EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – This one mattered to Evan Engram. A lot.
And Engram continues to matter to the Jaguars' offense very much – as evidence by yet another clutch performance in a big situation.
Engram, the Jaguars' sixth-year veteran tight end, caught a team-high seven passes for a team-high 113 yards in a 19-3 victory over the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Thursday night. It was his second 100-yard performance in three games.
"I'm thankful," Engram said. "All my glory to God. Tonight means everything."
The performance came in Engram's first game at MetLife Stadium since signing with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent this past offseason. He spent his first five seasons with the New York Giants, who – like the Jets – play home games at MetLife Stadium.
It was a career-high yardage total for Engram in the stadium.
"It didn't really hit me until we landed last night," Engram said. "It was a very sweet night for sure."
The game continued a strong recent run for Engram. He caught a career-high 11 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns in a 36-22 victory over the Tennessee Titans two weeks ago and followed that with eight receptions for 62 yards in a 40-34 victory over the Dallas Cowboys Sunday.
Engram now has 68 receptions for 723 yards and touchdowns this season.
"He's a guy that can really do anything," Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. "You can't just put anybody on Evan. You have to really think about that match up and I think that adds some difficulty to teams that we play – just the way he's so good after the catch too, so physical.
"There are a lot of things but he's been playing great and happy for him."
The Jaguars now have three receivers with multiple 100-yard receiving games in the past seven games: Engram, wide receiver Christian Kirk and wide receiver Zay Jones. The trio has produced 16 touchdowns and seven 100-yard games this season.
"We game plan for each offensive player," Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson said. "Sometimes you just never know who is going to get the ball. Sometimes in games like this where the weather can be a factor, your tight ends can have bigger games.
"He (Engram) has gotten better with the offense learning the details that we teach. He's very unselfish. He works extremely hard in practice. He wants to be good. He loves being coached and it shows on the field. He's a really good teammate to have and leader of the team."
- Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. rushed for 83 yards on 22 carries Thursday. Etienne, the No. 25 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft who missed his rookie season with a Lisfranc injury, now has 1,000 yards and four touchdowns rushing on 204 carries this season. "It's been awesome," said Lawrence, who played with Etienne at Clemson. "He's just handled himself great, really mature, just done a lot of good things for us. He's really changed our offense as far as just explosive runs, just the big play ability that he greats. If he has a crease, he can take it to the house. What he's been able to do for us, he's been great, just keep building off of it. The guys upfront are pumped at the end of the game they're like, 'We got to get him to 1,000.' They knew we were close, so it's cool to just see everybody rooting for each other."
- Etienne: "We can't put added pressure on ourselves. We have enough pressure going into the game and just focusing on ourselves. I feel like we're at our best whenever we don't take anything for granted and just play as another one honestly."
- Kirk: "This is great. Everybody in this locker room deserves it. There have been so many guys that are battling through injuries and adversity. Nobody lost hope or hung their head. Nobody felt sorry for themselves. We just came to work every single day. We know the type of people we have in this locker room and the type of talent. Just having it paying off right now, especially when it matters most, is just a great feeling. I know guys are still going to be hungry and we can control our own destiny."