The Jaguars beat the Chargers in overtime of their week 10 matchup. Pulling to 6-3 the Jaguars remain tied with the Titans, who beat the Bengals in week 10, for first place in the AFC South. Here's 10 things you should remember from this game.
1. The Jaguars were finally able to win a close one.
Prior to week 10 the Jaguars five victories had all come in blowout fashion. Each of the two games that had come down to the wire earlier this season (New York Jets, LA Rams) the Jaguars found ways to lose the game. After two late Blake Bortles interceptions it appeared that the Jaguars might suffer the same fate in this one. But the Jaguars defense was able to save the day. Tashaun Gipson recovered a crucial fumble in the waning moments of regulation. And even bigger was AJ Bouye's overtime interception that gave the Jaguars fantastic field position to close out the game on a Josh Lambo field goal. This win showed the Jaguars can fight through adversity in games and still emerge victorious.
2. Speaking of Josh Lambo . . . How bout the special teams?
Lambo has been nothing short of fantastic since arriving in Jacksonville and that continued on Sunday against his former team. Lambo did have one PAT blocked, but was a crucial factor in the Jaguars narrow overtime victory. Lambo made two late kicks that would win the Jaguars the game. His final kick, while partially blocked, wobbled through the uprights for a walk off victory. Lambo power slid after his triumphant kick, ensuring the Jaguars victory over the team that cut him during preseason. The Jaguars punter, Brad Nortman, was also fantastic on the day. He was asked to punt the ball quite a lot on the day - 9 times to be exact. All he did was average 47.9 yards per punt and pin the Chargers inside their own 10 yard line three times. Jaydon Mickens and Corey Grant were held in check returning the ball this week, but still performed well when given the opportunity. And Corey Grant was given one hell of an opportunity. The Jaguars first TD of the game came on a Corey Grant fake punt run that went for 56 yards.
3. Leonard Fournette wasn't the usual Leonard Fournette.
After nearly a month off Leonard Fournette returned to the field for the Jaguars and, to be honest, looked a little bit rusty and indecisive. The Chargers defense played a very strong game. The return of Denzel Perryman at linebacker aided the Bolts in run defense greatly. Fournette ended up with just 33 yards on 17 carries. At times, he showed his regular spark, but overall it just didn't quite seem like he had the same explosiveness that he usually displays. Look for Fournette to rebound next week against the Browns.
4. Penalty issues reared their ugly head.
Early on in the season penalties were a major issue for the Jaguars. Yesterday they were a problem once again for the Big Cats. The Jaguars had nine penalties on the day for over 100 yards. Offensively several penalties killed Jaguars drives, including some holding calls and a crack back block among others. Discipline after the play was also a big issue. Several times on the day the Jaguars were penalized for taunting. The Jaguars will need to keep their head on straight if they hope to make it to the playoffs and continue to win games.
5. The Jaguars WRs continue to improve.
Marqise Lee dropped a pass that would have dramatically changed the game late and Keelan Cole dropped (a highly difficult) TD pass. Other than that the receivers were on point. Marqise Lee came up big on several third down plays and was able to score a TD and 2 point conversion on consecutive plays. Allen Hurns was reliable again, leading the team in catches (7) and receiving yards (70). Keelan Cole continues to look like an improving player. His big play ability will come through for the Jaguars before the end of the season. Cole averaged 20 yards per catch on three catches.
6. The Jaguars pass rush affected the game.
It's incredibly difficult to get Philip Rivers on the ground. He's been sacked just 11 times so far in 2017. The Jaguars defense wasn't able to record any sacks on quick trigger Phil, but they were able to change a lot of plays with their pass rush. Yannick Ngakoue was able to hit Rivers 3 times, while the rest of the pass rush made an impact as well. Calais Campbell was held by two players on one Chargers third down that ended up helping the Jaguars get off the field. On another third down Tashaun Gipson was sent on a blitz and while he wasn't able to get to Rivers, he did deflect Rivers pass attempt. Philip Rivers might be one of the five toughest QBs to play against and prepare for - the Jaguars pass rush was able to help hold him in check. A historic pass rushing day? No. But a performance that helped the Jaguars win against a Hall of Fame QB? Yes.
7. The Jaguars defense didn't consistently wrap up
Tackling hasn't been a major issue for the Jaguars this year, but against the Chargers it was. Third string RB Austin Ekeler was incredibly slippery and was able to bounce off players that made big impacts, but failed to wrap up. If the Jaguars face a team like the Patriots in the playoffs, they'll need to be sure to wrap up RBs out of the backfield or they could suffer greatly. Ekeler caught five passes for 77 yards and two scores against the Jaguars.
8. Bortles showed great escapability, but also showed why he isn't the Jaguars franchise QB.
Bortles was harassed time and again by the Chargers pass rush, but he was able to escape pass rushers for most of the day. He was forced off his mark on almost every drop back and overall played a decent game. He wasn't perfect by any stretch, but he found receivers 28 times and was asked to throw the ball 51 TIMES! The Jaguars recipe for success has never been and likely won't ever be throwing the ball that much. While Bortles played admirably for much of the day, he nearly cost the team the game in the fourth quarter - twice! Bortles threw two egregious interceptions against the Chargers late in the game. He's a guy that might be able to guide the Jaguars to the playoffs this year, but Bortles just isn't good enough to be the franchise QB moving forward.
9. The Jaguars offensive issues on third down showed up again.
For much of the season the Jaguars have struggled to convert on third down. In their two previous wins over the Colts and Bengals that problem disappeared. Bortles was fantastic on third down in those two games. But against the Chargers, who are playing excellent defense at the moment, the Jaguars didn't fair so well. The team was just 5-18 on third down and was stymied by the Chargers. Like I said before, the Chargers defense is playing very well, so it's not the end of the world to have a bad third down performance, but it's something the Jaguars need to correct as they travel to Cleveland next week.
10. Aaron Colvin is going to get paid.
Whether it's by the Jaguars or someone else CB Aaron Colvin is going to get paid in 2018. Colvin primarily mans the nickel spot in the Jaguars defense, but his versatile skill set is hard to replace. Colvin excels in coverage. He also excels at rushing the passer from the nickel spot. He's even willing to get his nose dirty in the open field trying to take down runners. He's a guy that made a big impact for the Jaguars on Sunday and after his rookie contract expires, he's a guy that is going to have a nice pay day. The Jaguars might be wise to keep the playmaking nickel CB - if they can afford it.
This was a gutsy win by the Jaguars, in a game they likely shouldn't have won. Enjoy victory Monday, Jaguars fans!
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