Maurice Jones-Drew walked through the locker room with his chest tightly wrapped. Fred Taylor had a brace on his right wrist.

Jacksonville's star running backs were a little sore Monday, not surprising since they did more in one game than they had in the previous two.

Jones-Drew and Taylor got the team's vaunted running game on track Sunday, combining for 228 yards on the ground in a 23-21 victory at Indianapolis. Jones-Drew ran 19 times for 107 yards and a touchdown, and Taylor gained 121 yards on 26 carries.

Did Jacksonville (1-2) finally rediscover its offense? Or was it merely a favorable matchup against an undersized defense playing without its top tackler, safety Bob Sanders?

Maybe both.

"Perfect timing," Taylor said Monday. "It's the Colts. It's no military secret. Everybody knows they're a pass-rushing defense, smaller guys that love to fly around and they definitely fly around, create havoc. They want to disrupt, slant, pinch, stunt, whatever you want to call it. It can work in their advantage sometimes and sometimes in their disadvantage.

"For this particular game, it was just perfect timing. The Colts were next, a team that we want to try to run the ball on. Everybody in the NFL wants to try to run the ball on them because they play so much zone coverage, and things worked in our advantage."

It was the first time all season anything really went right for Jacksonville, which needed a win to avoid an 0-3 start and get back in the AFC South race.

The offensive line lost center Brad Meester during training camp and then lost guards Vince Manuwai and Maurice Williams in the season opener. Their absences were noticeable.

The Jaguars, who finished second in the league in rushing last season and third in 2006, averaged just 66 yards behind a patchwork line against Tennessee and Buffalo. And with big-play receiver Jerry Porter sidelined because of a hamstring injury, the offense could do little to prevent opponents from stacking the line of scrimmage and taking away the team's primary attack.

"They can't load it any more than they've loaded it," coach Jack Del Rio said. "It's impossible to load it any more than we've seen the box loaded. There's only so many guys unless they start putting coaches in there and mascots in there. It's as full as it can be."

Still, Del Rio remained committed to the power game. And against the Colts, Jacksonville's 48 rushing attempts were the second most in franchise history.

"There's certain things that we believe in," Del Rio said. "We want to run the football. Running the football allows us to possess the ball, allows us to get the ball in our best playmakers' hands and gives us some third-and-manageable situations."

Taylor had several big runs, none more important than his cutting, spinning, tackle-breaking, 34-yarder that led to a touchdown in the third quarter. Jones-Drew did most of his damage between the tackles, turning small seems into big gains and picking up key first downs.

Together, they helped the Jaguars hold the ball for 41 1/2 minutes, convert eight of 14 third-down attempts and finish with the fourth-most rushing yards (236) in franchise history.

"I understand that you're not going to be able to run the ball for 200-and-some-odd yards week in and week out," Del Rio said. "You're going to have to make plays and be more balanced, and when the situation dictates that, we'll look to do that."

The Jags didn't need to throw much against Indy. David Garrard was 16-of-22 passing for 167 yards, much of it coming on screen passes to Jones-Drew, who had four receptions for a team-high 59 yards.

Jacksonville had the ball for 26 of the 30 minutes in the second half, keeping Peyton Manning & Co. on the sideline much of game. Nonetheless, the Jags needed a late drive and Josh Scobee's 51-yard field goal with 4 seconds remaining to pull out their first victory.

"Going up and beating Indy on the road certainly ought to give you a little confidence," Del Rio said. "That's something you can build on, something our guys can gain some confidence from having that experience. We do have the ability to come back and put together a drive and win a game."