JACKSONVILLE – This was about doing the basics.
That's the first thing Jaguars defenders told you about shutting down the NFL's leading rusher – that it was about simple things, fundamental things. But they're also difficult things.
Either way, the Jaguars' run defense was a strikingly effective thing Sunday.
"It was what we worked on all [week in] practice," outside linebacker Josh Allen said.
Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, the NFL's leading rusher last season, rushed for 54 yards on nine carries at TIAA Bank Field in the Jaguars' 24-0 victory Sunday. Stymying Taylor keyed one of the Jaguars' most dominant defensive performances in recent memory and helped the Jaguars register their first shutout since a 6-0 home victory over the Colts on December 2, 2018.
Taylor's longest run: a 21-yarder late in the third quarter with the Jaguar leading 24-0. He rushed for 33 yards on eight other carries.
"They did a great job," Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson said of the Jaguars' defense. "It's nothing that you see on tape. It's just about us. It's about being physical and just understanding to stay disciplined in your run fits and your eye discipline on things.
"Our guys did a great job, just rallying to the ball, getting him on the ground. It was a focus for us this week in practice and [it's] just a credit to how hard our guys worked to understand and then eliminate the run."
Allen detailed the keys to the performance, echoing Pederson: "Stay in gap, do what you need to do for your responsibilities, handle your small details, do what you need to do and we're going to win this game. We made plays and got off the field when we needed to."
Added Allen: "That's everybody doing their job. It's everybody having a responsibility in the defense and doing their responsibility. We knew what they were going to do. They had a couple of guys out (wide receivers Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce). We knew they were going to give it to their best player.
"We knew that, and they should. But it was going to be a hat on a hat. And it was going to be a battle up front. We won that battle."
- The Jaguars registered three interceptions Sunday, giving them six takeaways for the season with just one giveaway. That's a sharp contrast to last season when the Jaguars had a takeaway-giveaway ratio of minus-29 – worst in the NFL.
- "We think takeaways," Allen said. "That's our thing. We think about them at home, we think about them in practice, and we think about them in the game. So, when it comes down to it, it's there. We want to get the ball back to the offense. We want to win the line of scrimmage. We want to dominate the game. I think we did that today."
- Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 25 of 30 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions Sunday, perhaps the most efficient performance of his 19-game NFL career.
- "Sixteen was 16 today," tight end Evan Engram said. "He has worked every phase of his game since training camp. Today was just the full package of what he can be and what this offense can be."
- Lawrence said the performance overall Sunday "just confirms what we're doing here, what we're building – the people we have, coaches and players included. That confirms that we're on the right track. We're where we want to be. We've got to keep getting better, and I'm confident we will, but it really does just confirm what we're doing. It's fun when it comes together, and it was awesome."
- Allen on the Jaguars’ first shutout in nearly four seasons: "We set the standard for ourselves. This is our standard. This is what we knew we could do last week. But we didn't do it. We were like, 'OK, what do we have to do to get back to it?' This is us. This is how we play defense. This is how we run around to the ball. This is how we create turnovers. This is how we get to the quarterback. This is how we get pressure. This is how we play. We have to continue to play like that. We can't just go into small spurts. We have to be dominant."
- Running back James Robinson: "It feels good. Not being able to win in the past years, it feels good to just get one. Now, we have to go out there and get some more."