JACKSONVILLE – This one couldn't have been more convincing.
Or more important. Or more satisfying.
The Jaguars' 45-7 victory Sunday over the Houston Texans was all of those things – and most importantly, the victory in front of a sold-out crowd of 64,701 at EverBank Field put the Jaguars in the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
We'll get to details and questions in a moment, but if you're reading this you're probably a long-time reader and long-suffering Jaguars fan. And there has been a lot of suffering in the previous six seasons that you've been reading the O-Zone. That made Sunday very, very cool.
Who knows what lies ahead for this team? Good question. The thought here is this team can do a lot more because this team – because of the offensive line, because of the defense, because of quarterback Blake Bortles, because of the development of young receivers, because of a lot of things – looks very capable of a deep playoff run. Maybe really deep.
But there's time for that later.
For now, enjoy this. This was a cool day. Savor it. Days such as this don't come along every year. Heck, sometimes they only come along once in a decade. #DTWD
Let's get to it …
Sid from Sidsonville:
Blake for MVP!!
John: This is obviously an extreme sentiment, but it's hard to overstate the importance of Bortles' current level of play right now. He completed 21 of 29 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns with no interception and a career-high passer rating of 143.8 Sunday. But as has been the case in recent weeks, Bortles' play can't be described by just his numbers. His poise in the pocket and command of the offense is notable, and he on multiple occasions Sunday took advantage of single coverage in the secondary for huge chunk plays in the passing game. He hasn't thrown an interception in December, and he has thrown seven touchdowns during that span. The Jaguars also are 3-0 in that span, during which Bortles is the NFL's highest-rated quarterback. Bortles obviously won't be the NFL's Most Valuable Player this season. But here's what's notable: He would deserve serious consideration if the award was given for December games; he has been that good. The Jaguars' defense has been Super Bowl-caliber all season and throughout that time conventional NFL wisdom has been that Bortles and the offense were liabilities. That can't be said anymore with any credibility. The Jaguars are a serious threat to go deep into the postseason, and Bortles' recent play is a big reason that's a legitimate statement.
Ryan from Nashville:
Where did this new attitude come from? Already up 21 points in the first half and inside the two-minute warning they called what seemed like 10 straight passes.
John: Confidence is cool. Fans like it.
Tommy from Corona, CA:
No question, but just how 'bout one fer Tommy Bohanon …. Pro Bowler ... Doing the dirty work ... Baby Moose got him a TD ...One for Tommy !!!!
John: This was the much-awaited, oft-bally-hooed, wildy-anticipated First Email of the Game. It was sent just after Jaguars fullback Tommy Bohanon's first touchdown of the game. He got another later. Yeah, good fer Touchdown Tommy. One fer him.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Hey John, I'm at the game! It's really fun. #January
John: Awesome. I'm working. Text me later.
Ron from Akutan, AR:
Has a Jaguars player ever been named Player of the Week 3 times? Go Mickens … what a find.
John: Wide receiver Jaydon Mickens won't be AFC Offensive Player of the Week, but he's an unbelievable story. He has been Special Teams Player of the Week twice and he caught his first two career touchdown passes on Sunday. He had one career reception before Sunday. In a season of remarkable stories on this Jaguars team, he ranks among the best.
Aaron from White Hall, AR:
Blake Bortles with another best game of his career ... starting to lose count of all of these. Go Jags!!!
John: Yeah, the games that deserve consideration for Bortles' best game of his career this season are starting to outnumber the other sorts of games. It also may be getting time to put all the questions about the Jaguars' future at the position on the back burner, but that's a topic for a later day. (But it really does seem like it).
Clayton from Gambier, OH:
I'm stunned by the performance of these young, inexperienced receivers. You?
John: Not anymore.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
In 2007, after we lost in the playoffs, a lot of people thought the Jaguars would be playoff contenders for a while. The reality was the window had closed. No doubt this team is different, but my point is: enjoy this year. You never know how long it will last.
John: True that.
Emiel from Jacksonville:
Bortles might be the guy.
John: True that, too.