Colts beat Jacksonville 23-3

FILE - Indianapolis Colts' Dwayne Allen (83) listens to the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Houston Texans Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — After a terrible first half that saw Andrew Luck fumble the ball three times and get sacked five more, the Colts short-handed offense found itself to match a very sound defensive effort against the Jaguars.

“I don’t think anyone will ever apologize for a win in the NFL,”said Luck, who threw for less than 300 yards for the first time this season.

“It’s hard, it’s tough, especially in the division against a good Jacksonville team. We understand there’s stuff to clean up, a lot of stuff to clean up. There was some bad ball out there at times, that’s what practice is for. I’m proud of the guys, keep chipping away, staying patient and staying positive,” he said.

And they did. What a difference in the 2nd half, Luck was clean and the running game opened play action.

“In the 2nd half we came out there and we did what we did. We told ourselves we were going to take one play at a time. We wanted to stick to our game plan, it was nothing they were doing or haven’t seen, it was all about us,” Luck said.

And after giving up 250 yards on the ground to New England last Sunday, the maligned Colts defense stepped it up.

“Got a day to be proud of ourselves to bounce back, ”added linebacker Erik Walden. “We took a lot of crap from the media, from the coaches, and I think everybody felt bad. We responded, and it’s good to get back on the right track.”

Art Jones returned after missing almost nine games with a bad ankle sprain.

“Think we kept them under 100. That was our goal, to keep the running backs under 100 yards. We’re going to keep getting better, watch film, keep correcting our mistakes. That goal line stand, that’s our defense right there, and we’re going to make our presence felt the rest of the year,” he said.

Chuck Pagano thinks his team has a chance to make a nice run.

“Somebody’s gonna get hot right about now, and so it seems like every year, it seems like it’s somebody new, so why can’t we get hot and just keep getting better and better and better?” Pagano said.

With their 11th straight AFC South win combined with Houston’s loss, the Colts have a more comfortable two game lead in the division.

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