JACKSONVILLE - Senior writer John Oehser examines the game that was in the Jaguars' 38-17 over the Tennessee Titans Saturday at EverBank Field – with an eye on CB Jalen Ramsey's second consecutive standout performance
"IT FELT GOOD"
Forgive Jalen Ramsey if he's not buying the "rookie wall" theory.
And why should the Jaguars' rookie cornerback buy into a theory that rookies somehow fall off after nine or 10 games? Not when he seems to be peaking at the end of the season.
Ramsey, the No. 5 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, turned in a second consecutive dominant performance on Saturday, securing the Jaguars' 38-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field with a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown with 5:17 remaining.
"It felt good," Ramsey said. "I don't know another way to describe it. But it just felt good."
Ramsey, who had five passes defensed and his first career interception in a loss to Houston last Sunday, had four passes defensed on Saturday against the Titans. He also had another pass defensed in the end zone negated when defensive tackle Sheldon Day was called for roughing the passer, which gave the Titans a first down that led to a first-half touchdown.
Ramsey, who also had four solo tackles Saturday, intercepted backup quarterback Matt Cassell and returned the interception down the left sideline for the first Pick Six by a rookie in Jaguars history. He also became the first rookie in Jaguars history to register an interception in back-to-back games.
"It means a lot to be able to do that – not just in front of the crowd but against my hometown team," said Ramey, who attended Brentwood Academy in Nashville. "That felt good. I just wanted to continue to build on my performance from last week and continue to get better."
Ramsey over the last two games has defensed nine passes with the two interceptions. He also has eight tackles and a forced fumble in the span. He has 13 passes defensed this season.
A LITTLE TRICKERY
Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee never had thrown a pass – not in the NFL, or in college, or in high school, or before that. He threw one on Sunday – and it went for a 20-yard fourth-quarter touchdown that gave the Jaguars a 31-17 lead with 5:25 remaining and went a long way to securing the Jaguars' first victory in two and a half months. The touchdown came on a throw-back play to quarterback Blake Bortles on a play that Lee said had been in the offense since Nathaniel Hackett had taken over as offensive coordinator eight games before. "We've had it pretty much every week," Lee said. "We called it plenty of times, but Blake checked out of it because of the look." Lee said the play was actually called early in the game Saturday. "We ran it this time – touchdown," Lee said, smiling. Lee also caught a 21-yard touchdown from Bortles in the first quarter to give the Jaguars a 7-0 lead. "Marqise did an unbelievable job," Bortles said. "He was fired up. His eyes got really big in the huddle when I called it, so it was cool for him. It was cool to have that at the end of the game."
"I think it was definitely tough [playing a week after the dismissal of former Head Coach Gus Bradley]. There were a lot of guys this year who've never been through a coaching change before. I know I haven't. I think as tough as it was for everybody to go through what we went through. I think [interim head coach] Doug [Marrone] stepped in there and did a really good job of kind of bringing a sense of calmness to the team and kind of laying out what our objectives were and how we were going to accomplish them. I thought he did a really good job in a tough situation."
"I wanted to go out and play very well and honor Gus with my play. That's where it comes from – from my heart to Gus."
"With everything that went on last week I think this win is big for everybody who is a part of this organization. We haven't given the fans nothing to cheer about here at home and to close it out at home against a team who embarrassed us on national television. I think it was huge for everybody who is part of this organization."
--Defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks