Colts, Jaguars look to get offenses going after poor showings

One team put together an ugly performance last week, but still managed to pull out a win. The other had a showing equally as bad — if not worse — but didn’t get nearly as lucky.

When the Indianapolis Colts host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, both teams will attempt to show a much better brand of football than they displayed in Week 5 — when neither scored a touchdown.

The difference last week was that the Colts (2-2-1) managed to squeak out a 12-9 overtime win in Denver on Thursday night, while Jacksonville (2-3) managed only six points on three red-zone trips in a 13-6 defeat to previously winless Houston.

The Colts survived a pair of Matt Ryan interceptions, eight penalties and a half-dozen sacks allowed. Their offense has scored just 69 points in five games, the lowest total in the NFL.

A team known last season for its ability to put points on the scoreboard is 26th in the league in rushing and has turned the ball over more than all but two teams in the league. Where’s the solution?

“Production on first and second down leads to production on third down,” Ryan said. “So that’s been a point of emphasis for us, being more productive on first and second down. There’s no mistake about it — we haven’t been good enough and we’ve put ourselves in tough position to overcome.”

Ryan hasn’t been helped by an offensive line which is completely in flux. At Denver, All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson was the only lineman in the same spot he held in Week 1. Coach Frank Reich put third-round rookie Bernhard Raimann at left tackle for his first NFL start and it wasn’t pretty, with Raimann drawing three holding flags and a false start.

Reich isn’t backing off from Raimann playing on the quarterback’s blind side.

“Like a lot of our young players, it’s a process,” Reich said. “They get better fast when they play, and we think he’s going to get better.”

Raimann has no choice but to improve against a defense that devoured Indianapolis in Week 2. The Jaguars bagged five sacks and intercepted Ryan three times in a 24-0 win.

But after a rout of the Los Angeles Chargers the following week and a close loss at unbeaten Philadelphia, Jacksonville took a few steps backward against Houston.

Second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence tossed a pair of critical interceptions, including one in the end zone early in the third quarter to deny the Jaguars at least three points. Lawrence has now tallied seven turnovers in the last two games.

First-year Jacksonville coach Doug Pederson is preaching patience with Lawrence.

“He’s a young guy,” Pederson said. “There hasn’t been consistency yet. We’re trying to build as a team and as a unit that consistency around him. … You just see it around the league: Offensive success, there’s stability around the quarterback.”

One bit of good news last week for the Jaguars’ offense was that Lawrence’s former Clemson teammate, running back Travis Etienne, collected a career-high 114 yards from scrimmage, including 71 on the ground.

More good news for Jacksonville is that it lists just four players on the injury report Wednesday while the Colts have 12, including running back Jonathan Taylor (ankle). He didn’t play in Denver and didn’t practice on Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

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Author: Sportsnaut

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