JACKSONVILLE – Here’s What We Learned from the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 27-20 victory over the Houston Texans at EverBank Field in Jacksonville Thursday…
1. The Jaguars are legitimately hot … The Jaguars have won three consecutive games for the first time since midway through the 2010 season. They have won four of five games since the Week 9 bye. They won at home for the first time this season Thursday. There are a ton of streaky statistics for the Jaguars, and all of them are positive. Who’d a thunk? Well, Gus Bradley and the players woulda thunk, but few others.
2…. as in, the hottest team in the AFC. The Jaguars’ three-game winning streak is the longest in the AFC. You can look it up.
4….and he can run far. OK, so Jones-Drew isn’t the breakaway back he was a few years ago, but while that may be true, he keeps turning in significant long runs. He had a 44-yarder against Houston two weeks ago and a 48-yarder Thursday. And guess what? His yards per carry number keeps increasing, too. It was under 3.0 yards much of the season; now it’s up to 3.5.
5. MJD wants to stay in Jacksonville. Jones-Drew’s contract runs out at the end of this season. General Manager David Caldwell said recently Jones-Drew playing for the Jaguars next season is very possible, and Jones-Drew told the NFL Network Thursday night after the game that’s what he wants. “I want to be here,” Jones-Drew told the network after the game, adding that his agent and Caldwell will “get it done” in the offseason.
10. Andre Johnson is still good … Remember two weeks ago? When the Jaguars held the Texans’ perennial Pro Bowl wide receiver to two receptions for 36 yards? It was a different story on Thursday, with Johnson catching 13 passes for 154 yards. If it seemed like the Texans threw the ball to Johnson every play … well, not quite; but they threw to him a lot. The Texans ran 80 plays and targeted Johnson 21 times. And why not? It worked ... big time.
11….and the Jaguars secondary is still young. First, there was Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd three weeks ago. Then, there was Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon last week. If you add in Johnson’s performance, it’s a lot of yards against the Jaguars’ secondary. Well, yes, it is, but this is a group starting three rookies many weeks; on Thursday, the Jaguars started two rookies and second-year safety
12. The Jaguars can run … The Jaguars have rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the last three games. No coincidence that the offense has looked efficient during the same span. Credit the Jaguars’ offensive line. It was under constant criticism early in the season and it has looked very good in recent weeks.
13….and stop the run. The Jaguars have held five consecutive opponents under 100 yards rushing. That has kept the Jaguars in games even with the pass defense struggles.
14. The Jaguars believe in Gus Bradley. OK, we’ve known this for a few weeks, but with each passing week it gets more obvious. The belief in Bradley is a huge reason for this turnaround. If this team didn’t believe in the coach, no way does it win four of five games after an 0-8 start. Not even close.