O-Zone Late Night: Jaguars 27, Colts 20

JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars beat the Indianapolis Colts, 27-20, in the 2020 regular-season opener at TIAA Bank Field Sunday.

This victory was impressive for many reasons. The contributions of the rookie class. The performance of quarterback Gardner Minshew II. The play of the offensive line. The play of the defensive line. The play of the wide receivers. And so on.

It was impressive, too, because the Jaguars overcame early adversity – a lot of it – in precisely the way Head Coach Doug Marrone believed possible. Marrone said often in 2020 Training Camp he liked this team and believed it would respond well in difficult circumstances. It did, and that was a big reason for Sunday's victory.

But Sunday was impressive for the Jaguars mostly because it didn't feel remotely like a fluke. They beat a team many believe will contend in the AFC South and they ran well. They stopped the run. They played relatively mistake-free. They took a late lead with an impressive fourth-quarter drive and they closed it out with two impressive defensive stops. 

They played how they want to play. Smart, tough – and yes … team first.

This was nothing fluky. This was solid. This was encouraging.

This was impressive. 

Let's get to it…

Marc from Oceanway

How did the rest of the NFL miss on James Robinson? Small school or not, this kid is calm and cool and what amazing vision finding those holes and seams. Wow!

Jaguars running back James Robinson started Sunday and performed well in his first NFL game, which was a surprise to many observers but not a major surprise to the Jaguars. He had performed well in training camp, and fans on Sunday saw what the Jaguars saw that made them feel comfortable starting the rookie free agent and waiving two-time 1,000-yard rusher Leonard Fournette. Robinson – who played collegiately at FCS school Illinois State – appears to have big-time vision and ability to hit the hole, and he appeared more than capable of handling an NFL workload. Even though he had an impressive NFL Scouting Combine and was projected as a late-round selection, all teams passed on him in the 2020 NFL Draft. How? Drafting and scouting is an inexact science. Teams miss. Everyone apparently did on Robinson. Consider the Jaguars lucky on this one. Good for them.

Brett from Canton, MI

I know it won't happen every week, but holy crap what a show by the Jags rookies. Super impressive and gives a lot of hope for the next several seasons. Especially if Minshew keeps impressing. Duuuuuuvallllllllll!!!

Youth was served in a big way for the Jaguars Sunday. A slew of rookies – cornerback CJ Henderson, Robinson, wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr., nose tackle DaVon Hamilton and defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson in particular – had huge contributions. You're right that it's difficult to expect that from rookies every week, but there's nothing about any of those players that makes you believe they can't have continued to have an impact this season. And yes … it's all about Minshew. Sunday doesn't make him The Franchise, but it was awfully impressive.

Clayton from Gambier, OH

Only six penalties. Only 13 points allowed after the opening-drive touchdown. This defense deserves a lot of praise.

Yes, it does. Linebacker Joe Schobert probably explained this best afterward, saying that some of the early defensive struggles Sunday were in part about this being the first time this defense had really done any significant hitting because of a relatively light training camp and no preseason. The Jaguars adjusted defensively. They got better. The run defense, for at least a game, looked much better – particularly as the game continued. That's a good sign.

Chris from Mandarin

Sooo ... the defense is a siv. Tell us again how Myles Jack is better than many observers believe. Get real.

So … this was the much-anticipated, oft-ballyhooed, usually-premature First Email of the Game – and not unusually, it indeed was premature. Jack had a tough play early, missing a tackle on the Colts' first touchdown drive. But he made plays as the game went on – as did the Jaguars' defense.

Jerell from Columbia, SC

New year, same ole Jags. Fast track to 0-16.

(Third email of the game. And Jerrell was already in midseason form. Impressive.)

Josh from Atlanta, GA

I can't say enough about Henderson. I mean WOW. He has been all over the field making exceptional plays and has zero flash about himself. I am so excited about this kid.

Good eye.

Jim from Jagsonville

Strong as a freight train, faster than a bullet, and leaps over defenders in a single bound! No. 30 is Superman! Go Jaguars.

This was about Robinson. It was sent after he hurdled a defender in the fourth quarter on his way to a 28-yard gain on a swing pass. Marrone joked later that while he had confidence in Robinson, he didn't know he was going to be hurdling defenders. It was a cool moment. 

Ryan from Fremont, OH

Jalen who?

Slow down.

Patrick from Victoria, BC

O-Zone, where are all the analysts and "experts" now?

Winning is cool. People in Canada like it …

Jake from Virginia

Much needed! What a start. Put that in your power rankings national media.

… and in Virginia …

Oscar from Palm Coast, FL

Hey O. WOW WOW WOW no tanking here

… and in Florida …

Micah from Chicago

O'dawg, can you help me decide which jersey I should wear to Tampa in February?

… and in the Windy City.

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