1:00 PM ET, September 23, 2012
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Luck will try to help the Colts match last season's win total Sunday when the visiting Jaguars try to rebound from one of the worst performances in team history.
Picked No. 1 overall in this year's draft as the replacement for Peyton Manning, Luck already has delivered the Colts (1-1) a victory, throwing for 224 yards and two touchdowns in last Sunday's home-opening 23-20 win over Minnesota.
The former Stanford star drove the team 45 yards in 23 seconds to set up Adam Vinatieri's game-winning 53-yard field goal with 8 seconds left. Luck did not commit a turnover after throwing three interceptions and losing a fumble in his NFL debut, a 41-21 loss at Chicago on Sept. 9.
"It's just amazing that the guy's able to go out there and do the things he does as a rookie," first-year coach Chuck Pagano said.
Gabbert did not fare as well last Sunday, finishing with 53 yards passing -- his fewest as a starter -- in a 27-7 loss to Houston.
Jacksonville (0-2) totaled a franchise-low 117 yards. It was not what Gabbert, or the Jaguars, expected after the second-year signal-caller showed positive signs in a 26-23 overtime loss to the Vikings in Week 1, throwing for a career-best 260 yards and two TDs.
"We killed ourselves," said Gabbert, the league's lowest-rated passer in 2011 at 65.4. "We were 0 for 9 on third down, just a lack of execution. Had a bunch of mental mistakes. We just shot ourselves in the foot. And you can't win football games in the NFL by doing that."
Gabbert was replaced by Chad Henne in the fourth quarter last Sunday due to a glute injury, but he didn't miss a snap in practice and will make the start Sunday.
Cornerback Derek Cox also is expected to start after missing the first two games.
Gabbert will be playing in front of a banged-up offensive line, as left guard Eben Britton has been ruled out and right tackle Cam Bradfield is listed as questionable. Herb Taylor, Mike Brewster and Guy Whimper should get plenty of snaps if both players can't go.
That group will face a Colts defense that could be without Dwight Freeney for a second consecutive week. He's day-to-day with a sprained left ankle.
Fellow star pass rusher Robert Mathis, who along with Freeney has moved from defensive end to linebacker as part of the Colts' new 3-4 scheme, has stepped up with a team-high three sacks. Plus, Indianapolis has done a respectable job against the run, holding Chicago's Matt Forte and Minnesota's Adrian Peterson to a combined 140 yards.
Reigning rushing champ Maurice Jones-Drew may see even more than his usual workload because backup Rashad Jennings could miss a second straight game with a knee injury. Jones-Drew, the Jaguars' only non-quarterback with a rushing attempt last Sunday, has averaged 15.5 carries and 68.5 yards after holding out all of training camp and the preseason.
Jones-Drew has faced the Colts 12 times, rushing for 101.0 yards per game with nine TDs. He ran for 283 yards and a score in 2011 when the Jaguars swept this AFC South series for the first time.
While protecting Luck is a priority -- he's been sacked five times -- the Colts want to do a better job opening up a running attack that's averaging just 3.3 yards per carry. Donald Brown could be more effective against a Jaguars run defense that's given up 339 yards.
Indianapolis, though, needs to shore up an offensive line that was without right tackle Winston Justice (concussion) and left guard Joe Reitz (knee) last week. Those two are questionable Sunday, and it's uncertain if center Samson Satele will play after suffering a knee injury in Week 2.
Colts receiver Austin Collie's status is day-to-day as he's yet to see game action following a concussion last month.
Reggie Wayne has been targeted a team-high 25 times and leads the Colts with 206 receiving yards, but the Jaguars' secondary needs to keep an eye on Donnie Avery. The first-year Colt caught nine passes -- tying a career high -- for a team-best 111 yards in Week 2.
Indianapolis, winner of three straight at home, didn't post its second victory in 2011 until Dec. 22.
The Colts were denied a three-game win streak to end last season with a 19-13 defeat at Jacksonville on New Year's Day.
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• Indianapolis needs to establish the run: The Colts have a future star behind center in Andrew Luck but don't want to put too much pressure on the young quarterback. They need a strong ground game to allow them to choose when to throw the ball rather than having it dictated by down and distance. Since the Jaguars gave up more than 200 rushing yards last week to the Houston Texans, expect Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians to focus on feeding the ground game this week.
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|Avg Points Allowed||23.3||27.7|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||JAX|
|Rush Yds Allowed||JAX|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Indianapolis leads 14-8|
|Jan 1, 2012||JAX 19, IND 13|
|Nov 13, 2011||JAX 17, @IND 3|
|Dec 19, 2010||JAX 24, @IND 34|
|Oct 3, 2010||JAX 31, IND 28|
|Dec 17, 2009||JAX 31, IND 35|
|Sep 13, 2009||JAX 12, @IND 14|
|Dec 18, 2008||JAX 24, IND 31|
|Sep 21, 2008||JAX 23, @IND 21|
|Dec 2, 2007||JAX 25, @IND 28|
|Oct 22, 2007||JAX 7, IND 29|
|Dec 10, 2006||JAX 44, IND 17|
|Sep 24, 2006||JAX 14, @IND 21|
|Dec 11, 2005||JAX 18, IND 26|
|Sep 18, 2005||JAX 3, @IND 10|
|Oct 24, 2004||JAX 27, @IND 24|
|Oct 3, 2004||JAX 17, IND 24|
|Nov 9, 2003||JAX 28, IND 23|
|Sep 21, 2003||JAX 13, @IND 23|
|Dec 29, 2002||JAX 13, @IND 20|
|Sep 8, 2002||JAX 25, IND 28|