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What we learned: Jaguars 30, Colts 10

Posted Dec 4, 2017

Senior writer John Oehser examines what we learned from the Jaguars’ 30-10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts at EverBank Field Sunday


JACKSONVILLE -- Senior writer John Oehser examines what we learned from the Jaguars’ 30-10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts at EverBank Field Sunday …

1.The Jaguars are tied for first. We’re still not actually learning this, but it remains novel enough to mention. The Jaguars are tied for first place in the AFC South with Tennessee at 8-4. That’s the first time the Jaguars have held or shared the lead in the division in December since 2010.

2.The Jaguars won’t have a losing record. The victory over the Colts assured the Jaguars will finish .500 or better for the first time since 2010.

3.The Jaguars can win in Jacksonville. The Jaguars have won three consecutive games at EverBank Field. Remember not long ago when “The Jaguars Can’t Win at the ‘Bank” was a “thing?” Not so much.

4.Jalen Ramsey is that good … His late first-half interception was a lesson in baiting an opposing quarterback. If Ramsey isn’t the best cornerback in the NFL he’s on a short list. And it’s probably very soon going to be a list that includes just him.

5. … and so is Yannick Ngakoue. The second-year defensive end didn’t have a sack Sunday, but make no mistake: he harassed Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett throughout. Ngakoue’s ability to create pressure even in games in which he doesn’t have a sack is becoming one of the underrated strengths of this defense.

6.Leonard Fournette and the offensive line are clever. The free-throw celebration? Very cool.

7.The Jaguars’ receivers can make plays. This was the best game collectively that Marqise Lee, Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook have played: 16 receptions, 213 yards, two touchdowns. Most significantly: the trio had just a drop or two, with Lee and Cole making difficult, difference-making receptions to help give the Jaguars the lead and control of the game. The receivers as a group last week focused on reducing drops and making plays. It showed.

8.Marcedes Lewis can make plays, too. It’s not fair to call Lewis’ season a career revival because the veteran long has been one of the NFL’s best blocking tight ends. But he has given the Jaguars a needed dimension in the passing game at times this season. Sunday was one of those times.

9.Calais Campbell is the best single-season pass rusher in franchise history. Ngakoue could challenge this notion in coming seasons – or perhaps by the end of this one – but the veteran free-agent signee set a franchise record with his 12.5th sack of the season Sunday. Perhaps Ramsey said it best Sunday:  “He is doing his job at a very elite, baller, extreme level.” Of the sack record, Ramsey said: “That was dope.” Yes.

10.Paul Posluszny is an every-down player. With Telvin Smith out with a concussion, Posluszny – who had played mostly base situations throughout the season – played base and nickel on Sunday. The result? Posluszny had 1.5 sacks and a team-high 14 tackles.

11.Brad Nortman can throw … The Jaguars’ punter completed his first career pass for a 29-yard first-quarter gain to tight end James O’Shaughnessy Sunday. Considering the circumstance – score 0-0, early in the first quarter – the play was key. The Colts had been playing teams tough. Getting a lead was important and the play led to quarterback Blake Bortles’ touchdown pass to Lee that put the Jaguars ahead for good.

12. … and Nortman can take a hit. Did you see that? Ouch.

13.The run offense is still struggling. Fournette rushed for 2.9 yards a carry and Chris Ivory rushed for 3.0 a carry Sunday. Stacked boxes are one reason Fournette has been held under three yards a carry in three of the last four games, but the line is struggling. Can it get fixed? That’s a key question entering the final month of the season.

14.The run defense isn’t perfect. The Colts rushed for 141 yards on 26 carries. The guess here is it’s not a major concern because a lot of Indianapolis’ rushing yards came with the Jaguars well ahead. Still, it will be a focus this week.

15.Blake Bortles … We saved this for last, because what better way to end? The fourth-year quarterback had perhaps his best career game. That may not be true statistically, but Bortles passed the eye test in a big way. He completed 26 of 35 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. He was poised in the pocket, accurate and made good decisions throughout. Bortles got more help from his receivers than he had in recent weeks. The Jaguars will need the passing offense to be effective throughout December. Sunday was as good a start as they could have imagined.

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