JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines what we learned from the Jaguars' 22-20 victory over the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, Sunday
1.The Jaguars are still in it.There's plenty of time in this What We Learned to talk details – and all of the weirdness that was that game Sunday. But big picture? The Jaguars are a game out of first place with four of their next five games at home. Hmmm..
2.The Jaguars are scrappy …OK, lucky was an operative word for the Jaguars Sunday. But you don't get to be lucky unless you're scrappy first. So, were the Jaguars lucky at the end? Was there good fortune in Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil reaching and grabbing – really, really grabbing – Blake Bortles' face mask on the final play? Sure. Did they have to fight to get there? Yeah, they did that, too.
Images from the Jaguars Week 10 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
3. … and the "football gods" don't always frown on this team.OK, so referencing the football gods is a bit of a cliché, and a bit of a crutch, but how do you explain the end of that game Sunday? It was over – just plain over. And then it wasn't. And now the season isn't, either.
4.The Jaguars' pass rush …This isn't the day to belabor this point – and the pass rush did come up with a key sack/fumble by defensive tackle Abry Jones in the third quarter. But overall it's just too easy for opponents to throw when the Jaguars bring four down linemen.
5.A half a second matters.That was the difference between the game being over and the Jaguars winning. Jaguars center Stefen Wisniewski's snap to Bortles appeared to take place just before the clock turned to zero. After Bortles slipped and got back up, Dumervil grabbed his face mask for a penalty that had to be called. Moments later, kicker Jason Myers' 53-yard field goal was sailing through. Cue the celebration.
6.Jason Myers can kick in the clutch …Give the rookie credit where it's due. He has made a couple of really big kicks this season – one against Miami and the 53-yarder on Sunday. The game-winner on Sunday? Considering what happened in the third quarter? Well, it was clutch. No doubt. At the same time …
7. … Myers can't miss 26-yard field goals.The game-winner was big-time. And it made for a great story. Still, Myers' 26-yard shank/knuckleball in the third quarter could have been very, very – very – costly. You can't be holding your breath over field goals from under 30 yards. Or under 40, for that matter.
8.Allen Hurns is a really good player …Remember when people in the preseason wanted Hurns released for dropping a few passes? Remember when he had a drop or two early in the season? And last season? Those times seem very far away. Hurns has gone from a good story after making the team as an undrafted free agent to a really good player. He may even be – dare we say it? – Pro Bowl good.
9. … and tough, too.Hurns not only played through a sprained foot that kept him out of practice Wednesday and Thursday, he held on to two passes on a third-quarter drive after hits that absolutely should have separated him from the ball. Tough. Really tough.
10.Bryan Walters is tough, too.Not only did the veteran wide receiver move on to the next play without a blink when he was lifted into the air and thrown down by safety Will Hill in the first quarter, he somehow held on to the ball on a nine-yard, fourth-quarter play on which he sustained a concussion. Tough. Really tough.
11.Davon House is a good corner.The Jaguars demoted him for a game in Week 7 in part because they wanted more consistency from the player they signed as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. Aside from a few plays against Houston in Week 6, House has been the team's best cornerback this season. He certainly was on Sunday, registering two interceptions in the third quarter. Those are the first two interceptions by a Jaguars defensive back this season.
12.Bortles still must get more consistent.This isn't a pile-on-Bortles edition of What We Learned, mainly because he threw two touchdown passes. But he also threw at least three passes that could have been intercepted. One could have been a first-half interception, and that play could have been a pick-six by cornerback Jimmy Smith. Bortles also was inconsistent much of the game. Rough games aren't overly unusual for young quarterbacks, and Bortles' future is bright. Still, Sunday absolutely was rough.
13.The special teams are still struggling.Yes, Myers' 53-yard field goal won the game, but the Jaguars also allowed a 50-yard kickoff return early in the game. And Myers' early miss could have been a killer. This area has struggled much of the season. That continues.
14.It's better to be lucky than good.Sometimes …
15.T.J. Yeldon is ascending.This wasn't the rookie's best game, but it was far from his worst. He didn't appear to have gaping holes, yet he sliced and slashed for a few effective gains in the first three quarters. He rushed for 61 yards on 18 carries, and as the line and the entire offense improve, you get the feeling he will, too.
16.The Jaguars are in this thing.It bears repeating: the Jaguars are a game out of first place. They have won two of three games. They won on the road Sunday for the first time since 2013. All of those are storylines but the biggest storyline is the Jaguars are a game out of first place with seven remaining. They play four of the next five at home. Hmmm …