JACKSONVILLE, Fla—When is drama bland? When is happens again and again.
All the talk all week dealt with the changes that the Colts may or may not make. Would Peyton play every down? Would Freeney and Mathis each take a seat? How many starters would find their typical 60 minutes of football cut in half?
Thursday night followed the script Colts fans have become accustomed to in a historic three months of football. Yes, Manning played every offensive down, the starters had a their full time, The team had another close game with the Jaguars only to win with a four quarter touchdown and defensive turnover.
See: Colts Perfect Start Continues With Win Over Jaguars
Ho hum. A 35-31 win, and now that record goes to 14-0-the best start in franchise history.
"We've got a good run going as a team, and we want to stay with it," said center Jeff Saturday. "We're not gonna worry what everyone else is talking about we're just gonna keep playing football and keep doing what (Colts Head Coach Jim) Caldwell tells us to do."
Against Jacksonville, that was play, as the starting unit on offense began in the first quarter and never left the field until they took the final snap of the game. Same goes for the defense, thought Freeney and Mathis-hobbled by injuries-were situational substitutions as they've mostly been over the past month.
Cornerback Jerraud Powers was the only regular starter not in the lineup, as a hamstring kept the rookie from making the trip to Jacksonville.
See: Former Colts Tackle Tarik Glenn Helps Indianapolis Youth
"You see every starter played the whole game," said safety Melvin Bullitt. "We made sure that we set the tone and showed everybody know that the season is not over."
With this team, neither is any game. For the seventh time this season the Colts entered the fourth quarter trailing, this time 31-28 for Jacksonville, who played their first game at home in front of a sellout Thursday night. Fighting for their playoff lives, almost as they did in Indianapolis when their record was 0-0, the Jaguars matched blows with the Colts for the entire game, answering every Colts score with one of their own. It wasn't till the fourth quarter that the home team even had to punt.
"No matter what happens, the offense is gonna come up with big plays sooner or later," said defensive tackle Eric Foster. "If its not our day we just have to keep hanging tight, don't lose faith and we know we could come up with stops when we need them."
See: Cliffs Notes For The Colts vs Jaguars
But true to form the Colts continued their usual trend of fourth quarter comebacks, using a Manning 65-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne to take the lead. A late Jacksonville drive was thwarted by Jacob Lacey, who intercepted David Garrard to end the game with just under a minute left.
On September 13th, a Manning-to-Wayne touchdown pass and a Gary Brackett quarterback hurry sealed a 14-12 win over the Jaguars.
"We knew coming in that Jacksonville always plays us tough," said Brackett. "We're gonna play till the coaches pull us out, and tonight we played 60 minutes."