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Reviewing Five Key Plays from Jaguars' Divisional Win Over Colts

Five Key Plays - Week 6

JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines five key plays from the Jaguars' 37-20 the Indianapolis Colts in a 2023 Week 6 game at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville Sunday

1. Fourth-and-important. The Jaguars took momentum early Sunday in methodical fashion, following an extended early Colts field-goal drive with an equally extended touchdown drive of their own. Running back Travis Etienne's first touchdown run of the game – a two-yarder up the middle – capped a 13-play, 75-yard drive that followed a 16-play, 65-yard Indianapolis drive on the game's opening possession. Etienne's touchdown gave the Jaguars a 7-3 lead, with Etienne also turning in the drive's key play – a seven-yard run on a sweep left on 4th-and-1 from the Jaguars 45. Also key on the drive: A 17-yard pass from quarterback Trevor Lawrence to rookie tight end Brenton Strange that turned 2nd-and-4 at the Colts 19 into first-and-goal at the two. "I thought we had a really good first half," Lawrence said. "We put some really good drives together, especially the first drive coming out. They had a long drive for a field goal, then we came out and had a long drive to score a touchdown. I thought that really kind of set the tone that we can play that type of game if that's what we need do. That was big for us."

2. Saaaack – and a quick score. The Jaguars extended the lead in sudden fashion following Etienne's early touchdown. Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen got quickly around the Colts' left tackle Bernhard Raimann on the first play of the ensuing series, sacking Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew and forcing a fumble that defensive lineman Angelo Blackson recovered at the Colts 22. That marked Allen's seventh sack of the season. "Josh is the heart and soul on defense," Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson said. Etienne took a direct snap on the ensuing play and scored running through the right side of the defense for a 14-3 Jaguars lead with 14:01 remaining in the second quarter. It was Etienne's fourth rushing touchdown in a little less than two quarters of play and his fifth touchdown of the season.

3. Piiiick – and an impressive drive. The Jaguars moved toward securing victory with an impressive sequence late in the first half. First, safety Andre Cisco registered his third interception of the season – off Minshew at the Jaguars 14 – then returned it 21 yards to the Jaguars' 35. "It's just who we are," Cisco said of the Jaguars' 15 takeaways through six games. The Jaguars drove immediately for their third touchdown of the game, with Lawrence capping the drive with a 29-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Christian Kirk that made it 21-6 with 1:40 remaining in the second quarter. "We'd been in empty [backfield] a few times in the first game (a 31-21 Jaguars victory over the Colts in Week 1) and there were some things I saw, especially after watching it and going back this week, preparing for them again, where I saw how they played their coverage," Lawrence said. "I thought we had a little tell on. That's what we talked about this week. That was something that I felt really confident that we would get, and it honestly happened exactly how I thought it would. It doesn't always work that way when you think something's going to work, but it's cool that it happened that way today." Lawrence converted 3rd-and-6 from the Colts 36 with a seven-yard pass to wide receiver Calvin Ridley one play before Kirk's touchdown.

4. Piiick and a saaack. The Jaguars maintained control of the game in the third quarter Sunday largely because the defense continued to make big plays and stifle Minshew and the Colts. The Jaguars' first big defensive play of the second half came when safety Rayshawn Jenkins caught Minshew's overthrown pass and returned it 24 yards to the Colts 39. That set up a 48-yard field goal by kicker Brandon McManus that gave the Jaguars a 24-6 lead with 10:44 remaining in the third quarter. Outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson's second sack of the season helped end the Colts' next possession, leading to a 10-yard touchdown pass from Lawrence to Strange for a 31-6 lead.

5. Saaaack – and a clincher. The Colts clawed their way a bit closer in the fourth quarter with two touchdown drives, then took possession trailing by two touchdowns with 4:50 remaining. After turning in two touchdown drives of 70-plus yards early in the quarter, the Colts struggled on this drive. They faced 2nd-and-10 at their 19 when Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker and defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris sacked Minshew for a nine-yard loss. Minshew's pass on 4th-and-17 was incomplete, with McManus converting from 51 yards on the Jaguars' ensuing series to give the Jaguars a three-score lead – 37-20 – with 3:00 remaining. "Brandon was kicking the ball extremely well, so getting the three points there was big," Pederson said. "It did stretch the lead. You'd rather have touchdowns obviously in situations like that, but coming away with points were big."

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