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O-Zone: Really real

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Greg from Atlanta, GA

It's very early in the season and we don't know where the Chargers and Colts will end up, but I don't think the 2017 team had back-to-back performances like this against contenders.

These last two games have been impressive. Very impressive. The Jaguars beat the Indianapolis Colts 24-0 at home in Week 2. They beat the Los Angeles Chargers 38-10 on the road in Week 3. You're correct that we don't know how the Colts and Chargers will finish this season, and the NFL truism that you don't really know about a team until about six games into a season is a truism for a reason. But you can't fake the performances the Jaguars have turned in the last two games. They're vastly improved. They're doing things contending teams do. The Jaguars in 2017 absolutely didn't have back-to-back games like this. You have to go back a couple of decades to find back-to-back games like this for this team. It's getting interesting. Very interesting.

Chris from San Diego, CA

The Jaguars beat a Colts team without its top receiver and All-Pro linebacker. They beat a Chargers team missing its top receiver, a ballhawk cornerback and a badly injured quarterback. The winning feels great but am I wrong to think that it still feels a bit like a mirage?

It's fair to acknowledge those injuries. Injuries matter in the NFL, and the Chargers are better with wide receiver Keenan Allen, pass rusher Joey Bosa and cornerback J.C. Jackson. And it's fair to acknowledge quarterback Justin Herbert's rib injury. It's also fair to acknowledge the absence of Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman and linebacker Shaq Leonard in Week 2. The Chargers and Colts are better with those players. But the Jaguars didn't beat those teams by a point or a score. They beat them by 24 or 28 points. Give credit where it's due. The Jaguars deserved the victories. It's not a mirage.

Josh from Lakewood

It didn't seem like the Jags got an obscene number of breaks, questionable calls, or fluky bounces go their way in this one. Kinda just looked like the better team won. Weird, I know, but do you not agree?

Absolutely and without question.

Brian from Nocatee

Is THIS what turning the corner looks like?

Good question, and the answer could be good for Jaguars fans. The Jaguars have looked very good for two consecutive games. Whatever the circumstances, winning back-to-back NFL games by a total of 52 points is rare and impressive. Teams playing poorly do not do this. This does not mean all Jaguars games will be 20-plus-point victories. There still will be ups and downs and stops and starts. But if turning the corner means being better and feeling like a team has a chance each week, if it means a realistic chance a team will win more than it loses, if it means a chance to contend for the postseason and grow into a consistently winning franchise … then yeah, this is what that looks like.

Garrett from Edgewater

Seems to me that Devin Lloyd had a huge game even without the pick.

Good eye. Jaguars rookie inside linebacker Devin Lloyd has six passes defensed and two interceptions in the last two games. Those are weirdly good numbers. He's developing at a striking pace.

Mike from St. Augustine, FL

Unexpected blowout win against a top team on a West coast road trip. National media saying positive things. It's foreign. It's unsettling. How should we feel?

Confident, happy and hopeful – you know … like always.

Daniel from St Johns

Seeing is believing. So, did you see enough to break the Jags into the Top 10? I did! Suddenly the playoffs are a significant possibility!

I expect I will have the Jaguars in the Top 10 in this week's all-important power rankings. As far as the postseason … we're in Week 3. There's a looooong way to go. But is it unreasonable to think the Jaguars could contend? Absolutely and positively not.

Bill from St. Petersburg, FL

This is truly special to watch with the Jaguars right now. All I can say.

Winning is cool. Bill likes it …

Scott from Daytona Beach, FL

Wow. In a good way. To put two games in a row together. That game may have actually been better than last week's.

… and so does Scott …

Corey from Orange Park

JOHN. JOHN. THIS IS HAPPENING. WE ARE A REAL TEAM AND WE CAN COMPETE WITH ANYONE. I AM ABOUT TO LOSE MY MIND. Thanks for all that you do!

… AND SO DOES COREY …

Crash from Glen St. Mary

Yabba Dabba Duuvaaaal!!!

… and Crash is … well, something …

Zac from Austin

At this rate we will lose to Houston 31-3

… while Zac perchance is a bit skeptical.

Max from Albuquerque, NM

Mr. Zone, is it just me or is this the most confident version of Trevor Lawrence we have seen to date? His command and presence in the second half reminded me of how he ended games his whole career at Clemson. I would love to see that Trevor unleashed for 17 games!

It's absolutely the most confident NFL version of Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and why wouldn't that be the case? He threw 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in a rookie season in which most of what was happening around him was a mess. He is entering games this season with a sound game plan. He saw that plan work in Week 1 and entered Week 2 with the knowledge that this coaching staff again would have a plan that could work. That sort of knowledge inspires confidence, and it stands to reason Lawrence is now more confident than before. The result has been a more confident, productive quarterback who has six touchdowns and one interception in three games. The Jaguars also have played with leads in recent weeks, which has helped an improving offensive line protect him better. The Jaguars allowed no sacks and two hurries Sunday. That's pretty damned close to a perfect protection game in the NFL. Of course Lawrence is confident. If he's not now, when will he be?

Zac from Austin, Tejas

Remember when our biggest concern was whether we should kick first or receive first?

I smiled at this.

Charles from Port St. Lucie, FL

Most impressive win in Jaguars history?

This was an impressive victory. It was not a postseason victory. It was not a late-season victory. It was a very encouraging victory. It was the Jaguars' most impressive victory in some time, but considering the time of the season – and considering the absence of a couple of key Chargers players and the health of Herbert – I can't quiiiiiite put it as the most impressive in franchise history.

Dave from Jacksonville

O-man, why not us? What team looks better through three weeks than the Jaguars? I would have named the Chargers before Sunday, but now I can't think of more than a handful.

I can't, either.

Zacc from Austin, tejas

Please tell me you don't think Joey Bosa being out makes this game flukey, too.

I sense you're referencing me saying last week the one-sided, shutout nature of the Jaguars' victory over the Colts in Week 2 had a fluky element. My point was that when a team wins in a shutout in the NFL the team, being shutout typically does something wrong to contribute to that. In that sense, the absence of key players for the Colts gave the victory a fluky element. The absence of Bosa and the injury to Herbert Sunday perhaps gave that game the same level of fluky. But the victories themselves were not fluky. Just their totally one-sided nature.

Bill from Viera, FL

Wow!

Thank you. I make all my own clothes.

JR from The Squatchlands

Doug Perderson for president!

One fer Perderson.

Andrew from Halifax

I know you can only beat down the opponent opposite you but how much do you think injuries helped the Jags win this and the one last week? This being my only sober thought in the midst of pure ecstasy!!!

Injuries matter in the NFL. Injuries to key players matter a lot. The absence of a pass rusher such as Joey Bosa certainly can mean less pressure in key situations. But the Jaguars won by 28 points this week and 24 points last week. They have reduced penalties dramatically. They're playing well. They're executing. The absent players mattered. But these victories weren't about that.

Tim from Fort Wayne, IN

Wow ... is this team actually the real deal?

The Jaguars have won their last two games by a cumulative 52 points. They are plus-eight in turnover margin. They are playing balanced, efficient, consistent offense. They have allowed 10 points in the last two games. This is a week-to-week league that can change in a hurry, but there haven't been many realer teams through three weeks of the 2022 NFL season.

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