JACKSONVILLE – A day after, senior writer John Oehser examines the Jaguars' 26-11 victory over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday in a 2021 Week 18 game at TIAA Bank Field.
1. This was an all-time upset … The Jaguars entered Sunday on an eight-game losing streak, having led only twice during that span. The Colts entered Sunday needing a victory to clinch a playoff spot. NFL teams with playoffs as motivation typically beat struggling teams in late-season games. Not Sunday.
2. … and it was the Jaguars' most decisive victory since 2019. The Jaguars' last victory by double digits came 38-20 over the Colts at TIAA Bank Field in the 2019 regular-season finale. The Jaguars' 26-3 lead in the fourth quarter Sunday was their largest since a 45-7 victory over the Houston Texans in Jacksonville in December 2017.
3. The home "thing" against the Colts is real. The Jaguars on Sunday won their seventh consecutive home game against the Colts, a streak that dates to a 51-16 Jaguars victory in Jacksonville in 2015. The Jaguars are 2-0 against the Colts in Jacksonville the last two seasons and 2-29 in all other games.
4. Lawrence may have had his best game of the season. Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, completed 23 of 32 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions Sunday. He completed his first 10 passes and 14 of his first 15. Lawrence had thrown just two touchdown passes in his previous nine games. "Really happy for him because he really did stay dialed in this whole season," Interim Head Coach Darrell Bevell said. "Tough season for everybody involved, but the way he did and the way everybody responded today, I couldn't be happier."
5. The Jaguars had motivation externally … Bevell: "We want(ed) to be able to knock them (the Colts) out and have a sweet taste for us and a rough taste for them. I thought the guys responded. I was inspired. It's an inspiring game to see guys go out and play as hard as they did with as much heart, with as much spirit, with as much passion, and it really showed, and I couldn't be happier for all those guys."
6. … and internally. Bevell: "All the hard work they put in almost year-round nowadays to get themselves out there, and it's just -- that's something to play for. I think it just showed [Sunday]."
7.Playing with a lead helps … The Jaguars took a 7-0 lead on the game's first possession, then held that lead throughout the game. It was the first time since a 2019 Week 3 victory over the Tennessee Titans the Jaguars played an entire game without trailing. "We did a good job getting off to a good start," Bevell said.
8. … and so does scoring on their first possession. The Jaguars drove 75 yards on their first possession, taking a 7-0 lead when Lawrence passed two yards to veteran wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. That marked their first opening-drive touchdown since a Week 2 loss to Denver – and their third 7-0 lead of the season.
9.Takeaway-giveaway matters. The Jaguars finished plus-two in takeaway-giveaway Sunday, recovering a fumble and registering an interception. The Jaguars did not commit a turnover, just the third time this season they have finished the game turnover-free. The Jaguars were plus-two takeaway-giveaway twice this season and were 2-0 in those games.
11.Jones is a bonus baby … Veteran wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. earned a $500,000 bonus when he caught his fourth pass Sunday, an incentive he earned by catching at least 70 passes this season. Lawrence connected with Jones three times on the first drive and on the first play of the third drive. "I was pretty confident I was going to get him his four," Lawrence said. "We kind of joked around about it, but Marvin, the type of player he is, he's going to get four if we play the way we should. I wasn't really concerned."
12. … and so is Smoot. Jaguars defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot's fourth-quarter sack gave him a six for the season, tying the career-high he set in 2019 and earning a $250,000 bonus. "My wife, she told me don't come home if I don't get the sack, so I'm coming home with it],” [he said.
13.This one mattered to Bevell. Bevell: "I was just really proud of all the guys involved in this very difficult year. A lot of different circumstances, and for these guys to be able to stay locked in, and I think it showed today how important it was, how locked in they were."
15.Wilson remains one of the more underrated Jaguars defensive players. Linebacker Damien Wilson, a veteran who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, registered an interception, a forced fumble and a sack Sunday. He became the fifth player in franchise history to do so. His interception led to a third-quarter touchdown and his sack/forced fumble led to a third-quarter field goal.
16.This season was not easy. Jones: "What we dealt with this season, nobody in their right mind would have thought when you came here that that was going to happen. So, it was great to have the leaders and the people in our locker room that we had to really keep the team together because there was – I mean, sheesh, it was hard. It was good for me and a lot of leaders on this team to really just keep the young guys, like 'Hey, this is not the NFL, don't think this is like the NFL. This is what you do, this is what you do, follow me in this and don't do this and do this and follow here and stuff like that.' So, the leaders on our team within the locker room did an amazing job with the circumstances that we had and all the challenges that we had [been] facing, internally and externally."
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