Colts reeling after ’embarrassing’ loss to Jags

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Just two games into the 2022 season, the Indianapolis Colts already find themselves at a critical juncture.

The Colts suffered their third shutout loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the past five seasons, losing 24-0 at TIAA Bank Field to fall to 0-1-1 with a game against the Kansas City Chiefs looming in Week 3.

The Colts were outgained 331 yards to 218 and allowed 21 first downs while earning just nine. Meanwhile, quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked five times and threw three interceptions for the first time in his 15 seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

“The s— was embarrassing,” Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner said. “We got our a– whooped. We have to come in tomorrow, take it on the chin and grow from this.”

The Colts entered this season talking openly about having Super Bowl goals, a conversation that was bolstered by the return of seven Pro Bowl selections.

“I certainly had high expectations coming in,” Ryan said. “And you certainly don’t think you’re going to be 0-1-1. That’s just not in the competitor’s mindset. We are where we are, and I think being realistic about where we’re at is important. It has to be brutal honesty.”

Here’s some brutal honesty: The Colts’ offense took a huge backward step after exceeding 500 yards of offensive production in a tie with the Houston Texans in Week 1.

Particularly surprising was their inability to run the ball, with 2021 rushing champion Jonathan Taylor held to 54 yards on nine carries, including 4 yards on five carries in the first half. The Colts, one of the NFL’s best rushing teams, finished with 54 rushing yards — their lowest total since 2019.

“We were just not productive in the first half,” coach Frank Reich said. “We just couldn’t get a completion, we couldn’t run the ball on first and second down. It seemed like in the first half every run was 2 yards. And with us, when we’re humming, we’re effective on first and second down.”

Can the Colts turn it around? Reich has to convince his team a reversal is possible.

“As pathetic as that was today, where this is and where we need to be, the distance is not that far,” Reich said. “We have the players and coaches to do it. I know that doesn’t play in the outside world, and I’m fine with that. We’ll take our medicine and I’ll take my medicine and we’ll just keep doing what we do.”

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