The Washington Times-Herald

September 24, 2012

Shorts’ long gain shocks Colts

Indianapolis falls to Jacksonville in final minute

George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s going to be a very long bye week for the Indianapolis

Colts, and they can blame much of it on Cecil Shorts.



The second-year wide receiver out of Mount Union was on the receiving end

of the second-longest pass play in Jacksonville history, and the Jaguars

stunned the Colts 22-17 in the final minute Sunday.



Shorts pulled in a quick pass from Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert

near midfield on the Jaguars’ final drive, then raced 80 yards to the end

zone for the game-winning points with just 45 seconds remaining.



“This one’s going to sit in the pit of their stomach, all of our stomachs,

for quite some time,” Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano said.

“Obviously, we’re all going to have to get over it and move on and get

better from here.”



Shorts’ catch and run was the climax of a wild final minute at Lucas Oil

Stadium. The big play came just 11 seconds after Adam Vinatieri’s 37-yard

field goal appeared to provide the winning points for the Colts (1-2).



Indianapolis rookie quarterback Andrew Luck made things more interesting

on the final drive, moving the Colts to Jacksonville’s 26-yard line with

seven seconds to play. He was hit from behind on his first try and threw

an incompletion then threw a jump ball to Reggie Wayne that was knocked

down in the end zone as time expired.



Luck completed 22 of 46 attempts for 313 yards and two touchdowns, but he

was fixated afterwards on his third-quarter interception to Jacksonville

middle linebacker Paul Posluszny.



“I lost sight of the Mike (linebacker), but all the indicators said that

he was going to be there,” Luck said. “Very bad decision is what it boils

down to.”



In truth, that was just one of several missed opportunities for Indianapolis.



The Colts built a 14-3 halftime lead behind a 40-yard touchdown pass to

rookie wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and a four-yard strike to third-down

running back Mewelde Moore.



It was a breakout day for Hilton, who caught four passes for 113 yards in

just his second NFL game. And the touchdown to Moore capped a 14-play,

80-yard drive that ended with just 37 seconds remaining in the first half.



But the Colts’ continuing second-half woes cost them dearly against the

Jaguars (1-2).



“We just have to finish,” Wayne said. “The last two games, we hadn’t

finished the way we should. We just have to learn how to finish, plain and

simple.”



Indianapolis has been outscored 50-16 after halftime this season, and they

got off to a poor start Sunday on both sides of the ball.



A holding penalty on left guard Seth Olsen stalled the opening drive of

the third quarter after Luck began the series with a 13-yard pass to Wayne.



Maurice Jones-Drew then took his first carry of the second half 59 yards

for a touchdown to cut Indianapolis’ lead to 14-10. Jones-Drew finished

with 177 yards on 28 carries.



“If they hand it to him 30 times, you can play great (defense) 27 of those

30 times,” Pagano said. “He may average 30 yards per carry on those ones,

but to give up a 60-yarder, that breaks your back.”



The Jaguars added a 47-yard field goal from Josh Scobee with 2:55 to play

in the third quarter, following Luck’s interception, and took the lead on

a 26-yarder by Scobee with 11:02 remaining in the fourth.



The Colts had a chance to keep Jacksonville off the scoreboard on the

drive, but cornerback Jerraud Powers got just one foot inbounds on an

interception attempt at the back of the end zone.



Meanwhile, the Indianapolis offense was short-circuiting amidst a storm of

false start and holding fouls. The Colts were flagged 11 times for 106

yards, contributing to the team’s inability to find a rhythm. All but two

of those penalties occurred in the second half.



Indianapolis also took a big emotional hit when receiver Austin Collie

left the game with a knee injury after a six-yard catch early in the third

quarter.



“It’s awful,” Luck said. “I know for the first couple of seconds I thought

it was his head again. I was very scared for him. I’m not glad that it’s

his knee but thankful that it’s not his head.”



Injuries continued to haunt the Colts. Cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Justin

King were not on the field for Shorts’ touchdown catch after leaving

earlier in the fourth quarter. Shorts took advantage by splitting the

Colts’ deep safeties and racing away to victory.



Gabbert completed just 10 of 21 pass attempts and had just 75 passing

yards before the big play. But he came up big when Jacksonville needed him

most.



“He threw a great ball,” Shorts said. “He found the window, made the right

read and threw a hell of a ball. He put the ball exactly where it needed

to be.”



Indianapolis will be idle this week before returning to Lucas Oil Stadium

on Oct. 7 against Green Bay. Luck said he’d rather have another game next

Sunday, but it’s important for the team to use the downtime wisely.



“You do want to get out there and just focus on the next one, not let this

linger,” Luck said. “And, hopefully, we don’t let this linger. Hopefully,

we’ll watch the tape, fix our mistakes, get our corrections in, have a

couple good practices and come back fresh and completely focused on the

next opponent.”