INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Maybe this Sacksonville thing has some staying power.
There were many storylines in the Jaguars' 27-0 victory over the Colts Sunday, with one of the best games of quarterback Blake Bortles' career and the team's ability to win without rookie running back Leonard Fournette among them.
But the most notable storyline? That the Jaguars for a second time this season registered 10 sacks in a game, with Sunday's total tying the franchise record set in Week 1.
"They got after it today," Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey said of a pass rush that not only registered the 10 sacks, but also hurried Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett 20 times.
The Jaguars' pass rush broke down as follows:
*End Calais Campbell: two sacks, three hurries.
*End Yannick Ngakoue: 2.5 sacks, seven hurries.
*End Dante Fowler Jr.: 1.5 sacks, two hurries.
*Tackle Malik Jackson, 1.5 sacks, one hurry.
*Linebacker Myles Jack, one sack, two hurries.
*Tackle Sheldon Day: one sack, two hurries.
Nose tackle Eli Ankoue also registered a half a sack for defensive front that also had eight tackles for loss – including three by Ngakoue, who had perhaps the best game of his year-and-a-half career.
The Jaguars through seven games now have a league-leading 33 sacks, with Campbell – an unrestricted free-agent signee in the offseason from Arizona – leading the NFL with a career-high 10.
The Jaguars became the third team in NFL history to register 10 or more sacks in a game twice in a season. The others were the 1967 Oakland Raiders and the 1984 Chicago Bears.
Campbell and Head Coach Doug Marrone both reiterated on Sunday what they have said throughout the season – that the pass rush stems from not only the front four, but from a secondary that has emerged this season as one of the NFL's best.
"My experience is if you have guys on the back end that can't cover, you're really not going to get a lot of sacks," Marrone said. "You'll get them on third and long, but it's truly been hand in hand." …
Campbell joked afterward that he would buy the entire secondary dinner.
"I'll take then out to eat – I'll do whatever," Campbell said. "They make us look really good."
He was told the secondary would take him up on the offer if he wasn't careful.
"I can't wait to go pay," Campbell said. "Those guys are spectacular. Game in and game out, they don't take a play off. They're consistent. I admire them. If they continue to be consistent, we'll be going places."
Bortles had one of his best career games on a day when the Jaguars needed it. Fournette, who missed the game with an ankle injury, had accounted for more than 30 percent of the Jaguars' offense – and opposing defenses increasingly had stacked the line against a Jaguars running game that ranked No. 1 in the NFL through six games. The Colts stacked the line at times even with Fournette out, and Bortles completed 18 of 27 passes for 330 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. His 52-yard pass to rookie Keelan Cole in the first quarter set up a touchdown and came with the Colts stacking eight in the box. "We wanted to break some tendencies," Bortles said. "We'd been heavy run in all of those big packages. We had a feeling they were going to play us like teams have in the past with a bunch of people in the box. We wanted to take chances and throw it down the field." Bortles had three completions of more than 45 yards in the first half Sunday. His longest completion this season before Sunday had been 35 yards.
The Jaguars showed Sunday they can run effectively without Fournette. They finished with 188 yards rushing on 37 carries, a 5.1-yards-per-carry average. Running back T.J. Yeldon, a second-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, rushed for 122 yards and a career-long 58-yard touchdown on nine carries. Starter Chris Ivory rushed for 47 yards on 17 carries. Yeldon had been inactive in the Jaguars' first six games of the season. "You watch in scout team and you say, 'He's the same back he's always been – the guy who has played the last two years and been extremely productive for us," Bortles said of Yeldon. "We knew we had him if something were to happen."
"I think it was huge. I think it [a productive passing offense] was something everyone knew we were capable of. Even the past six weeks, it was something we knew we kind of had and we'd be able to do whenever the time came. It just happened to be this week when we needed to throw the ball and air it out."
"When you do it (pass effectively) once, people look at it and say, 'We'll make you prove it again.' When you do it again, people are going to look at it and say, 'Well, let's see if he can do it against us.' When you do it again, people will say, 'Well, it's not going to be against us. It's one of those things that you have to go out and prove it each week.''
"A lot of teams come out and just load the box. Teams will come out and still do it. We just have to take advantage of it."
--Jaguars WR Marqise Lee