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Radio malfunction costs Jaguars on fumbled pitch
A helmet problem was the culprit on one of the Jaguars' fumbles.
Posted: December 19, 2010 - 10:54pm | Updated: December 20, 2010 - 12:00amPhotos
BRUCE LIPSKY/The Times-Union
After rushing for over 100 yards in six consecutive games, the Colts held the Jaguars' Maurice Jones-Drew to 67 yards and no touchdowns on Sunday.Complete coverage of Sunday's game
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By Vito Stellino
INDIANAPOLIS — The Jaguars were the victim of a radio helmet malfunction at a critical moment Sunday in their 34-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
The Jaguars were trailing 14-10 on their first drive in the third quarter when they faced a fourth-and-1 at their 39.
Coach Jack Del Rio likes to gamble and the call went to David Garrard to make the quarterback sneak if it was open or pitch to Maurice Jones-Drew if it wasn't.
Garrard pitched, Jones-Drew fumbled and even though he recovered, the Colts got possession on the Jaguars 38.
"I just took my eye off the ball," Jones-Drew said.
The sneak was open, but Garrard didn't hear that part of the play and didn't think to audible.
Garrard said, "The headsets were going in and out and weren't working. I had to switch to a different helmet. I didn't get that part [about the quarterback sneak]. I wish I would have gotten the call."
When Garrard was asked why he didn't sneak it anyway when he saw it was open, he said, "The thing is, it's not in my head to call it. I'm just thinking of calling the play that is called. That's a tough break. That's one of those situations we've got to have a play. Those are the plays you've got to win if you're going to try to win championships."
When Garrard was asked if the quarterback should be thinking more about calling an audible, he said, "You can say that now in hindsight.''
In the past, quarterbacks tended to call their own plays on the field, but now most teams have the coaches make the calls on the sidelines. The Colts and Peyton Manning are an exception and coaches often send in two or three options for him.
Then there was the question of whether the Jaguars should have punted because Austin Collie suffered a concussion just before halftime and the Colts didn't figure to be as effective without him.
Del Rio, though, defended the call.
"I trusted our offensive line. I trusted the quarterback. I'd do that again right now. If we're going to beat these guys, we have to be able to get a hard yard when we needed it. When we beat these guys, we win those situations," he said.
Punting on fourth-and-1 doesn't always work either. Mike Thomas returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown in the second period when the Colts punted on fourth-and-1 at their 37.
The failure to execute the fourth-down play was costly because after a five-yard penalty, Donald Brown ran 43 yards for a touchdown.
Jeremy Mincey, who was ill and threw up Saturday night and again at halftime, blamed himself for missing a tackle on the play.
Brown also had a 49-yard run and gained 129 yards on 14 carries. The Colts came into the game with the worst rushing offense in the league.
By contrast, the Jaguars rushed for 67 yards on 22 carries.
Del Rio said it was a matter of poor tackling and leverage, but the Colts won the battle in the trenches, and crossed up the Jaguars when Manning checked to runs when the Jaguars were thinking he was going to pass.
"When teams are putting six DBs [the Jaguars usually had five] out there, we need to be able to run the ball," Brown said.
"When you are in the secondary and it is the first time you're getting touched, that makes for a great day."
"Peyton did a good job of mixing it up and kept us on our heels at times," Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said. "I don't know if we were missing tackles or out of our gap. It's disappointing, but not crushing. We played well enough [this year] to still be in the hunt."