JACKSONVILLE – This was important. Maybe really important.
The Jaguars beat the Indianapolis Colts, 24-0, in the 2022 regular-season home opener at TIAA Bank Field Sunday afternoon. It was the Jaguars' most impressive day since an early-season victory over the then-defending AFC Champion New England Patriots in 2018 – a long ago time in NFL years.
The Jaguars were dominant. And efficient. And fun.
The fans at the 'Bank left happy and full of hope. And it's that last part that made the game feel important. Sunday made fans feel hope about this team for the first time in a while – and that hope is based on real stuff, stuff that has a chance to last and produce real results.
We'll get into the on-field stuff more in this O-Zone Late Night and future O-Zones, but the feeling here is Sunday's giddiness and hope is just the start. Not that the Jaguars will win every game. They may not even win more than they lose for a while.
But it feels like fans will have a legitimate reason to like what they see. And to expect winning. And to have hope. And yeah … that's cool to see. It has been too damned long.
Let's get to it …
Dorf from Jacksonville
Bottle up that first quarter and inject it in my veins!!!
This was the much-ballyhooed, oft-ridiculous, sometimes-awesome, rarely anticipated First Email of the Game. Leading at home is cool. Fans like it.
Wade from the Westside
James Robinson! Jaguars Pay that man!!!!
This probably isn't the time for this. Yet. But time may be drawing near. Robinson, a third-year running back who led the Jaguars in rushing each of the past two seasons, showed again Sunday his value to the franchise. He showed he is special. His Achilles injury that kept him out all four preseason games appears very much in the past. This isn't going to be a run-centric, grind-it-out offense but that doesn't mean Robinson won't be really important. And yes … at some point, the Jaguars may need to figure how to address "that man's" contract.
Boxcutter Bill from Massachusetts
All you "fans" calling Lawrence a bust and screaming same old Jaguars. After a hard-fought Week 1 loss, where there were multiple signs of improvement. Y'all still here, or are we changing handles?
They're still there. They're just quiet. The fans and observers who criticized and worried over Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence last week will re-burden him with the weight of expectations in the coming days. So, it always has been and so it always shall be.
Gary from St. Augustine, FL
Even when the Jaguars win, you suck.
It's sort of impressive when you think about it.
TC from Section 124
I usually spend the second half worrying about getting farther behind. I spent the second half this week worrying about blowing the shutout. I like this better.
Winning makes everything better and covers all flaws. This game doesn't mean the Jaguars are that much better than they were a week ago. I still see them as a six-to-eight victory team. They will have ups and downs. What Sunday did was prove to fans and observers – and perhaps to Jaguars players themselves – that they can get desired results when they play well. That's a good thing to prove and bodes well for the team's development moving forward.
Johnny Westside 1-0 at Homeside
Told you. But seriously, shout out to the Duval crowd. I have nosebleed seats and the Bank was rockin today.
This fan base is raucous, supportive and has seen little about which to cheer for a decade. Give these fans a winner – anything close a winner, actually – and they will erupt. This always has been true.
Tom from Jax Beach
HOW SWEET IS A WIN!!
Winning is cool. Fans like it.
KC from Orlando
KOAF - I am not sure anyone expected such a dominant defensive display with a balanced and efficient offensive display, but do you think this could serve as a statement game? Go Jags!
It's a statement in the sense that the Jaguars showed their fans, the league and perhaps themselves that they can win in dominant fashion when they play well. I don't think it necessarily shows more than that because they haven't shown they are more than that. Good teams in the NFL do what the Jaguars did Sunday. They also win close games. They also do it three and sometimes four times in a four-game span. They do it on the road. They do it when their opponent is at full strength, which the Colts were not Sunday. They do it when they're injured, which the Jaguars currently are not. This was a good step Sunday. There are many more to take.
Daniel from Jersey City
O-man - How did we have the opposite of last week in literally just one week?
It's the NFL.
Andrew from Halifax
Death, taxes, and ...
… the greatness of longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette.