What we learned: Jaguars 38, Titans 17

20161226-WWL.jpg



JACKSONVILLE -- Senior writer John Oehser examines what we learned from the Jaguars' 38-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field Saturday …

1. The Jaguars aren't hopeless.Players and coaches believed throughout the season they were far better than their record. They didn't show many signs of that until Saturday. The victory didn't save what remains a disappointing season. But it was the Jaguars' first late-season victory over a contending team in far too long, and it showed the Jaguars may not be as far away as many observers believe.

2. The Jaguars are spoilers.It's one thing to say you're spoilers. It's another thing to actually spoil something. The Jaguars' victory over Tennessee combined with the Houston Texans' victory over the Bengals that night knocked the Titans from the postseason. Season spoiled.

3. The Jaguars won't match the worst record in franchise history.The Jaguars went a franchise-worst 2-14 in the disastrous 2012 season. Saturday's victory ensures they will finish 2016 no worse than 3-13.

4. Jalen Ramsey is big-time …The rookie cornerback has nine pass breakups and two interceptions in the last two games. And even those statistics don't do his level of play justice. He's dynamic, physical and he's playing the position as well as any Jaguars player has played it in some time.

5. … really, really big-time.Is it too early to call Ramsey potentially one of the best players in franchise history? Of course. Is it too early to say he's showing all the signs of a long-term, elite player – and a superstar on a rare level? Nah, it ain't too early to say that.

6. Doug Marrone may be in the mix.The Jaguars' interim head coach had the Jaguars ready to play Saturday, and they played their best game of the season. Marrone is a capable head coach, and he did a remarkable job in a difficult circumstance last week. Does that make him a favorite for the permanent job? Perhaps not. Still …

7. Allen Robinson may be OK.It has been a disjointed year for the Jaguars' offense, and that has been true of wide receiver Allen Robinson. It has been natural in recent weeks to wonder if Robinson indeed was as good as his 2015 Pro Bowl season indicated. He may not reach his 2015 level of 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns again, but Saturday showed again he indeed can be a front-line NFL receiver.

8. The Jaguars need Robinson and Bortles clicking …Saturday was by far the best Robinson and quarterback Blake Bortles have looked together this season – and the best Robinson has looked in some time. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Jaguars' offense looked better than it has all season, too.

9. ...and they really need Bortles clicking.Bortles completed 15 of his first 16 passes. He threw no interceptions. He was efficient and accurate. The Jaguars won for the first time in his career in a game in which he threw for more than 300 yards. He was everything the Jaguars needed him to be, and for one of the first times in his career, you looked at Bortles and said, "He was a big reason the Jaguars won the game." That's a huge happening for the third-year quarterback.

10. Bortles may not be a lost cause …As it turned out, it may be too early to write Bortles off. He still must improve in nearly every way, but it had been vogue to assume Bortles could not be a franchise quarterback. Saturday's performance doesn't mean he's a bona-fide franchise guy, but it does show why it may not be wise to give up on him.

11. … and Dante Fowler Jr. may not be, either.Speaking of vogue to write off … Fowler has struggled at times this season, but the No. 3 overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft had his best game of the season Saturday. His second-quarter sack was the sort of violent play that gives him a chance to be a next-level impact player. He must improve his pass-rush technique in the offseason, but he still has a chance to be elite.

12. Jalen Ramsey is good.We hadn't mentioned him for a few questions. We thought it was time.

13. Jason Myers can hit from deep.Yes, his extra-point issues returned, but without Myers' 56- and 50-yard field goals Saturday's game is different.

14. Marqise Lee can catch  …The third-year veteran has three touchdown receptions in the last six games, and he has a reception of 20 yards or more in seven of the last 10 games. He seems to make a memorable play every week. It's not a surprise anymore. It's just what it is.

15. … and throw.Lee's 20-yard touchdown pass to Bortles secured the victory, and gave Lee a perfect 158.3 passer rating for the game, season and his career. If receiving doesn't work out …

16. The defense is good.This has been kicked around and debated a bunch in recent weeks: just how good is the Jaguars' defense? As good as its ranking? The thought here is it's pretty good, though it still must prove it's a consistent pass-rushing group. But the defense on Saturday held the NFL's ninth-ranked offense to its second-lowest yardage total of the season (253) and its lowest rushing total of the season (58). That ain't bad.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising