JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines five key plays from the Jaguars' 24-0 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in a 2022 Week 2 game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday
1. Interception by Rayshawn Jenkins – and a gutsy fourth-down call. A couple of early-season trends netted the Jaguars an early lead Sunday. First, veteran safety Rayshawn Jenkins intercepted Colts quarterback Matt Ryan to end the game's opening drive. That marked the Jaguars' fourth takeaway in the first five quarters of the season after they had nine all last season, and gave the Jaguars 1st-and-10 at their 32. The key play on the ensuing possession came when quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed an eight-yard pass to wide receiver Zay Jones on 4th-and-3 from the Colts 47. "Zay made a hell of a play," tight end Evan Engram said. That play marked the second time in two games Head Coach Doug Pederson has aggressively gone for a first down on fourth down. This time, it led to a 10-yard touchdown pass from Lawrence to wide receiver Christian Kirk that capped a 14-play drive to give the Jaguars a 7-0 lead with 2:21 remaining in the first quarter. Pederson called the fourth-down conversion "a credit to the guys," adding: "We were in one of those areas of the field where it was a little bit gray – maybe too long for a field goal and too short for a punt. I'm going to try to be as aggressive as possible and give our guys an opportunity. It does help the confidence of the team when you go for it in first down and get it. We ended up with points there." Engram on Pederson's fourth-down aggressiveness: "It's just a boost for our team, for our offense. That was a message. We wanted to come out and set the tone, first drive and state our dominance. That's who we are and it's what we're going to continue to be."
2. Saaaaaack(s). Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen's goal is to be an All-Pro player this season. He played like it early Sunday, registering two sacks. Allen's first sack came late in the first quarter, forcing a fumble by Ryan. Allen registered his second sack of the game on the ensuing series, sacking Ryan for a nine-yard loss that forced a punt on the third Indianapolis possession. That maintained the Jaguars' 7-0 lead that they extended to two touchdowns on the ensuing possession. The Jaguars registered five sacks Sunday, with defensive linemen Arden Key, Adam Gotsis and Roy Robertson-Harris all registering one. "We were just trying to set the tone early," Allen said. "Let those boys know, 'If you're going to come in here, you're going to have to play. Not even here, just against us.'''
3. All.The.Way. Remember when Jaguars running back James Robinson's Achilles was a major offseason worry and storyline? That seems like long ago, and Robinson turned in perhaps the biggest play of the Jaguars' 2022 season to date early in the second quarter Sunday. The Jaguars had dominated and led 7-0, and had driven to the Colts 37 after Lawrence turned a 1st-and-20 into a first-down conversion with a 26-yard pass to Kirk. Robinson – who missed all four preseason games returning from an Achilles injury sustained December 26 – on the ensuing play took a handoff from Lawrence and sliced through the middle of the line, outracing the Colts secondary for a 37-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 Jaguars lead with 7:52 remaining in the second quarter.
4. Fourth down … touchdown. Kirk, perhaps the Jaguars' highest-profile free-agent signing this past offseason, continued on Sunday to produce in a big way early in the season. Kirk caught a team-high six passes for 117 yards in Week 1 – and followed that with six receptions for 78 yards Sunday. Kirk's 10-yard, catch-and-fight-into-the-end-zone touchdown gave the Jaguars an early lead. Kirk's second touchdown came on Pederson's second big fourth-down decision of the day. The Jaguars led 17-0 when Pederson opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 from the Indianapolis 5. Lawrence rolled right and completed a short pass that Kirk caught for a five-yard touchdown and a 24-0 lead with :17 remaining in the third quarter. "He believes in us," Kirk said of Pederson. "When he makes calls like that, it gives you that much more incentive to execute."
5. Pick No. 1 – and No. 2. The Jaguars spent the fourth quarter preserving their first shout since a 6-0 victory over the Colts in Jacksonville on December 2, 2018. The Colts twice early in the period drove near the Jaguars end zone, turning the ball over on downs each time. The Jaguars then registered their second takeaway of the game with four-and-a-half minutes remaining. It came when defensive lineman Foley Fatukasi tipped a pass by Ryan, a deflection that rookie linebacker Devin Lloyd caught in the middle of the field for his first career interception and a first down at the Jaguars 46. The Jaguars essentially clinched the shutout with safety Andre Cisco intercepted Ryan on the ensuing series, enabling the Jaguars' offense to run the clock down to :21 seconds. The Colts didn't threaten after that.