JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines what we learned from the Jaguars' 23-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins at EverBank Field Sunday ….
1.The Jaguars are 1-1.We learned this when the game ended Sunday, which was the same time we learned that the Jaguars are tied for first place in the AFC South after two weeks. So, the season wasn't over following the regular-season opener after all.
2.The Jaguars can handle adversity.If there was an overriding theme around the Jaguars this past week it was the need to better handle adversity. If there was an overriding takeaway on Sunday it was that the Jaguars indeed handled it. They led 20-13 at halftime; after the Dolphins tied it early in the third quarter, the Jaguars had numerous chances to let the game get away. They never did.
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3.This offensive line can play.A week after allowing five sacks in the regular-season opener, the line allowed none Sunday. Credit Sam Young for allowing no sacks in relief of left tackle Luke Joeckel. A year ago, the Jaguars allowed 10 sacks in Week 2 and the result was maybe the low point of the Gus Bradley/David Caldwell era. Big, big difference.
4.Jason Myers just might be OK.Speaking of handling adversity … the Jaguars' rookie kicker did just that this week. He missed two makeable kicks in his NFL debut a week ago; he responded on Sunday by not only kicking a 58-yard field goal at the end of the first half, but by converting a 28-yard game-winner with :40 remaining. He finished 5-of-5 for the day.
5.A-Rob can go get the ball …We knew this before, but we didn't see it in the regular-season opener. Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson made a huge 36-yard reception early in the game when he out-wrestled a defender for the ball – and capped the drive with a three-yard touchdown reception. He later had a 52-yard reception where he won a 50-50 ball. That's the way he can play and he was effective Sunday.
6. … and he might be big-time.The second-year receiver caught six passes for a career-high 155 yards Sunday. He had a 52-yard reception. And a 36-yard reception. And a 45-yard reception. That's a lot of big plays. Robinson talked in the offseason about not having played with the aggressiveness and confidence he expected from himself last season as a rookie. He believed he was ready to play that way this season. On Sunday, he did.
7.Blake Bortles can rebound …There was significant pressure on Bortles entering this game. After an impressive offseason and preseason, he struggled at times in the regular-season opener. He responded Sunday with his first plus-100 passer rating, completing 18 of 33 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He was composed in the pocket and very efficient in the first half.
8. …but he still has work to do.This isn't news. Of course, he does. After a solid first half, Bortles completed six of 16 second-half passes for 93 yards. Still, Bortles was at his second-half best on the final, game-winning drive and maintained composure/control of the offense. That's a good sign.
Exclusive behind the scenes images as the Jaguars prepare to host the Miami Dolphins.
9.Marqise Lee matters.He didn't dominate Sunday, but that would have been a tough task in his first game since last season. What the second-year receiver did show was that his speed and playmaking ability indeed is special, and can make a difference. He converted a first down early with a 9-yard reception and had a first down with a 12-yard reverse. He also had an 18-yard reception that started the Jaguars' game-winning drive.
10.T.J. Yeldon looks like he's going to be reliable.You don't get the idea the rookie is completely comfortable yet. That's not entirely unusual two games into an NFL career. But he does appear to be gaining confidence and had several nice runs Sunday. He rushed for70 yards on 25 carries Sunday and the arrow appears to be going in the right direction.
11.The Jaguars will stick with the run.The Jaguars didn't blast gaping holes in the Dolphins' defense all day. What the line did do was carve out enough yards to make Miami respect the run. On the final drive, Yeldon rushed three times for 15 yards. That's not a headline-grabbing number, but it showed the Jaguars were able to run late when needed. When a running game can do that, that's a good sign.
12.Jared Odrick lied.Odrick, who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent from the Miami Dolphins, said all week this was just another game. On Sunday, he admitted that wasn't true – and that he lied. Well, of course he was lying. Most significantly: Odrick played big against his former team, generating pressure much of the game and registering a fourth-quarter sack.
13.Skuta makes plays.We saw it from the Otto linebacker in the opener against Carolina and saw it again Sunday. Skuta along with Odrick has helped solidify the strong side of the Jaguars' defense – and Skuta has generated pass rush when asked. On Sunday, he had a huge pass deflection late in the game and also had a tackle for loss.
14.Telvin Smith is a playmaker.The second-year linebacker's speed shows up again and again and again. On Sunday, he led the Jaguars with nine tackles and his late pass defensed ended the Dolphins' final drive.
15.EverBank Field comes alive when the Jaguars win. Did you feel it in the fourth quarter? Did you hear it? It has been a while since the 'Bank felt like that in September. That was loud. That was fun. That was cool. That's what winning feels like.