JACKSONVILLE -- Senior writer John Oehser examines what we learned from the Jaguars' 30-27 victory over the Indianapolis Colts at Wembley Stadium in London, England, Sunday
1. Winning is cool.Right?
2. Blake Bortles isn't a disaster …That's how it felt last week, didn't it? Like Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles suddenly could do no right? Concern reigned and observers openly wondered if he could pull out of his early-season funk. Bortles wasn't perfect on Sunday, but he was much better and looked in control and poised through much of the game.
3. …and he can play mistake-free.Bortles completed 19 of 33 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns Sunday. Most significantly he committed no turnovers; it's not a coincidence that the Jaguars' first victory of the season came in his first such game of the season. Bortles still missed some reads he should have made. That has to improve and for the long-term you don't want your quarterback running as often as Bortles did Sunday. But that's for another day. For Sunday, Bortles was more of a positive for the Jaguars than a negative, and that's a good sign.
4. Penalties remain a problem.The Jaguars committed 11 penalties for 145 yards and have committed 41 for 392 for the season. Several pass interference penalties on Sunday were iffy at best, but overall the trend that began in preseason is lingering disturbingly long into the regular season.
7. Running matters.Bortles' game actually was pretty average until he completed three passes for 73 yards and a touchdown on a late fourth-quarter drive. Still, the Jaguars held the lead throughout the game – in part because the team ran more effectively than it had in any game this season. The Jaguars rushed for 136 yards on 29 carries with T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory combining for 100 yards on 22 carries.
8. The Jaguars can run block after all.Yeldon and Ivory ran well Sunday, but the key to the running offense was the offensive line. Left tackle Kelvin Beachum had perhaps his best game of the season, as did the entire line. Ivory and Yeldon often were past the defensive line before being hit, something that rarely happened during the first three games.
9. Brandon Linder matters. It wasn't a coincidence that the offensive line had perhaps its best game of the season the week the starting center returned from a one-week absence with a sprained knee.
10. Allen Robinson is tough to cover.The third-year wide receiver's early three-yard touchdown gave the Jaguars a rare early lead, but it was in the second quarter that he helped changed the game. He drew pass interference penalties from cornerbacks Patrick Robinson and Antonio Cromartie and also forced a defensive holding penalty on Cromartie. Robinson caught five passes for 55 yards, but his impact dwarfed those statistics.
11. Allen Hurns is clutch ...Hurns caught just one pass for five yards through three-and-a-half quarters Sunday, and his three targets to that point made him conspicuously absent from the offense. But when Bortles found Hurns five yards up field on second-and-8 from the Colts 42 with just over five minutes remaining, Hurns not only turned the pass into a needed first down he turned it into a critical touchdown.
12. … and Hurns kinda, sorta loves London.Two of the Jaguars' biggest plays in the last two seasons have come on late-game passes from Bortles. One play beat the Buffalo Bills last October. Another helped beat Indianapolis Sunday. Hurns made an above-the-Xs-and-Os play on each play and each play ended in the same Wembley Stadium end zone.
13. Myles Jack can play Otto after all.The rookie second-round draft pick made his first NFL start. He was lost at times and made some errors, but he also showed the speed athleticism that could make him elite at some point soon.
14. Brad Nortman was a good free-agent signing. The free-agent punter punted five times for a 53.8-yard average on Sunday with one punt inside the 20. His 78-yard punt in the fourth quarter sailed into the end zone, but ensured the Colts would start a crucial late-game drive at their own 20 instead of better field position. He has been above average all season and that continued Sunday.
15. Jason Myers is consistent.This actually began late last season when the then-rookie kicker was much more consistent kicking field goals than people realized. At the time his well-chronicled extra points struggles overshadowed all else. No more. Myers has converted seven of nine field goals this season and his three field goals in the second and third quarters Sunday helped the Jaguars extend an eight-point lead to 23-6 in the fourth quarter.
16. Winning is cool.With apologies to Ebby Calvin it really is, like, better than losing.