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O-Zone: Seeing clearly

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Luke from Brisbane, Australia

Howdy, O: A comment posed as a question? Credit to the team for a better win than it felt like at the end for us fans - on the road after a tough stretch with a banged-up quarterback, offensive line and their cornerback out of the game. The Jaguars are 5-2 and the offence hasn't clicked into gear yet. I'm sure there will be a few doomsdayers, but it's a pretty good place to be! Thanks!

I received a few doomdayer emails following the Jaguars' 31-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints at the Caesars Superdome Thursday night. More than a few, actually. And while nothing fans feel or say surprises me much after a dozen years writing this column, I will say angst and/or anger after this victory is grossly misplaced – to the point of being silly. The idea in the NFL is to win, and whether a team looks good doing it matters not a whit. This is particularly true on Thursday games on short rest, games that tend to be sloppy and weird because of lack of rest/preparation. This is even more particularly true for road teams on Thursday because of the added burden of traveling on Wednesday. Not only was Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence playing through a knee injury sustained four days before, right guard Brandon Scherff was playing through an ankle injury also sustained against the Colts the previous Sunday. They also were playing without cornerback Tyson Campbell, wide receiver Zay Jones and left guard Walker Little. The Jaguars under those circumstances won a fourth consecutive game and ensured they will be in first place entering a road game at the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 29. I can't speak to how this game felt at the end for fans. I do know it felt great for the Jaguars. It was a huge victory in difficult circumstances. Say doom all you want, but that's what it was.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Beautiful first drive of the game!

This was the much-ballyhooed, always-significant, sometimes-insanely-negative First Email of the Game. It came after a 10-play, 75-yard drive that running back Travis Etienne Jr. capped with a 2-yard run to give the Jaguars a 7-0 lead with 9:44 remaining. It indeed was a beautiful first drive. It set the tone. The Jaguars followed that with another impressive drive to end the first quarter and start the second. They weren't as good offensively after that, but they made a huge play at the end when it mattered when Lawrence threw 44 yards to wide receiver Christian Kirk with 3:09 remaining. This team isn't great offensively yet. But it's damned good in big moments and that can be as good or better than being great.

David from Ada, OK

They barely pulled their asses out of the fire that time, 'zone.

It's the NFL. Barely pulling their asses out of the fire is what good teams do.

Tony from Johns Creek, GA

O, when you play poorly and still win, that's the mark of a good team.

This was a Thursday game. I suppose we can debate this all we want, but my experience tells me you may as well not wait around very long for a team to play well on Thursdays. My experience also tells me it's particularly difficult to play great when your quarterback plays on an injured knee and you're playing through significant injuries at other positions. You play in those circumstances to win. If you win 3-2, you're happy. If you win 42-41, you're happy. The Jaguars won. They're happy. And they should be.

Jim from Jagsonville

The refs are against us, Johnny O! The script is going off course! It was always the Jags! The Teal is Real! Moodachay! DUUUVALL!! Let's Go Jaguars!

What you have just seen is Thursday Night Football getting the best of a man.

Gabe from Washington, DC

One (big one) for Buster.

Montaric "Buster" Brown started at cornerback for the Jaguars Thursday in place of Campbell. Brown, a second-year veteran, broke up two passes in the end zone. One forced a field goal and the other ended the game. One fer Brown? Absolutely.

Jeremy from Jacksonville by way of Riverview, FL

Mr. O, Christian Kirk showed us how to make up for a turnover, didn't he?

Wide receiver Christian Kirk indeed had a tough fumble for a turnover early. He had been on the ground, stood to fight to make a play and the ball got poked away. It was effort play, and mistakes such as that can happen on effort plays. He more than made up for it with a remarkable catch-and-run touchdown on what ended up as the game-winning score. It's not surprising that he would respond in this way. He's really good and he's a pro. It's what he does.           

Christopher from Conyers, GA

Backup tight end misses wide open touchdown catch. Christian Kirk long touchdown pass. Foye Pick 6. Cardiac Cats is much better when we get the dub. DUUUVAAAALLLL!!!!! 5-2. Mini bye week.

You plaaaaaay to win the gaaaame.

Mark from Archer

Zone, they got the win, nothing else matters about the game. Thursday night games are sloppy n strange. They got the win.

The Jaguars won Thursday. Nothing else matters about the game. Thursday night games are sloppy and strange. The Jaguars won.

Jeremy from Jacksonville by way of Riverview, FL

I hear some complaints, justifiably so, about away fans showing up in Duval. But I saw a lot of teal tonight!

I don't know how many Jaguars fans were in New Orleans. I know it was substantial. I know they were noticeable. This wasn't surprising. Or unusual.

Big Jags Fan from Jacksonville

Three wins in 12 days, four in a row … this team has heart and resilience!


Good Vibes from Happy Place USA

One game in the next ten days, and the bye … things are looking good!


Tom from Jax

I know you and Brian Sexton think Travon is a Top 3 player on our defense, but he just plays too timid. His stats for the game consist of three missed tackles and two able pressures. It's not his fault he was drafted No. 1 but the coaches are not getting much out of him. I won't use the "B word" yet, but you and Brian need to review some tape.

You can use the "b" word all you want. Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker isn't close to being a bust. This is a very good defense and Walker is a huge reason that's the case.

Paul from Washington, D.C.

Have 16 years passed since this team went 5-2? Feels like 80.


Boxcutter Bill from Mass

Wow! So proud of my Jaguars. Shouldn't have been so close, but a win is a win. Especially with how our schedule played out. This team has grapefruits. I know fans are going criticize, but we should all enjoy this. These are games we used to lose. How good is Trevor?

I wouldn't fret the closeness of Thursday's game. Thursday games are weird. The Jaguars were a beat-up team trying to gut through a game at the end of a grueling stretch. They made it through that stretch 4-0 and are 5-2 overall. This has been a very, very good first seven games. People complaining about specifics are missing a very bright big picture.

Paul from Lake City

Grumble, grumble, play calling, grumble, pass rush, grumble, gru- we won? Never mind.

Pretty much.

Jordan from Mandarin

The offense has been inconsistent all season and has not lived up to what many of us thought they would be. At what point do we go from saying, they just need to figure it out to this is who they are.

The Jaguars have scored 68 points in the last two games, with seven offensive touchdowns during that span. They scored three touchdowns Thursday in a game in which they were without a starting offensive lineman, which they had another playing in a bad ankle, in which they were without one of their best wide receivers and in which their quarterback was playing on a bad knee. Have they been inconsistent? Sure. The Jaguars are also 5-2 and the offense has consistently made winning plays at key times in the last four weeks.

JG from Maryland

Jags win their fourth game in a row, on the road against a .500 opponent in a tough stadium at which the franchise has never won a game, on a short week, with an injured quarterback, in a game where they lost the turnover battle. This is an impressive team.

Good eye.

Rob from Jax

I've never seen an NFL team that's clearly superior with less interest in putting teams away. Tell me you don't see the same.

I don't remotely see the same. I see a Jaguars team that has won 13 of its last 18 games and is currently on a four-game winning streak.