You could say that the AFC SOUTH is caught up in a quarterback experiment. Three out of the four teams are now relying on young QBs who have yet to show that they belong in the NFL. The fourth team, the Indianapolis Colts also is relying on a young QB, but he’s believed to be the prodigy in a crop of potential prodigies. Of course, I am referring to Andrew Luck. He joined the Colts in 2012 and has developed a history that shows that he could be as good as advertised when he was drafted first overall in the 2012 NFL Draft.
His body of work does include playoff appearances and some well performed regular season wins during his short three years plus NFL career.
The Tennessee Titans are relying on this year’s draft sensation Marcus Mariota, who was selected second overall in an NFL draft. So far, his body of work is too small to figure out whether he meets or exceeds expectations or underachieves as a professional quarterback. The early going has revealed some flashes, but, of course, the jury is still out.
The Houston Texans have put all of their eggs (read dollars) in the Ryan Mallett basket. The New England Patriots drafted him in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft to serve as the backup for Tom Brady. However, the Patriots considered him expendable and traded him to the Texans in August 2014 for a conditional sixth round pick or a seventh round pick. Accepting a conditional sixth or seventh round pick for a guy who was drafted in the third round reveals a lot about Mallett’s value when he was shipped to Houston.
Blake Bortles is the Jacksonville Jaguars contestant in the AFC SOUTH grand QB competition. The Jags selected him third overall in the 2014 NFL Draft.
The team that will dominate the division depends on the development of their quarterback. So far, it looks like the Colts will be the team to beat with perhaps the Titans in second.
So is the season playing out that way?
In week three the Colts were seeking their first win of the season against Mariota and the Titans. They had been a disappointment in the first two games and had not scored in the first half of any of those contests.
They did score in the first half of this game. However, they won the distinction of being the last NFL team to do so.
Luck came into the game already giving up a league-high five interceptions. He only attempted eight passes in the first half, a career low. In this game, the Titans grabbed two interceptions in just three minutes during the third quarter.
Perhaps due to his experience or fear of being benched, Luck finally came alive in the fourth quarter and threw two touchdowns 56 seconds apart as he rallied the Colts to their first win.
The Colts led 14-0 in the second quarter before the Titans scored 27 points to make the score 27-14.
That’s when Luck began his heroics. First, he drove his team 98 yards and ended the series with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Phillip Dorsett with 6:48 left. That made the score 27-21.
Luck hit Donte Moncrief for an 11-yard touchdown just 56 seconds later, giving the lead to the Colts 28-27.
In the second quarter Mariota threw his first interception of his short career to Dwight Lowery, who took it 69-yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Mariota later gave up his second pick to Lowery.
The Colts scored another touchdown making the score 35-27. Mariota and the Titans responded with a touchdown drive of their own, which made the score 35-33 with less than one minute left to go. The Titans went for a two-points on a running play to Jalston Fowler. They didn’t make it.
The Titans attempted an onside kick, but it bounced out of bounds closing down their comeback try.
Going into this game, Mariota had thrown for six TDs and he added another two to give him a total of eight after just three games. That put him into the record book with former Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien, who did the same in 1988.
Mariota threw for a total of 367 yards, a franchise record and the Titans out gained the Colts 433-378 and controlled the ball for close to 35 minutes. COLTS 35 TITANS 33
It was Houston Texans’ running back Alfred Blue’s 139 yards and a score that led to the teams first win in the 2015 season. Blue was playing for the injured Texans starting back Arian Foster. Mallett added another touchdown as he threw for 228 yards.
However, it was Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ place kicker Kyle Brindza’s inability to kick field goals that really gave the Texans their win. A rookie, Brindza made his first field goal attempt, a 58-yarder in the second quarter, but he missed an extra point and three field goals in the second half.
Texans’ kicker Randy Bullock also had some problems. He missed an extra point try after a Blue 20-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter as well as a 43-yard field goal attempt. The missed extra point was his second for the season.
Mallett had replaced Brian Hoyer as the Texans quarterback after Hoyer was benched during the team’s opener and this victory gave Mallett only his second win in his NFL career. TEXANS 19 BUCCANEERS 9
The New England Patriots have a reputation of running up the score and that’s exactly what they did in their victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Patriots’ QB Tom Brady threw for two touchdowns, including his 400th of his career. Patriots’ running back LeGarrette Blount added three touchdown runs of one-yard each. Patriots’ kicker Stephen Gostkowski was successful with all the extra points. This is significant because the achievement ran his successful extra point conversions to a total of 425 in a row, a new NFL record. He also added three field goals.
Brady finished with 33 completions in 42 attempts for 358 yards and the Patriots scored on all nine of their possessions.
Bortles completed 17 passes in 33 attempts for 242 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Allen Robinson led the Jaguar receivers with nine catches for 68 yards, but the ground game only gained 57 yards on 20 attempts. The Jags also committed seven penalties for 114 yards, including back-to-back pass interference calls in the third quarter. The first cost the Jaguars 52 yards; the second voided an interception and 82-yard return for an apparent touchdown. Instead, the ball went back to the Patriots at the Jags’ one-yard line. Blount scored from there making the score at that time 30-3. PATRIOTS 51 JAGUARS 17
AFC SOUTH STANDINGS
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 1-2
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS 1-2
HOUSTON TEXANS 1-2
TENNESSEE TITANS 1-2
AFC SOUTH SCHEDULE
JAGUARS @ COLTS SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2015
TEXANS @ FALCONS SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2015
Courtesy of Profootballspot.com