JACKSONVILLE – Well, that was a surprise.
A pleasant, wild, shocking, entertaining and oh-so-welcome surprise.
The Jaguars (3-14) on Sunday snapped an eight-game losing streak by winning the 2021 regular-season finale. Their 26-11 victory over the Indianapolis Colts (9-8) at TIAA Bank Field came in a game that wasn't that close – and in a game that helped eliminate their AFC South rivals from the postseason.
The Jaguars' defense played perhaps its best game of the season. It was without question the Jaguars' best overall performance of the season.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence may have played his best game of the season.
What it all means for the future remains to be seen. While players talked of momentum afterward, the reality is this team will open the offseason looking for a new coach with its direction unknown. Much work lies ahead.
But winning is a lot better than losing and winning as the Jaguars did Sunday is a lot of fun.
Good for the players and coaches. Good for the fans. Good for everyone. This was a loooong season. Ending it with a victory was a hell of a lot better than the alternative.
Let's get to it …
Jeremy from Jacksonville
The Jaguars won while retaining the No. 1 overall pick. Couldn't ask for a better ending to the season.
Good eye. The Jaguars indeed won Sunday – in convincing fashion – while the Detroit Lions beat the Green Bay Packers. That means the Jaguars finished the 2021 regular season 3-14 while the Lions finished 3-13-1. That means the Jaguars for a second consecutive year will select No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft. That's not the big-picture goal. But if you're going to have a lost season – and the 2021 regular season undoubtedly was lost for the Jaguars – you may as well select No. 1 the next offseason.
JohnnyD from Cedar Rapids
Oh my!!! We JUST had a first drive score!! Winning IS COOL!
This was the much-ballyhooed, wildly anticipated, awesomely awesome First Email of the Game - and the Jaguars indeed took a 7-0 lead Sunday on an impressive drive on the game's first possession. Lawrence completed eight of eight passes for 83 yards on the drive, capping it with a two-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. It marked the Jaguars' first game-opening touchdown drive since a Week 2 loss to the Denver Broncos and marked the third time this season they had led 7-0. This team hasn't played with a lead nearly enough this season. It makes a difference.
JT from Palm Coast
This season has been so long, but this looks like Mr. Lawrence's best game. Definitely encouraging.
Jason from Rochester, MN
Really hoping the first drive helped calm people a little about Trevor's potential...
One drive does not summarize an entire season or career make, but yes … Lawrence was efficient and impressive on the opening drive Sunday. He threw with confidence and accuracy. It showed what he can be. He just must show that a lot more.
Gary from St. Augustine, FL
This was an embarrassment. Clowns everywhere. Something has to be done.
I saw quite a few pictures of Jaguars fans in clown costumes on Twitter Sunday. I know many fans planned to do this to "protest" the franchise potentially retaining General Manager Trent Baalke. I know some O-Zone readers supported this and that's fine: fans absolutely have the right to voice their opinions. The team hasn't won enough under Owner Shad Khan, and that means he's going to get criticized. I honestly didn't notice from the press box an overwhelming number of clowns in the stadium. I saw none on my way into the stadium. They were there, but they hardly defined the day.
Mike from Atlanta, GA
I bet the clown idiots feel stupid. Point and laugh everyone.
Daniel from Jersey City
O-man, do you think the team knew that absolutely nobody gave them a chance of winning this game?
Jeremy from Wise, VA
This is the most relaxed and in command I have seen TL this season. VERY encouraging! On a side note...Amazing what an early lead can do for a team's energy.
The Jaguars' 7-0 lead in the first quarter Sunday was their third lead since a November 7 victory over the Buffalo Bills. The other two leads came in the first quarter of a loss to the New York Jets. But yes … playing with a lead changes how you call offensive players. It changes how a defense can play. It damned sure doesn't hurt.
Mike from Lakeland
It's a shame wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr.'s positive impact plays are pretty equally negated by impactful drops. It seems to happen weekly.
Chief from Biloxi, MS
How come we are suddenly catching the ball?
I suppose this is a matter of perspective. Yes, the Jaguars' receivers caught some big passes Sunday. But wide receiver Laquon Treadwell caught what would have been about a 50-yard pass in the second quarter and Shenault dropped a potential touchdown pass on the final play of the half. Baby steps, one might say.
Brian from The ATL
Surprised, O? If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised.