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O-Zone: Just joking

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Big Jags Fan from Jacksonville

Did the Jaguars use a "hope-a-dope" defense to beat the Steelers? Asking for a wide receiver from another world.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens indeed in the days leading to Sunday referred to the Jaguars as having a "hope defense." It was a weird comment. It was hard to know exactly what he meant or why he said it. Either way, the Jaguars' defensive players did not think the comment was cool. They did not like it. Safety Andrew Wingard afterward said: "You don't fire up a hungry dog." Safety Rayshawn Jenkins seemed unamused, too, saying: "We put a lot of work into this game and for someone to disrespect us like that, we took that personal. Going back to that hope thing, man, like I keep telling everybody, we were just hoping they would've come in here and put up a better fight than that." Pickens caught one pass for 22 yards and a touchdown in the Jaguars' 20-10 victory over the Steelers at Acrisure Stadium Sunday, so it was the Jaguars' right to take some jabs after the game. It was a fun storyline and it's OK for sports to be fun. A little pregame/postgame give and take always is entertaining. Good stuff.

Cliff from Callahan, FL

Wow, that was very disappointing. I was really hoping to see George Pickens play. Hopefully he's OK. I sure hope he's having fun wherever he went ...

We have talked often in the O-Zone over much of the last year about the importance of being nice. This wasn't nice.

Mark from Orange Park, FL

Is something wrong with Engram? Looks like he catches ball with cinderblocks on his feet.

Jaguars tight end Evan Engram caught 10 passes for 88 yards Sunday and repeatedly made plays to keep drives alive. Five of his receptions were for first downs. The teams were playing in a wet field. Perhaps that caused you to see things you did.

Biff from Jacksonville

Wonderful to watch the victory in person. I'd like to highlight the Steelers fan base for being accommodating and pleasant. I highly recommend a trip to Pittsburgh for a Jags game. What was your experience from the press box? Surely dry and not as cold.

My experience from the press box was warm and dry. The food also was consistent and easy to attain. This is why I did not leave the press box during the game.

Randy from Way Up North

These guys are playing real good football. It's hard to be too critical.

You would be surprised.

Ed from Jax by Lionel Playworld

Regardless of Steelers wide receiver George Pickens's comments and considering our play this year, what is our defense's identity?

Tough, really good at forcing turnovers, really good against the run, really good at making quarterbacks uncomfortable. Really good, mostly.

Nicholas from Fort Cavazos, Texas

KOAF: Two numbers stick out to me: 0:00 and 53 minutes and 51 seconds. The former represents the amount of time the Jaguars trailed against the Steelers and the latter represents the amount of time the Jaguars held the lead. Is there better football ahead?

Stay tuned.

Howard from Homestead, FL

The refs were very kind to us Sunday?

Were they? Officials ruled that Jaguars running back Tank Bigsby fumbled early in the third quarter. Perhaps he did, but it was very close. I also thought officials missed a roughing-the-passer call on Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt on quarterback Trevor Lawrence. I did see where Steelers players were complaining about officiating and saying the officials wanted the Jaguars to win. To think that officials "want" one team or the other to win in the NFL is the height of delusion. To think that officials are going to favor the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Pittsburgh Steelers' home stadium is perhaps taking that height to different heights.

Keith from Saint Augustine

Somebody needs to get Diontae Johnson a little terrible towel to cry in after crying about the refs.

I kind of smiled at this.

TC from Section 124

Two questions, how is Travis and did it look like you we may have overcompensated on trying to get Ridley involved? By the way, winning is cool and people really like it.

Etienne left the game with an ankle injury Sunday and returned. No, it did not look like the Jaguars overcompensated trying to get wide receiver Calvin Ridley involved. It looked like he had a productive game.

Mike from Omaha, NE

Hi, John. Are we now good enough that we can win when we don't play our best? Thank you.


Mike from Ponte Vedra

Can someone teach Trevor how to throw the ball away? If there's nothing in end zone or if pocket breaks down.

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence gave away a red-zone opportunity with a bad decision early in the second quarter Sunday. He was intercepted on first-and-goal from the 6-yard line by Steelers safety Damontae Kazee five yards deep in the end zone. He should have thrown out of bounds. Lawrence did this a few times last season. Sunday was a bad decision. I don't see it being a "thing" for him moving forward. Stay tuned.

Clayton from Shawnee, OK

This team's defense is special.

It's certainly getting there.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

I liked our kicker last year, but McManus is a beast. Definitely an upgrade. He seems like he is always automatic.

Many wondered why the Jaguars changed kickers this past offseason, signing Brandon McManus after he was released by the Denver Broncos. He has converted 17 of 19 field goals this season and is four of five from 50 yards or more. He converted four of four on a wet field Sunday: 51, 50, 37, 38. That was why.

The Other Michael from Middleburg, FL

It was ugly, and the Jags certainly made it harder than it had to be on themselves ... but they beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh and never trailed in the process. Can't ask for much more than that.

This is correct.


Even though the Jags won, the tackling was bad at horrible moments.

The Jaguars held the Steelers to 261 yards and one offensive touchdown. They allowed no first downs in the first quarter. When you hold an NFL team to one touchdown with that touchdown coming when you're leading by 14 points, that's good defense.

Bill from Saint Augustine, FL

Once again, not putting a team away! Too many mistakes in scoring positions.

I'll repeat this for those in the back. The Jaguars have won five consecutive games with three of those victories by 10 or more points. The victory Sunday was by 10 points. They have trailed once in their current five-game winning streak. The time they trailed was 3-0 to the Indianapolis Colts, and they immediately took the lead on their first offensive position of the game. They led in the fourth quarter by seven points Sunday, forced a turnover and kicked a field goal to make it a two-score game. The game never was in doubt after that. This is putting teams away in the National Football League.

Peyton from Loveland, CO

Why didn't we see Walker Little play Sunday even though he was active?

Little was out the last two weeks with a knee injury and was questionable on the final injury report of the week. The Jaguars wanted to go with Tyler Shatley at left guard for at least another week for continuity's sake. Putting an offensive lineman back in quickly against a pass rush as good as that of Pittsburgh can be risky.

Anita from Springfield

Daily reminder that Logan Cooke is the GOAT. Is the offense our third best unit? Feels like it.

As NFL punters go, I don't know that Logan Cooke of the Jaguars is the greatest of all time. But he's damned good. And damned reliable. Is the Jaguars' offense the third best unit on the team right now? Maybe. If so, that's a good thing because it's not bad as much as it is sporadic. And it feels as if it has a chance to get better.

Doug from Riverside

Will Dewey put that terrible towel up maybe for a charity auction? I'll bid!


Scott from Jax to Rehoboth Beach, DE

Talk about grinding it out, O-man! The belief in this team never wavered. To get the "W" with that many turnover and penalties is a feat in itself. But the facemask penalty early on hurt. I don't understand how it's a penalty when the wide receiver is just protecting himself. Is it only called on receivers? I don't recall MJD or other running backs being penalized for this back in the day. Or maybe I'm just getting too old to remember…

Offensive players do get called for facemask penalties from time to time, though it's comparatively uncommon. The one on Jaguars tight end Evan Engram in the first half Sunday did hurt. It was sort of a have-to-call and pretty obvious.

Ken from Jacksonville

Not many of those little yellow towels left at 4:16 pm.

Ken's got jokes.