The Jaguars took a bite out of the Bills on Sunday and then some with a shocking 9-6 victory over the AFC Super Bowl favorites. The Jaguars earned their first victory in Jacksonville since week one of 2020, while the Bills, who had dismantled the teams they should beat to this point in the season, looked lifeless for much of the contest. It didn't matter that Trevor Lawrence had to exit the game with an ankle injury and fight with his coaching staff to get back in. Or that the Jaguars' offensive engine James Robinson missed the contest with a heel injury. These scrappy Jags overcame the odds and sent the table-breaking Bills Mafia back to New York with a big fat L. Jacksonville has won two of their last three contests, with both wins coming against the AFC East.
Let's take a look at what went Wright for the Jaguars!
The Defensive Game Plan
Bills QB Josh Allen had some success against the Jaguars' nickel blitz early, but as both squads settled in, Rudy Ford blitzing from the slot became more and more effective. And Ford did the job in coverage as well, forcing three incompletions, including a critical second-half interception. The move to get Rudy Ford in there as the nickel safety has been a good one so far. Running two deep safeties, the Jaguars eliminated the chunk pass from Josh Allen's arsenal, forcing him to play a more controlled game. And with a variety of blitz packages, including a heavy dose of the nickel blitz with Rudy Ford, the Jaguars frustrated Josh Allen all game long. With the Jaguars' Josh Allen and Dawuane Smoot applying consistent pressure and getting Josh Allen on the ground, this defense hardly resembled what we saw in weeks one through eight. And getting Taven Bryan involved as an interior pass rusher had a lot to do with the success of the edge rush. In Bryan's career's best performance, he racked up four pressures and two sacks as a rotational interior rusher.
The Josh Allen Bowl
Bills' QB Josh Allen and Jaguars' defensive end Josh Allen squared off for the first time on Sunday. It didn't go well for the quarterback. The GOOD Josh Allen (I jest) sacked Josh Allen, intercepted Josh Allen, recovered Josh Allen's fumble, and recorded eight total tackles on the day. It was a monstrous performance from Josh Allen. He's been playing at an extremely high level over the last month, and if this type of play continues, he'll punch his ticket to the Pro Bowl. After this performance, he's undoubtedly the favorite for AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
The Price is Wright
Look, Matt Wright was far from perfect on Sunday. He missed three kicks in a row wide left, but fortunately for him and the Jaguars, only one of those misses counted. So all we will remember is the fact that he finished the day 3/4, including a 55-yarder and an eventual game-winner. He scored ALL of the Jaguars' points in what was the largest upset in franchise history based on the spread.
In the big moments, the Jaguars made the plays that needed to be made while the Bills fell flat. From Matt Wright making his kicks, to converting both fourth-down tries, to stopping the Bills on their lone fourth-down attempt, to catching some key passes, and forcing turnovers, the Jaguars shocked the world by coming up big in the clutch.
I wouldn't call an eight penalty game highly disciplined, but you can certainly say you're the more disciplined squad when your opponent commits 12 penalties for 118 yards. The Jaguars beat the Bills at their own game in this regard. Not only were they less penalized, but they also won the turnover battle against a team that was leading the NFL in turnover margin. The Bills turned the ball over three times, while the Jaguars lost the football just once on a Carlos Hyde fumble.
Will this be a stepping stone for a young Jaguars' squad or just another blip on the radar? We won't know the answer for a while, but it was a massive win over one of the most talented and complete teams in the game today. If the defense can continue to pressure the passer and limit chunk gains through the air with two-high looks, they'll have a shot to be competitive. Urban Meyer and the coaching staff have their work cut out for them — next week, the Jaguars head to Indy to take on a Colts team that has multiple talented offensive threats, a beastly offensive line, and a tough, opportunistic defense.
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