JACKSONVILLE – In a weekly feature for the 2022 season, NFL Media and Jaguars Media analyst Bucky Brooks breaks down the Jaguars’ performance in a 19-3 victory over the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Thursday
- The Jaguars have relied on the lessons learned from early-season losses to help them turn things around this season. Against the Jets, the team's growth and maturity stood out as they overcame some early miscues and challenging weather conditions to play one of their best games of the year. Although the scoreboard did not accurately reflect the Jaguars' dominance of a playoff-caliber opponent, the defensive suffocation and the offensive annihilation suggest the team is playing its best football down the stretch. With the football world starting to take notice, the Jaguars are beginning to play like a team ready to compete with the league's heavyweights.
KEYS TO VICTORY
- The Jaguars' complementary football approach paid huge dividends against the Jets. Jaguars Head Doug Pederson and Co. utilized a "three-phase" game plan that melded the offensive, defensive and special teams game plans to handle inclement conditions and an opponent playing with a struggling quarterback. With the Jets unable to challenge the Jaguars with an inept and ineffective offense, the coaching staff opted to play it safe and wait for the opponent to unravel. The mistakes and miscues from the Jets eventually led to scoring opportunities that enabled the Jaguars to walk out of MetLife Stadium with a comfortable win.
- The second-year pro continues to dazzle as an emerging star quarterback. Lawrence carved up the Jets with surgical precision on an assortment of quick-rhythm throws and bootleg tosses that kept the offense on schedule. In addition, the former No. 1 overall pick showed quick hands and excellent ball placement, firing the ball out to the perimeter on various bubble screens to the tight ends and wideouts that neutralized the Jets' fierce pass rush. Considering the challenging weather conditions, Lawrence's efficient execution in a primetime game deserves applause.
- Tight end Evan Engram has become one of the Jaguars' most dependable playmakers in the passing game. The former Pro Bowler has 31 receptions over the past four games, including a seven-catch effort against the Jets that resulted in 113 receiving yards. The explosion in production has made the Jaguars' offense nearly impossible to defend, with wide receivers Zay Jones, Christian Kirk and Marvin Jones taking turns as the No. 1 option in the passing game. As Engram begins to command double coverage and bracket tactics due to the mismatches he creates on the perimeter, the Jaguars could see the wide receiver trio and running game explode in the coming weeks.
- Pederson deserves credit for crafting a playbook and call sheet that perfectly matches the talent of the offensive lineup. Despite lacking a superstar on the perimeter, the Jaguars put opposing defenses in a bind due to their diverse lineup and multi-faceted scheme. Against the Jets, the combination of personnel and tactics overwhelmed a playoff-caliber opponent with a championship defense. The quick-rhythm throws from Lawrence complemented a deceptive running game that kept the Jets' defense on its heels the entire night. Although the unit did not light up the scoreboard, the efficient performance enabled the Jaguars to control the game and chalk up another win in December.
- Defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell unleashed the dogs on Jets quarterback Zach Wilson to force the second-year pro into a miserable performance that led to a second-half benching. The Jaguars harassed the young quarterback with persistent pressure utilizing various stunts, games and blitzes to disrupt the timing and rhythm of the Jets' passing game. In addition, the Jaguars created turnovers to set the offense up in prime scoring positions. With the defense in control of the game from the start, the Jaguars earned a victory in a must-win game on the road.