Matt Hasselbeck knows time is running short.
He cherishes every snap he gets, every start he makes and every chance to celebrate a win. So after beating Jacksonville 16-13 in overtime Sunday, the 40-year-old put aside the emotions and got back to business.
“Many opportunities for us to take advantage of,” he said. “We turned the ball over. I wish we could have played a little crisper.”
They must – with or without Luck, who was inactive for the first time in his pro career due to a shoulder injury. Coach Chuck Pagano said afterward there’s no guarantee Luck will play Thursday night at Houston (1-3), either.
While Hasselbeck deftly managed the game in his first start in nearly three years, finishing 30 of 47 for 282 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions, the Colts gave away too many points. Frank Gore fumbled near the goal line again, Indy (2-2) settled for three field goals in the red zone and wound up needing a 53-yard scoring drive to set up Adam Vinatieri for a 27-yard field goal that won it.
But Hasselbeck has been around long enough to know that it’s time for the AFC South-leading Colts to get their offense in sync.
After Houston there’s a five-game stretch against some of the best quarterbacks and teams in football – Tom Brady and the Patriots, Drew Brees and the Saints, Cam Newton and the Panthers, Peyton Manning and the Broncos and Matt Ryan and the Falcons.
It’s likely going to take a lot more than what the Colts did against the Jags (1-3) to beat those teams.
Gore ran 17 times for 53 yards, with 22 coming on his final carry of the final drive. The Colts averaged 2.5 yards per carry and Hasselbeck was sacked three more times.
“We’re fortunate,” Pagano said. “I’ll never apologize for winning. That’s just how the ball bounces sometimes. But we’ve got to take care of it, take care of the football.”
Jacksonville, meanwhile, will try to rebound from another frustrating finish in Indy.
Before Vinatieri made the winner, Jags kicker Jason Myers had two chances to win it.
He pushed the first kick, a 53-yarder with 6 seconds left in regulation. The second kick, a 48-yarder with 8:13 left in overtime, went wide left.
“That was a tough one to swallow,” Jags quarterback Blake Bortles said. “It just goes back to execution.”
Here are some other things we learned from Sundays’ game:
LUCK’S STATUS: Pagano said it’s still unclear whether Luck will play at Houston. Luck worked out Saturday and was making progressing leading up to the game but Pagano said only that his starting quarterback would continue getting treatment this week.
PENALTIES MATTER: Myers missed two field goals but penalties played a big role in the Jags’ loss too. They were flagged 13 times for 92 yards. On Indy’s touchdown drive, including for five penalties for 42 yards on Indy’s only TD drive. And two of the penalties in that sequence- pass interference on James Sample and a roughing the passer penalty on Chris Clemons when he sacked Hasselbeck – allowed the Colts to convert third downs.
MILESTONE DAY: Hasselbeck wasn’t the only one feeling young again. Vinatieri showed he can still kick it, too. He broke Mike Vanderjagt’s franchise scoring record with his first field goal, from 54 yards, then became the first player in league history to score 1,000 points with two different teams on his second field goal. He now has 1,004 career points with Indy.
BLAKE’S PROGRESSION: Bortles played well enough to win. He was 28 of 50 with 298 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. But he also didn’t lead the Jags to any points after taking a 13-10 halftime lead.
PRESS COVERAGE: The Colts will continue to see press coverage and more blitzes until they prove they can throw dep. While Hasselbeck stayed in control of the game, he averaged just 6.0 yards per completion.
SOURCE: The Associated Press