Drew Coleman didn't hesitate.
Coleman, the Jaguars' veteran free-agent cornerback, said from the moment Joe Flacco's final pass stuck in his hands, securing a much-needed, long-awaited – and possibly, season-saving – 12-7 victory over the Baltimore Ravens at EverBank Field Monday, he knew where the football was going.
The destination: the stands.
"The game ball goes to them – the game ball goes to the fans," Coleman said after a raucous crowd witnessed one of the most dominant defensive performances in recent Jaguars memory.
"They were behind us the whole, entire game. Those guys deserved the game ball. They made noise, play in and play out."
It was that kind of night at EverBank Field in front of 62,976 Monday.
A nationally-televised game.
A night for defense. A night for drama.
A night to remember.
And in the end, a night for celebrating.
"I'm really proud of our guys," Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del Rio said. "They played with a lot of grit and a lot of determination. We knew this was an opportunity to kind of right things and gain a little respect against a really good football team."
If the Jaguars' victory Monday was defined by anything, it was those elements – that and a defense determined to prove what they have said throughout the season, that they are one of the NFL's best.
"We focused the whole week – we came to work this week," Jaguars defensive end Jeremy Mincey said after the defense pressured Flacco throughout, sacking him three times and limiting him to 137 yards passing on 21-of-38 completions and a 61.0 passer rating.
The Jaguars (2-5), who entered the game on a five-game losing streak, held the Ravens (4-2) to 148 total yards and 11 first downs. The Ravens did not produce a first down in the first half, at which time they had nine possessions.
Baltimore entered the game having outscored its opponents 59-7 in the first quarter while the Jaguars had allowed touchdowns on the opening drive of four of five losses this season, including the last three in succession.
The Ravens not only didn't take control of the game's momentum in the first quarter, Ravens running back Ray Rice – who finished with 28 yards on eight carries – lost a fumble that Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis recovered, and Baltimore produced just 14 first-quarter yards.
"The one thing we did today was start fast and shut them down," Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said.
"We talked about it all week, starting fast," said Jaguars safety Dawan Landry, who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent from Baltimore in late July. "We have been finishing strong, but we haven't started fast. We started fast and put it together for 60 minutes."
Baltimore had 16 total yards at halftime.
"For a half for sure, it was pretty darn good," Del Rio said of the defense.
And while the Jaguars' offense also struggled against the NFL's third-ranked defense, producing 13 first downs and 205 total yards, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for 105 yards and 30 punishment-absorbing carries.
"Not many people run for more than 100 yards on the Ravens' defense," Del Rio said. "It was pretty darned good."
Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert completed 9 of 20 passes for 93 yards and failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time in five starts. But he also was not intercepted and by game's end, the offense had produced enough to yield four field goal attempts.
Kicker Josh Scobee took advantage of each one. He connected from 54, 54, 22 and 51 yards, and tied an NFL record for most field goals in a game from 50 yards or more. The first two field goals gave the Jaguars a 6-0 halftime lead, and the final one from 51 yards followed a late onside kick and pushed the Jaguars lead to 12-7 with 1:48 remaining.
"Josh Scobee is Mr. Automatic," Gabbert said. "He doesn't miss, which is an awesome safety blanket, but we've got to come away with seven instead of three."
The Ravens, who didn't score until a five-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to Anquan Boldin with 2:02 remaining, took possession at their 20 with 1:43 left following Scobee's final field goal. Flacco's first pass was incomplete.
On his second, Coleman hung behind tight end Ed Dickson until Flacco threw, then stepped in front of it to secure an emotional victory.
"It's definitely a big performance for us and a big win," Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith said. "It's been a long time since we had a game like that. We're just happy to get a win. The crowd came through tonight."
And while the Jaguars remain 2-5, they enter a road game against Houston with some things that had been dwindling in recent weeks. They enter it with a good feeling about themselves, and not only a little momentum, but perhaps a bit of hope, too.
"We knew we needed this," Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis said. "We knew if we dropped this it would be hard to do anything in the future. There was a lot of ranting and raving about the Ravens, how great they were, what they were going to do us. We're used to being underdogs. We went out there, gathered together, circled the wagons and we just fought. We came out with a W."
Said Jones-Drew, "We have a lot of confidence in ourselves. We have to keep working, though. We have a lot of things we have to improve on and we'll keep on improving."