HOUSTON, Texas – This was methodical. And comparatively easy.
It was the perfect game for the Jaguars at the perfect time – a 31-3 victory over the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium, a comfortable victory that set up the Jaguars' Week 18 showdown with the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field.
That game will decide the AFC South title.
Sunday's game had no division ramifications. And while it did have wild-card meaning for the Jaguars, there was legitimate pre-game concern over whether their focus and intensity would be as high as it had been in the previous three games of what is now a four-game winning streak.
The concern was unfounded. The Jaguars were ready. They played well, if not spectacularly. They turned in a professional, methodical late-season victory in exactly the way good teams do such things.
Good stuff for the Jaguars Sunday.
Let's get to it …
Michael from Orange Park, FL
Pretty boring game.
Well … I guess. And I suppose by heart-stopping, hold-your-breath standards that makes two consecutive "boring" Jaguars victories because a 19-3 victory over the New York Jets in Week 16 was similarly without drama. But guess what? "Boring" victories count in the standings – and after a decade's worth of "boring" losses, "boring" victories are pretty cool. I considered the last two games important for the Jaguars. They played two opponents with quarterback issues, which meant they "should" have won both games. They did so in relatively comfortable fashion. That's what good, contending teams do.
Clayton from Shawnee, OK
Things are clicking at just the right time...
Good eye. The Jaguars' victory on Sunday might be best described as "methodical." Quarterback Trevor Lawrence perhaps wasn't great by his recent standards, but he was good on a few big plays that mattered. And the Jaguars ran well. And the defense played well. It was a good, needed performance heading into next week's regular-season finale.
Zac from Austin, Tejas
Last year my wife took me to my first NFL game in Houston and it was … well, you remember. She took me again today as an anniversary gift (and a break from four kids) and it was spectacular. Winning is good. But winning with these guys is better.
Winning is cool. Zac likes it. He really likes it when the four kids are at home and he's at the game.
Jeremy from Jacksonville by way of Miami
Talk about taking some momentum into week eighteen!
It was exactly the sort of game the Jaguars wanted in this situation. They won convincingly, maintained end-of-season momentum, got Lawrence and other key players out of the game early in the second half, kept up their chances at finishing with a winning record … a lot of boxed were checked without much stress. Good day for the Jaguars.
Pete from Jacksonville
Trust in Doug!
Art from Shy of the Ditch
O, have to ask, did No. 1 find another gear? Sure, looked like it on the touchdown run. First time I have seen him pull away like that...
You're referencing Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr.'s 62-yard, second-quarter touchdown run. He looked fast on the run, but I don't want to overplay it. He has been fast at other times this season. Etienne on Sunday's long run broke a tackle by safety Jalen Pitre and was into the clear pretty quickly. He pulled away, but it was pretty clear running.
Jeremy from Wise, VA
Lack of pass rush continues to be very concerning.
I've written often this season the Jaguars' pass rush isn't elite. I don't expect it to magically become elite in the next week – or the next few weeks. But this area has been better in recent weeks. I wouldn't necessarily draw too many specific conclusion based on one game that was decided early. I don't know that the coaches were doing much beyond the basic for much of that game Sunday.
Mike from Cartersville (AKA Trevortown), GA
Are they cruising yet?
Ask me after Week 18.
Jim from Jagsonville
TOUCHDOWN! OK, I've seen enough. Go ahead and pull the first-string offense. The D needs to stay in a few more series. Go Jaguars.
This was the much-ballyhooed, oft-discussed, rarely bombastic First Email of the Day. It was unsurprisingly a bit extreme – though admirably spirited with an EXCLAMATION POINT AND CAPITAL LETTERS! This came after running back JaMycal Hasty gave the Jaguars a quick 7-0 lead with a five-yard touchdown run with 8:24 remaining. Though it was not yet time to pull starters, it was exactly the start the Jaguars hadn't had enough this season and it set the tone.
MMA Rudy from Sacramento CA
Resting starters in the fourth quarter with a big lead. I guess we've arrived…
It's what good teams do.