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Quick Thoughts on the Jaguars 31-21 Victory Over the Colts

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Senior writer John Oehser, senior correspondent Brian Sexton and team reporter Kainani Stevens offer quick thoughts on the Jaguars’ 31-21 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in a 2023 Week 1 game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., Sunday

John Oehser, Jaguars Senior Writer…

  1. This is Week 1. There likely will be angst among Jaguars fans/observers after Sunday. But while this was not the one-sided victory some observers expected, it was a victory – and that's all that matters in a regular-season opener. The Colts did what was expected by protecting quarterback Anthony Richardson early in his first NFL start. When forced to throw downfield with the game on the line in the fourth quarter, he made a mistake typical of a young quarterback and Jaguars veteran cornerback Tyson Campbell made the interception that essentially sealed the game. Credit the Jaguars for something important: They played what could be considered a sloppy game and it could have gotten away from them in a strange third quarter. That they imposed their will and rallied before pulling away in the fourth quarter is an impressive effort for the defending AFC South Champions in Week 1.
  2. Big plays, big moments. A lot went wrong for the Jaguars in the third quarter. Just as much or more went right in the fourth, with perhaps the key play coming from veteran returner/wide receiver Jamal Agnew. The Jaguars trailed 21-17 after a third quarter that featured a weird fumble return for a touchdown by Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, a play on which both quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Tank Bigsby fumbled. With just over 11 minutes remaining, Agnew caught a punt on a bounce at the Jaguars 6. He ran to his right, picked up a block and nearly got free for a touchdown down the sideline for a 48-yard return to the Colts 46. The play led to running back Tank Bigsby's one-yard touchdown run that gave the Jaguars a lead they never relinquished. "It's really just making a good decision," Agnew said. "That's what being a returner is. You have to make good decisions to put the offense in good positions. Fortunately, I got a really good bounce. That bounced right to me. And the gunner didn't even know where the ball was. I was like, 'I'm just going to take it and run, get as much as I can.' I see just nothing but open field. I got a couple good blocks and we got past the 50 and the rest history." A huge play in the biggest of Week 1 moments.

Brian Sexton, Jaguars Senior Correspondent …

  1. The offensive line was a storyline when camp opened and a question mark when the preseason ended. The Colts' defensive front is the answer to the question of what happened for the first three quarters Sunday. The group filled gaps in the running game and put pressure on Lawrence most of the afternoon. The Jaguars' offensive line struggled with Buckner and Co. and it was never more evident than on the Jags failed fourth-down attempt with 12:55 remaining. The group couldn't create enough room for their six-foot-six quarterback to gain less than a yard. They get credit for creating running room in the deep red zone on the go-ahead touchdown drive late in the fourth but there is no question that offensive line coach Phil Rauscher has his work cut out for him this week as the Jaguars prepare for Kansas City. Hopefully, Kansas City defensive lineman Chris Jones' holdout continues.
  2. The defense answered some questions about their side of the ball. The Jaguars' defense gave up some plays to Richardson and a long screen to wide receiver Michael Pittman for a touchdown, but the unit figured things out and clamped down on the Colts' offense. The Colts converted only two of 12 third dows and one of five fourth-down attempts to keep the Jags alive until the offense came alive. Outside linebacker Josh Allen had a career-high three sacks and outside linebacker Travon Walker added a sack of his own to go with six tackles. The Jaguars allowed 14 points, created turnovers and pressure, and even had a nice goal line stand in the final minute. They played really well. Imagine what's possible with this group when playing with a lead this season.

Kainani Stevens, Jaguars Team Reporter/Producer ...

  1. You never know what to expect in Week 1. There was little of everything from the Jaguars in the season opener. There were undeniably good signs. The Lawrence-wide receiver Calvin Ridley connection is real. The defense has been criticized about the pass rush all offseason. Allen responded with a sack on the Colts' first drive of the game. However, the Jaguars let the Colts hang around thanks to sloppy mistakes and penalties. Jacksonville was fortunate to get bailed out on a few of them, including Ridley's fumble out of bounds and a Lawrence throw that should have been intercepted. Failing to keep their foot on the gas allowed Indy to stay competitive in a game that should not have been as close as it was. If we thought this team had an identity going into the season, I'm not so sure about that after Week 1.
  2. Good teams win the games they are supposed to win. The only avenue for a Colts victory on Sunday was for the Jaguars to make costly mistakes. Jacksonville got bailed out several times but didn't take advantage of those second chances. Allowing the home team to hang around and build confidence usually spells disaster for the visitor. The Jaguars found a way, but it was far from pretty.

What we've all been waiting for 🐆 In game is full of ACTION and you don't want to miss out on these top shots throughout the Jaguars vs. Colts game!

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