Quick-Hit Reaction: Colts 35, Jaguars 31

Here are five quick-hit observations on the Colts’ 35-31 win over the Jaguars on Thursday night.

1. You want perfection? Try Peyton Manning.
The Colts’ 14-0 record is impressive, but if you’re truly looking for perfection, look no further than Peyton Manning’s night. Outside of a fluke interception that was more Dallas Clark’s fault than his, Manning completed 23 of 30 passes for 308 yards and four touchdowns. He completed his first 16 passes in the game and was absolutely brilliant once again this season.

2. Garrard was just off the mark all night.
For all intents and purposes, David Garrard played a fine football game tonight. He completed 23 of 40 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns, but the interception he threw on the final possession to seal Jacksonville’s fate was indicative of his night. While he made some great throws on third downs and late in the ball game to help the Jags stay in it, he also overthrew three open receivers in the first half and another handful in the second. He completes a couple of those throws and the Jags win.

3. How do you let Reggie Wayne get behind you?
If you’re the Jacksonville secondary, how do you let Reggie Wayne beat you on a 65-yard touchdown pass? Safety Reggie Nelson should have been shading to that side anyway, yet he still allowed Wayne to get open along the sideline for the game’s biggest play. Worse yet, instead of making the tackle and forcing the Colts to continue to drive, Nelson tried to pop the ball out and Wayne wound up scoring easily. Horrible play.

4. Opponents better figure out a way to stop Clark.
The Chargers, Bengals, Patriots and every other AFC playoff team better start figuring out a way to slow tight end Dallas Clark because so far, nobody has. I realize Manning has a ton of weapons at his disposal on the outside, but how Clark continues to find wide-open spaces in the defense is behind me. It’s going to take a good linebacker corps to take away Manning’s best middle-of-the-field weapon.

5. The AFC Wild Card race just got more interesting.
With the Jaguars’ loss tonight, the Dolphins and Jets have a great chance to make their postseason dreams a reality if they can win this Sunday. What’s interesting about the Dolphins and Jets’ opponents on Sunday is that both the Titans and Falcons are banged up. If Vince Young doesn’t play for Tennessee, that’s obviously a huge lift for Miami. And if Matt Ryan and Michael Turner can’t go for Atlanta, New York is sitting pretty playing at home against a Falcons team that can’t stop anybody right now.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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