, Jacksonville experienced breathing space for the first time in an entire season in a game.
1 pick in the NFL Draft for the second straight year as Detroit stunned Green Bay.
Despite the defeat, the Colts could still land a playoff spot but needed Baltimore to beat the Los Angeles Chargers and New England to beat Pittsburgh, Las Vegas to beat Miami. It was an unexpected trio of events, and Indy’s fate was sealed by the Steelers’ 16–13 overtime victory.
The Colts ended the season on a two-game skid when a win would have made it into the postseason. And it stings the Raiders more than last week’s home heartbreaker.
Rookie Trevor Lawrence showed his best playing with an incredible late in the third quarter. He kept a high snap from going over his head, collected it, rolled to the right to avoid an unblocked defender, and then delivered a perfect pass to Marvin Jones in the back of the end field for a 2-yard score.
Lawrence completed 23 of 32 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns, his first game with multiple TD passes since the season opener. This gave disgruntled Jaguar fans hope for the future, even while dressed as the Joker.
Only a few dozen fans – a couple hundred max – wore Joker outfits to protest owner Shad Khan’s decision to keep general manager Trent Balke. But his message became clear when a woman not wearing clown gear was asked to answer a trivia challenge on the stadium’s big screen. Instead of choosing an answer A, B or C, he replied “D, fire balke,” and cheers and chants ensued around TIAA Banks Field.
A plane flew the “#Klowntown Banner” around the stadium before the game. A fan had a “Trent Balke kick me” sign on his hand. Another sign directed at Khan and the players read, “It’s not you. It’s balke.”
Balke’s draft class has been heavy and his free-agent signing hasn’t been a game-changer. His reputation is less than stellar, with the last five head coaches having fired him: Urban Mayer (2021), Doug Maron (2020), Chip Kelly (2016), Jim Tomasula (2015) and Jim Harbaugh (2014).
It is also unclear how his presence is affecting the team’s coaching quest.
Wentz completed 17 of 29 passes for 185 yards, including garbage-time touchdowns and one interception. He stopped too.
Jones finished with seven catches for 88 yards and a touchdown for the Jaguars, receiving at least 70 receptions, adding $500,000 to his contract. Defensive end Davuane Smoot also made a $250,000 incentive by reaching six sacks.
The Colts lost to CB Rock Ya-Sin on the opening drive, a major loss considering they were already without starter Xavier Rhodes. The Jaguars picked up backup Isaiah Rodgers and practice-squad callup Anthony Chesley.
Colts: Enter the offseason after blowing up your playoff chance.
Jaguars: Continue their coaching quest.