Jaguars vs Colts Recap: 5 Things
1. The Bortles slump is over
After two consecutive weeks of miserable football played by Bortles, he was able to turn it around against the Jaguars division rival in London. The two weeks prior to the Jaguars win over the Colts Bortles combined for 5 interceptions. Averaging 2.5 INTs per game is certainly not a recipe for success, and Bortles took that to heart. Against the Colts in week 4 Bortles was able to guide the offense to 3 TDs - 1 TD pass to AR-15, 1 TD pass to Allen Hurns, and 1 Blake Bortles TD run. It's awesome that he found the end zone 3 times in this one, but even more impressive was the fact that he threw 0 INTs, a feat rarely seen from the third year signal caller. The Colts don't have a great defense by any stretch of the imagination, but this was still a step in the right direction for Blake. He now heads into the bye week with positive vibes and has two weeks to prepare for the Bears who are no world beaters on either side of the ball. A quarter of the way through the season Bortles is on pace for 32 Total TDs in 2016.
2. The Jaguars running game finds life
Prior to the ball game yesterday, the Jaguars offense had found ZERO success on the ground. They were averaging about 55 yards per game rushing though three weeks. It was perhaps the worst three week stretch for the Jaguars rushing attack in team history. Then yesterday, the ground game found life. T.J. Yeldon rushed for 71 yards and averaged over 5 yards per carry, while Ivory (who still doesn't seem to 100%) chipped in 29 yards of his own. They combined for exactly 100 yards and the running game was aided by Bortles, who ran for 36 yards on the day. The running schemes were changed a bit by the coaching staff - they ran more downhill style plays versus outside zone runs, which helped Yeldon and Ivory to get up field a bit quick than in weeks past. The offensive line was able to create some push against a weak Colts defensive front. This is no guarantee of future success on the ground, but it is a start.
3. Jalen Ramsey continues to shine
When the Jaguars lined up in man coverage against the Colts (which was at least 60% of the snaps) Ramsey was lined up against T.Y. Hilton, one of the best receivers in football, and he did really well. The only defensive breakdowns came in zone coverage, but when Ramsey was lined up head to head with Hilton, who is one of the faster players in all of football, Ramsey looked really good. Ramsey's getting national attention for his stellar play and is already being considered by some as a top CB in all the NFL. I won't go so far as to say that Ramsey is already amongst the game's elite, but I will say he has looked the part and is more aggressive than anyone could have expected this early in his career.
4. The Jaguars still don't know how to close out games
In week one against the Packers the Jaguars had the ball with time winding down in the 4th quarter and a chance to take a lead, a lead that likely would've earned them a win - they failed to score and lost the game. In week three the Jaguars had the Ravens on the ropes in the fourth quarter and have several occasions to put the game away late - again they failed to capitalize and ended up losing. This week against the Colts, the Jaguars had a 23-6 lead in the second half only to allow the Colts to claw back into it and get within 3 points of tying the game. Again, the Jaguars had multiple opportunities to ice the game late, and couldn't do it. Thankfully for the Jaguars it all worked out in the end against the Colts, but this is still a team that clearly doesn't know how to close out games. They'll need to develop a killer instinct before they ever become a true playoff contender.
5. The Jaguars defensive line dominated the day
For the first time this season the Jaguars defensive line had a dominant performance. They recorded a season high 6 sacks on Andrew Luck. Their was pressure throughout the game and sacks were made by Yannick Ngakoue, Sen'Derrick Marks, Tyson Alualu, Paul Posluszny and Chris Smith. Malik Jackson, the 90 million dollar man, and Dante Fowler both failed to get a sack, but were able to create pressure that lead to sacks for others along the defensive front. To boot they gave up less than 100 yards on the ground in this one. The development of the Jaguars defensive front is truly remarkable. With three rookies (yes, Fowler is still a rookie in my book) making progress every week, and newcomer Malik Jackson finding his way, this could be one of the more formidable fronts in the NFL by the end of the season.
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