Fans frustrated with 0-10 Colts
Colts fans booed their inept offense with a level of disgust normally saved for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Indianapolis posted one of its worst offensive performances in decades in a 17-3 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday. The Colts matched their lowest regular-season point total since scoring three in a loss to Seattle on Sept. 14, 1997.
Even though the Colts were winless, the fans had been loyal. There was a respectable crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium, all things considered, but Indy gained just 212 yards a week after posting just 187 in a loss to Atlanta.
The players are disappointed, too.
''We are frustrated, but we are not discouraged,'' running back Donald Brown said. ''We have six more games to play, so that is what we are going to do.''
The 399 yards in two weeks combined is the kind of production Colts fans came to expect every week with Peyton Manning at the controls, but Manning has been out all season after neck surgery, and Curtis Painter has regressed since a promising start as the replacement. The Colts have scored three touchdowns in the past four weeks and have fallen to near the bottom of the league in most offensive categories.
After Painter threw his second interception Sunday, Colts fans let loose with the kind of venom rarely directed at blue jerseys.
''Kind of a poor decision,'' Painter said. ''Probably a poor throw. We will look at the tape and see what the other options were on that play. Just tried to force it there.''
Caldwell said Painter's progress in practice isn't transferring to game day.
''The interceptions are the ones, obviously, that we certainly would like to have back, maybe a couple of here or there,'' he said.
Painter finished 13 of 19 for 94 yards with two interceptions before getting yanked early for the second straight week. Dan Orlovsky completed 7 of 10 passes for 67 yards, but his fourth-quarter fumble set up a touchdown run by Maurice Jones-Drew.
Caldwell wouldn't say which quarterback would start after the bye.
''Well, I think this is certainly going to be one of those tough games to evaluate when you look at all of the things,'' Caldwell said. ''Curtis probably didn't get as settled as we'd like, and we had some pressure on him here or there.''
Indy is 0-10 for the first time since 1997. The Colts were eliminated from the AFC South title chase when Houston beat Tampa Bay 37-9.
After rushing for 58 yards in the first quarter, the Colts finished with only 84. And of the combined 61 first-half plays, 35 went for 2 or fewer yards. Brown led the Colts with 14 carries for 53 yards.
Rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw for a touchdown and Jones-Drew ran for 114 yards and a score, leading the Jaguars (3-6) to their first road victory of the season.
For Jones-Drew, it was another banner day against his old nemesis. He became the second player in Jacksonville history to rush for 6,000 career yards - more than 1,000 of that coming against the Colts.
Josh Scobee's 45-yard field-goal attempt for Jacksonville just before halftime started right and never had a chance, and the only first-half scores came on consecutive eight-play drives - ending with Scobee's 44-yard field goal late in the first quarter and Adam Vinatieri's 42-yarder early in the second quarter.
The Jags finally broke through in the second half. Indy appeared to have Jacksonville stopped midway through the third quarter when Robert Mathis sacked Gabbert on third-and-11, but Tyler Brayton was called for illegal hands to the face, giving the Jaguars an automatic first down. Eight plays later, Gabbert hooked up with Dillard to make it 10-3, and the Colts never got into serious position to tie the score again.
Painter tried hard to find a positive element to another poor Colts performance.
''I think in places we are getting better,'' he said. ''I think we ran the ball pretty well today. I haven't seen any statistics, but it seemed like we ran the ball well. I think we just got to keep getting better, keep going out and practicing and doing all we can.''
NOTES: Jacksonville cornerback Rashean Mathis was carted off the field in the first half with a left knee injury and did not return. He is expected to have an MRI on the knee... Colts WR Reggie Wayne moved past Larry Centers for 19th place on the career receptions list Sunday. Wayne has 829 catches. Centers had 827.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cliffbruntap