After Sunday’s AFC South Divisional loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the jury is out on if the Indianapolis Colts can actually make a wild card playoff appearance. Although there are still 4 games left in the regular season, chances now appear to be diminishing.
On Sunday’s matchup, it appeared to be the Battle the Defenses as the Colts only allowed the Jaguars 211 total yards. (132 passing and 79 rushing).
Defensive end Denico Autry led with seven solo tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, and four quarterback hits. Autry has become one of the first Colts’ to pick up three sacks since defensive end Robert Mathis in 2013. Although Indianapolis did not get their needed divisional victory, the defensive line kept Jaguars backup quarterback Cody Kessler and company from the end zone and forcing two field goals.
About this time last year, Indianapolis had a problem when playing Jacksonville. In fact, Jacksonville earned the name “Sacksonville” while recording 10 sacks on second stringer QB Jacoby Brissett.
Brissett was filling in for a very injured QB Andrew Luck of the Colts and not allowing one win. And with that, the Jaguars proceeded to win the AFC South and started off this season as a favorite to take over and potentially become a contender. But the AFC South has been very unpredictable this season.
This past Sunday in Indianapolis, the Colts matched up with the Jaguars in a must-win divisional game. The Colts pulled off a victory over the Jaguars 29-26 and extended their win streak to three. Jacksonville, on the other hand, has a six-game losing streak going.
After seeing the Jacksonville Jaguars during practices, a scrimmage, and a pre-season game, there are a few observations that can be made.
I have no idea how they’ll do, but they won’t be beaten due to being out of shape. Head coach Doug Marrone is a taskmaster and until you’ve been under a Jacksonville sun at noon, you can’t imagine the heat these guys practice in. To his credit, Marrone and all the coaches wear black shirts.
Blake Bortles is, and most likely, will always be an inconsistent quarterback. Andy Dalton comes to mind. However, his lows were better than Dalton’s and he’s had more highs. It’s clear that he feels relaxed and loose. When he makes mistakes they appear more testing boundaries over making dumb mistakes. FYI, the guy is an athlete. After going two and half hours in the heat of the day, the team does wind sprints and he’s the first one every time. This guy will be a threat with RPO’s.
The Jacksonville Jaguars continue to make moves. Their signings and releases freed up cap space and improved the roster in a few places.
Wide receiver Donte Moncrief was an uptick for them over WR Allen Robinson because his contract is less and is a “Prove It” one. He signed a one-year, $9.6 million, fully-guaranteed contract that also contains another $2 million in incentives.
In a move that shouldn’t have shocked anyone, the Jaguars offered quarterback Blake Bortles a three-year, $54 million deal, 26.5 guaranteed. Additional incentives are included making it worth up to $66.5M. More details will be released soon.
Bortles was the Jaguars 1st pick of the 2014 draft. He went third overall, behind Houston Texans defensive end Jadevion Clowney and Detroit Lions tackle Greg Robinson.
Some people think the Jacksonville Jaguars flipped their team in one season. Wrong. When Shad Khan hired General Manager Dave Caldwell, he began four year long journey.
Caldwell drafted Blake Bortles, then went about the next three years drafting talent while removing older players with big contracts. In 2015 Bortles threw 35 touchdowns, but a ton of interceptions and the defense wasn’t good.
In 2016, the defense started taking hold, but Bortles was playing with two dislocated shoulders and a bum wrist. Doug Marrone, who had been hired that season to fix the OL, was moved up to head coach when Gus Bradley was fired.
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ were active on the first day of free agency.
General Manager, Dave Caldwell, made a few moves today. He signed their longest-tenured player and fan favorite, Marcedes Lewis, to a contract option. The $3.5 million deal is for only one year. In his 12 seasons with the Jaguars, he has caught 33 touchdowns, five of which came this season.
For the 8th time in the 16 years that Tom Brady has been a healthy starting quarterback for the New England Patriots with Bill Belichick as his head coach, the New England Patriots are going to the Super Bowl.
Let that sink in. It’s amazing, astonishing, and sounds impossible, but it’s true.
The Patriots beat the #1 passing defense in the AFC Championship game, 24-20 to advance to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis where they will take on the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles after their rout of the Minnesota Vikings.
All week, the media was talking about two things: Jacksonville’s defense and Brady’s injured throwing hand. Despite the 12 stitches at the base of this thumb, Brady was able to engineer his 11th game winning drive to seal the Patriots’ victory.
The New England Patriots under head coach Bill Belichick, don’t lose in the postseason in Foxborough. This record has a chance to be broken when Belichick meets up against his old nemesis, Tom Coughlin.
Teams, coaches, and players try to outsmart Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. This won’t be one of those games. Doug Marrone and Coughlin believe in beating you with talent, playing simple, but effective smash mouth football.
The game will hinge, not on quarterback Blake Bortles, but on Jacksonville’s front five: defensive end Calais Campbell, outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue, defensive tackles Malik Jackson, and Marcell Dareus and OLB Dante Fowler. Brady will run if he has to, he will rush a yard or two on a QB sneak, but mostly he stays in the pocket and it’s up to those men listed above to push the pocket, snap after snap. Then hit him. And again. #Sacksonville doesn’t even need to sack him, just abuse him.
During the 4th quarter in Heinz Stadium, chants of, DUUUUVAAAAL could be heard unabated in the AFC Divisional playoff game. While the score seems as if it was a close contest, not even Pittsburgh Steelers fans believed it as the camera showed large sections of empty yellow seats.
From their touchdown drive on their first possession to a game-sealing field goal kick by kicker Josh Lambo, the Jacksonville Jaguars shocked Steelers Nation. The Jags weren’t pretty and once again, lost most stats like first downs 22-28, yards 378-544, yards per play 6.2-7.0 and total plays, 61-78.
Jacksonville did win the stats that matter: third downs 8-14-57% 7-16-44%, 4th down 100% and 5 compared to 3 red zone trips with scores.