JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser, senior correspondent Brian Sexton and team reporter Ashlyn Sullivan offer quick thoughts on the Jaguars' 24-0 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in a 2022 Week 2 game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday
John Oehser, Jaguars Senior Writer
1. Credit where due. The Jaguars impressed Sunday on many levels: Defense, running back James Robinson and wide receiver Christian Kirk to name a few. Impressive, too: Quarterback Trevor Lawrence and a game plan designed to exploit the Colts' defense.
"Trevor did an outstanding job getting the ball out of his hands," Head Coach Doug Pederson said of Lawrence, who had perhaps the most efficient performance of his 19-game NFL career by completing 25 of 30 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. "He saw things really well."
Lawrence in multiple situations showed the arm talent that made him the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft – and a huge factor was an offensive game plan that efficiently attacked Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley's bend-don't-break Cover 3 scheme.
"Every week we work on that stuff and try to be as efficient as possible," Pederson said. "My hats off to [offensive coordinator] Press Taylor, [quarterbacks coach] Mike McCoy and [passing-game coordinator] Jim Bob Cooter for really putting together a great plan and really helping Trevor. That's something we as a coaching staff take away maybe from the week before. We've got to help our guys. We can't just throw a bunch of plays out there and expect them to execute; we've got to help them."
A week after struggling at times in a Week 1 loss at Washington, Lawrence showed accuracy and confidence throughout a convincing team performance Sunday. An impressive performance for quarterback and play-callers. Very impressive.
2. Just what they needed. When we say "just what they needed," do we mean the Jaguars or their fans? How about both? The Jaguars on Sunday did more than beat the Colts at home for a remarkable eighth consecutive season. They beat a preseason AFC South favorite to move ahead of that team in the standings – and did so with one of their most impressive complete-game performance in recent memory. The Jaguars dominated the first half, 17-0 – 197-68 total yardage – and maintained that dominance for four quarters. They won takeaway-giveaway three-zer, stymied the NFL's best running back in Jonathan Taylor and were never really threatened at any point in this game. Who needed this more? Jaguars players who now have tangible evidence that this team is moving in the right direction under Pederson? Or Jaguars fans, who on Sunday received that same evidence after years of disappointment? Either way, both received that evidence Sunday in the Jaguars' most impressive home opener – and most impressive performance overall – in recent memory.
Brian Sexton, Jaguars Senior Correspondent…
1. The Jaguars' defensive front is going to cause a lot of problems for quarterbacks this season. It was relentless Sunday against an offensive line still considered among the NFL's best with guard Quenton Nelson, center Ryan Kelly and right tackle Braden Smith. Outside linebackers coach Bill Shuey this week offered a sly smile when asked about Josh Allen and Travon Walker as a duo. The Colts weren't smiling Sunday. Those two had Colts quarterback Matt Ryan counting as he took the snap and Jaguars interior linemen Roy Robertson-Harris, Foley Fatukasi, DaVon Hamilton and Adam Gotsis put on a show. They're good – and as defensive linemen Dawuane Smoot and Arden Key find their roles, this defensive front will keep getting better. Just ask Ryan, who was sacked five times and hit 13 other times – pressure that led in no small part to his three interceptions.
2. They said they could fix it. Jaguars players talked about mistakes all week and grew tired of having to answer the questions. A week after committing 13 penalties in a Week 1 loss at Washington, the Jaguars against the Colts committed just three. Last week in Washington, Lawrence completed only 57 percent of his passes; he was 25 of 30 for 83 percent Sunday. Last week in Washington, the Jaguars struggled in the red zone; they scored two touchdowns in two trips inside the Indianapolis 20-yard line Sunday. They're far from perfect. The running game needs some work and there were still some dropped passes. But this was as good a game as the Jaguars have played since the 2017 season. With a trip to Los Angeles on tap to play the Chargers, it couldn't come at a better time.
Sullivan …Ashlyn Sullivan, Jaguars Team Reporter…
1. What a switch. Jaguars players and coaches throughout the week talked about how fixing little things would mean a different on-field result. I didn't think we would see it fixed that quickly, but every "fault" from Week 1 was fixed in seven days. Lawrence's biggest Week 1 issue was his accuracy. He went 25 of 30 Sunday … yeah I would say that is more accurate. I will go ahead and say Sunday was the best game of Lawrence's career. If he can play somewhat consistently to that level, the overall opinion of the entire team changes from a five-to-six-win team to eight and beyond.
2. This is the defense we have been waiting for. The Jaguars' defense dominated our conversation throughout training camp and preseason. On Sunday, they shut out the Colts for the third time and registered their first shutout since a 6-0 victory over the Colts in 2018. Ryan on Sunday never gained any momentum and the Jaguars did a fantastic job taking Taylor out of the game, holding him to 54 yards rushing. Once the Colts offense knew they couldn't run Taylor, they had nowhere else to turn, especially with their two top receivers out. Pederson warned his team in Sunday's postgame speech that the Jaguars would see the Colts again and would get their best after beating them like they did Sunday. For now … the Jaguars will celebrate. As they should. I'm curious where this team will go with a tough opponent on the road, the Chargers, up next.
Get in on the action with these real-time game photos from the Jaguars 2022 season home opener vs. the Colts.