JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — All that talk about defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis being better this season just might be true.
The Colts dominated every aspect of Monday night’s showdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars, easily winning 29-7 and once again taking charge in the AFC South. They also moved a step close to setting up an undefeated matchup with New England (7-0). The teams meet Nov. 4.
The Patriots should provide more of a challenge than the Jaguars did.
Joseph Addai and Kenton Keith combined for 141 yards rushing, Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne picked apart Jacksonville’s secondary, and the Colts avenged their most embarrassing loss of last season.
Indianapolis (6-0) improved to 3-0 in the division and left Jacksonville (4-2), Tennessee and Houston in the all-too-familiar chase mode. The Colts, who have won the last four division titles, also joined Green Bay (1929-31) and St. Louis (1999-2001) as the only teams in history to start 6-0 for three straight years.
They made this one look easy, backing up assertions by coaches Tony Dungy and Jack Del Rio that the Colts are stronger, faster, more disciplined and simply better than they were during last year’s championship run.
The Colts knocked David Garrard out of the game, pretty much bottled up Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew and extended their winning streak to 11 games.
Taylor and Jones-Drew spearheaded last year’s 44-17 rout in Jacksonville. The Jaguars ran for a franchise-record 375 yards — a defensive meltdown that proved to be a turning point for Indy. The team fixed its run defense down the stretch and then won it all.