JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Indianapolis Colts got away with a sluggish start.
It certainly helped that they were playing one of the worst teams in the league.
Andrew Luck threw two touchdown passes, Trent Richardson ran for a score and the Colts became the latest to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars by double digits, 37-3 Sunday.
The Colts (3-1) were a little sloppy in the first half — Luck threw interceptions on his first two drives and missed several open receivers — but it was hardly enough to made a difference against the Jaguars (0-4).
“It wasn’t an ideal start,” Luck said. “It was more of a terrible start to the game offensively for us. … We sort of woke up in the second half. Those two scoring drives were big for us. That is what we needed.”
Indianapolis led 20-3 at halftime — Jacksonville has been outscored 75-8 in the first half this season — and made it a laugher with consecutive touchdown drives in the third quarter.
Luck found Coby Fleener for a 31-yard score, a play in which even Fleener was surprised he was so wide open, and then connected with Reggie Wayne in the back of the end zone from 5 yards.
That made it 34-3 and sent many of the Jaguars faithful heading to the exits.
The Colts outgained the Jaguars 363-70 at that point.
Luck completed 22 of 36 passes for 260 yards, with two TDs and an interception. His other pick was negated by an offside penalty.
“The sky is the limit,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “Listening to him and talking to him, he did get off to a slow start, but he is an even-keeled guy. … He is one of those guys who can put things behind him and move on. Talent combined with that kind of mindset, the sky is the limit.”
Wayne finished with five catches for 100 yards. Richardson ran 20 times for 60 yards. Fleener caught five passes for 77 yards.
Defensively, Robert Mathis had three sacks and cornerback Vontae Davis intercepted a pass and tipped another one that teammate Darius Butler caught and returned 41 yards for a score and a 10-3 lead.
“We don’t have enough (game balls) to go around anymore,” Pagano said. “They have to order some. … We can certainly give one to everyone on defense. Three points, the yardage and everything we talked about, just outstanding.”
Nothing was good for the home team.
Blaine Gabbert, who missed the past two games because of a hand injury, completed 17 of 32 passes for 179 yards, with three interceptions. All of them bounced off receivers’ hands.
“Too much inconsistency,” Gabbert said. “We killed ourselves on some drives.”
Maurice Jones-Drew ran 13 times for 23 yards — against the team he has his most career yards against.
“It’s the Colts,” guard Uche Nwaneri said. “That’s how I look at it. They can’t stop us from running the ball; that’s how I feel every time we play them. I don’t care who they have at quarterback. I don’t care who they got on defense. It’s the Colts.
“For us to come out and not be able to run the ball on the Colts, it’s mind-boggling. … It’s a lot easier for a defense when they don’t have to defend the run so much.”
The Jaguars looked as pitiful as they have all season.
Cecil Shorts III bobbled two passes that wound up as interceptions for Gabbert.
Tight end Marcedes Lewis made his season debut, but ended up back in street clothes after just a few plays. Lewis re-injured his left calf, which kept him sidelined most of the preseason and the first three games.
Defensive end Jason Babin was flagged three times, including once for a late hit on Luck. His offside penalty negated an interception in the first quarter.
“I play aggressive and sometimes it bites me in the (rear),” Babin said. “The offside stuff, I’ve got to own that. I let my frustrations and wanting to make a play real bad overtake my fundamentals. I can’t do that to our team.”
And just when things seemed as if they couldn’t get any worse for Jacksonville, an apparent fumble recovery was overturned because of an inadvertent whistle. The play was deemed a do-over.
The Jaguars would like to get one of those for the entire season. Jacksonville is 0-4 for the third time in franchise history. The team has never started 0-5.
And the questions about free agent quarterback Tim Tebow continue. A plane flew over the stadium carrying a banner that read “Tebow, why not?”
The Jaguars have lost 12 of their past 19 games by double digits — 11 of those by 16 or more points.
Notes: Colts DE Robert Mathis had three sacks, leaving him one shy of becoming the 30th player in NFL history with 100 career sacks. … Colts DE Bjoern Werner left the game with a sprained foot and did not return. Colts FB Stanley Havili sprained an ankle. … Wayne has 138 receptions for 1,956 yards and seven TDs against Jacksonville. … Gabbert fell to 5-21 as an NFL starter, including 3-2 against the Colts.