Ryan, Pierce hook up in final minute, Colts beat Jags 34-27

Oct 16, 2022, 1:47 AM | Updated: 2:59 pm

Indianapolis Colts' Alec Pierce celebrates with the Colts mascot Blue after making a touchdown reception during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, in Indianapolis.(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich trusted Matt Ryan to make the right calls Sunday.

In the waning moments, the 15-year veteran delivered again.

Ryan read Jacksonville’s defense, relied on his instincts and then lobbed a 32-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Alec Pierce, who caught it just over the hands of a defender with 17 seconds left to give the Colts a 34-27 victory.

“Alec is so good on those kinds of routes and I think in that situation throwing the ball past the sticks and taking a shot, you can’t play scared,” Ryan said. “I thought it was a great call, a great route and I wanted to take a chance there.”

His perfect throw, despite taking a hit as he released the ball, capped a memorable day with a victory that may finally get the Colts’ offense righted.

Ryan was 42 of 58 for 389 yards with three touchdowns, no sacks and no turnovers. He broke the franchise’s single game record for completions and moved into seventh on the NFL’s career passing list.

Dan Marino has 61,361 yards. Ryan now has 61,499 yards and 45 career game-winning drives. He’s also fifth all-time with 30 career games of 350 or more yards passing.

But Ryan also knew what mattered most. Indy (3-2-1) snapped a two-game skid against its AFC South rival and improved to 1-2-1 in division play. Plus, Indy ended a touchdown drought that stretched to Week 4 and topped the 20-point mark for the first time in eight games.

” Matt was hot,” Reich said. “So I slipped in a run every now and then, but I didn’t want to take it out of Matt’s hands.”

Jacksonville (2-4) has lost three straight despite gashing Indy’s usually stout rushing defense for 243 yards and big play after big play.

The Jags led the entire first half, extended the margin to 21-13 just five plays into the second half and responded with a 10-minute, 18-play drive after Indy had finally taken a 26-21 lead on Ryan’s TD pass to Jelani Woods early in the fourth quarter.

Trevor Lawrence responded with a 4-yard scoring pass to Christian Kirk for 27-26 lead with 2:44 to go. A 2-point conversion pass failed.

Lawrence was 20 of 22 with 163 yards and one score while running for two TDs.

But the Jags left too much time for the Colts, who had already moved into field-goal position and were facing third-and-3 when Ryan took a shot on Pierce.

There was nothing Shaquill Griffin could do to stop it.

“I played inside like I usually do, they kind of threw it over the shoulder, and they’d been calling so many pass interference (penalties) every time we were hand fighting,” Griffin said. “He was pushing, and I’m pulling and ended up tripping over his feet. Stuff like that is going to happen, so, yeah, that one hurt.”

STAT PACK

Jaguars: The Jags had 150 yards rushing in the first half and finished with 243 against a defense allowing just 96.6 yards per game. … Lawrence was sacked four times after being sacked only six times in the first five games. … Travis Etienne Jr. had 10 carries for 86 yards including a career best 48-yard run early. … JaMycal Hasty scored on a 61-yard run on his second carry of the season.

Colts: Deon Jackson had 12 carries for 42 yards and 10 catches for 79 yards. … Parris Campbell caught seven passes for 57 yards and a 4-yard TD with 2:06 left in the first half that ended the drought at 110 minutes, 20 seconds. … Michael Pittman Jr. had 134 yards on a career-high 13 catches.

INJURY REPORT

Jaguars: The Jags only significant injury appeared to be WR Jamal Agnew, who left the game in the first half with an injured knee.

Colts: Punt returner Keke Coutee had the game’s scariest moment when he took a hard shot and remained on the ground as players from both teams took a knee. Eventually, he got up and walked straight to the locker room where he was diagnosed with a concussion. Jackson helped replace injured RBs Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines before leaving late with an injured quad.

HE SAID IT

“I remember growing up he was like slinging it and the first time I met him, he said ‘No matter what, just keep slinging it,'” Ryan said, referring to Marino. “Any time you’re mentioned in the same breath as Dan, it’s pretty cool. I’m proud of that.”

UP NEXT

Jaguars: Host the New York Giants next Sunday.

Colts: Head to Tennessee next Sunday for the fifth of six division games.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Brazil's forward Richarlison, left, scores the second goal for his team during the World Cup group ...
Associated Press

Without Neymar, Brazil takes on Switzerland at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — There’s no Neymar facing Switzerland at the World Cup on Monday. Just Richarlison. And Vinicius Junior. And Raphinha. And Rodrygo. And all the rest of the star-laden options in a deep and talented Brazilian squad lacking its most famous player. “Each and every one is super skilled, even the center backs […]
1 day ago
Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne gestures during the World Cup group F soccer match between Belgium and Mo...
Associated Press

Morocco pulls off another World Cup upset, beats Belgium 2-0

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Morocco pulled off yet another World Cup shock, and it was Belgium’s aging “Golden Generation” that took the hit this time. The 2-0 upset left Kevin de Bruyne and the 2018 semifinalists in peril of a group-stage exit at what is likely the final World Cup for numerous players on a […]
1 day ago
An inflatable depicting the World Cup trophy is seen during pregame celebrations prior to the World...
Associated Press

Saudi viewers angry over apparent ban on World Cup streaming

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — World Cup viewers in Saudi Arabia say the government has blocked a Qatari-owned streaming service that was supposed to broadcast matches in the kingdom. The suspension has stunned and outraged customers of TOD TV, which holds the rights to show the World Cup in Saudi Arabia. TOD TV is owned by […]
1 day ago
Players of Morococo celebrate defeating Belgium 2-0 in a World Cup group F soccer match at the Al T...
Associated Press

Where’d he go? Morocco goalie disappears at World Cup game

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou mysteriously disappeared before kickoff of his team’s shocking 2-0 World Cup win over Belgium on Sunday. Bounou lined up with the Morocco team for the national anthems then went to speak to coach Walid Regragui, who embraced him and turned to speak to his reserve keeper. Munir […]
1 day ago
Brazil's Neymar, left, his fouled by Serbia's Nemanja Gudelj during the World Cup group G soccer ma...
Associated Press

Neymar working ’24 hours a day’ to return at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Neymar is working “24 hours a day” to try to recover from his ankle injury and play again at the World Cup, Brazil teammate Marquinhos said Sunday. Neymar damaged ligaments in his right ankle in the team’s 2-0 opening win over Serbia on Thursday and will miss the match against Switzerland […]
1 day ago
A plane flies over the Crescent Tower Lusail during sunrise in Lusail, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 20...
Associated Press

AP PHOTOS: Qatar bustles with traditional and tourist stops

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The winding cobbled alleys of Souq Waqif create a labyrinthine bazaar stuffed with dozens of small stores hawking spices and perfumes, scented oils, silk scarves, shimmering crystal chandeliers and glittering jewelry. The Qatari capital’s oldest souq also features shisha lounges, antique stores, art galleries, restaurants and a stop where shoppers can […]
1 day ago
Ryan, Pierce hook up in final minute, Colts beat Jags 34-27