JACKSONVILLE – In a weekly feature for the 2021 season, NFL Media and Jaguars Media analyst Bucky Brooks breaks down the Jaguars' performance in a 26-11 victory over the Indianapolis Colts at TIAA Bank Field Sunday
The Jaguars waited until the regular-season finale to play their best game of the season. From beginning to end, the Jaguars dominated the Colts in a game that had significant playoff implications for their opponent. The spectacular performance from the Jaguars not only showcased the potential of their star players, but it gave the football world a peek at their potential when they bring their A-game to the field.
KEYS TO VICTORY
The Jaguars dominated the game from start to finish behind a collaborative effort of the offense and defense. After trying to execute a complementary game plan for the entire season, the Jaguars were able to get it done following a fast start from the offense that enabled the team to play from in front. With the defense playing with a rare lead, defensive coordinator Joe Cullen was able to unleash a barrage of blitzes and pressures to make life miserable for Colts quarterback Carson Wentz on the other side. The veteran eventually melted down under the assault with a pair of turnovers and a handful of questionable decisions that helped the Jaguars control the game. The defense finished it off with a few critical fourth-down stops that showcased the unit's toughness, physicality and superb execution. The sixty-minute performance will go down as one of the best exhibitions of Jaguars football in the past few years.
The No.1 overall pick played his best game of the season against the Colts. Lawrence started the game on fire and finished with a solid stat line (23 of 32 for 223 yards and two scores) that does accurately reflect how well he performed from the pocket. From his pinpoint throws to wide receivers Marvin Jones Jr. and Laquon Treadwell to his management of the offense at the line of scrimmage, the rookie's play in the season finale should silence some of the criticism that was lobbed in his direction throughout the year. Lawrence has improved as a player and leader this season, and the next head coach will inherit a potential superstar in the Jaguars' QB1.
Defensive lineman Adam Gotsis played a key role in the Jaguars' upset win with a solid effort at the point of attack. The veteran notched four tackles and a sack while controlling the line of scrimmage as part of a concerted effort to contain the NFL's leading rusher, Jonathan Taylor. With the Colts' running game under control, the veteran was able to pitch in as a pass rusher to help Josh Allen and others beat Wentz to a pulp in the pocket.
Credit Interim Head Coach Darrell Bevell and passing-game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer for unlocking Lawrence's potential in the season finale. The Jaguars' offensive leaders put together a plan that enabled the rookie to play fast and free in the pocket while avoiding critical errors. In addition, the Jaguars were able to get the running game going behind a committee approach that featured running backs Ryquell Armstead and Dare Ogunbowale splitting the carries. The results were outstanding with the Jaguars putting up 300-plus yards of offense with balance and precision. If the team can put this performance in a bottle and utilize it as a guide for future game plans, the Jaguars should be able to win more games in 2022 with a more mature Lawrence guiding the team.
Cullen has gotten his unit to play with outstanding effort this season, but the defense finally combined the energy with execution in the season finale. The Jaguars beat up the Colts from start to finish with their physicality and toughness overwhelming their division rivals. The combination of blitzes and aggressive run-throughs from the linebackers squashed the Colts' running game and made Wentz take on more responsibility as the director of the offense. The veteran could not handle the pressure and his erratic play enabled the Jaguars to seize control of the game in an impressive performance that showcased their talent and potential as a unit.