Luck throws 4 TDs, Colts rout Jaguars 44-17
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- This was the Indianapolis Colts everyone expected to see in 2014.
Playing the Jacksonville Jaguars surely helped them look so good.
Andrew Luck threw four touchdown passes - three of them in a lopsided first half - and the Colts dominated Jacksonville 44-17 on Sunday for their first win of the season.
It was a home opener to forget for the Jaguars (0-3), who trailed 30-0 at the break and benched quarterback Chad Henne.
The only positive for Jacksonville was getting rookie Blake Bortles on the field. The third overall pick in May's NFL draft played the entire second half, finishing with two touchdown passes and two interceptions. He completed 14 of 24 passes for 223 yards, including fourth-quarter scores to Allen Hurns and Cecil Shorts III.
Bortles found Hurns near midfield, and the rookie escaped two tackles en route to his third touchdown in three games. Bortles threw a strike to Shorts with 18 seconds remaining.
Those were among the few highlights for the Jaguars.
Indianapolis (1-2) made plays from start to finish, including Greg Toler returning an interception 47 yards for a touchdown with 2:58 to play.
Luck did most of the damage, though. He completed 31 of 39 passes for 370 yards.
The Colts, who had chances to win their first two games, scored on six first-half possessions against Jacksonville. Luck became the latest to pick apart Jacksonville's defense, joining Philadelphia's Nick Foles and Washington's Kirk Cousins.
Luck completed 22 of 27 passes for 244 yards in the first half, connecting with nine different receivers. He found Ahmad Bradshaw for a 6-yard touchdown that made it 10-0, hooked up with Dwayne Allen for a 1-yard score on the next drive and capped the impressive opening 30 minutes with a 7-yarder to Coby Fleener.
The score could have been more one-sided, too.
Indy had three drives bog down in Jacksonville territory. All of them ended with field goals by Adam Vinatieri.
Jacksonville allowed 330 yards in the opening half and contributed to its woes with missed tackles and blown assignments.
Henne and the offense going three-and-punt on their first three drives certainly didn't help the defense, either. The result: Jacksonville was outscored 105-10 in the eight quarters since leading Philadelphia 17-0 at halftime in the season opener.
Henne started getting booed with every throw, and Bradley made the switch in the locker room.
Henne completed 4 of 7 passes for 33 yards and was sacked three times.
Bortles was considerably better and even kept most of the crowd from leaving the home opener, which featured the debut of $63 million in stadium upgrades that include a party deck, two pools and cabanas.
The Jaguars said from the day they drafted Bortles that they wanted to bring him along slowly and even suggested he might sit all season. But calls for him to replace Henne grew with every week and every loss.
It remains to be seen whether Bradley will stick with Bortles the rest of the season.
The Colts called this game a must-win, knowing they didn't want to start 0-3 in the AFC South.
Since the NFL expanded its playoff format in 1990, only three teams - San Diego in 1992, Detroit in 1995 and Buffalo in 1998 - started 0-3 and made the postseason.