JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines what we learned from the Jaguars' 51-16 victory over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday …
1.The Jaguars can play a complete game."Complete" games are rare in the NFL. Really rare. The talent level on all teams is too good to expect to win offense, defense and special teams in decisive fashion. That's a way of saying don't expect games such as Sunday to happen too often, but no doubt: the victory over the Colts was as complete as it gets in the NFL. Particularly in the second half.
2.This team is growing.If there is a theme to this game – aside from the whole "complete-game" thing – this may be it. The Jaguars last season and early this season struggled when facing adversity. There were times – a lot of times – when one bad play or series essentially ended the game. Not so anymore. This team faced adversity throughout the first half, particularly after defensive end Robert Mathis recovered a botched snap in the end zone. The Jaguars outscored the Colts 48-3 after that play. That wouldn't have happened last year. Or in September. Or maybe in October.
3.The Jaguars' offense is good …This game wasn't all about the offense on Sunday. Two of the Jaguars' touchdowns came from the defense and special teams. A third came on a 1-yard touchdown drive after an interception by safety Johnathan Cyprien. Still, four of the touchdowns came on drives of 59 yards or more. This unit is improving rapidly.
Gameday images from the Jaguars Week 14 matchup against the Colts.
4. … and so is Blake Bortles. Is he perfect? No. Was his start rocky Sunday? Absolutely. Still, Bortles now has gone two games without an interception and he has thrown eight touchdowns in those games. He has 30 touchdowns and 13 interceptions this season. He is good. He has shown that much. Now, the question is, "How good can he be?" Stay tuned.
5.The Jaguars can play defense after all.The harsh criticism of this defense in recent weeks felt a touch like overreaction. Yes, the unit allowed five touchdowns to Tennessee last week, but this also was a group that had been very good against the run much of the season. On Sunday, the Jaguars were good everywhere defensively. The Jaguars limited the Colts to three field goals on three red-zone opportunities and did not allow an offensive touchdown.
6.The Jaguars can run.This is not to call this team a consistent running offense. It's not – at least it hasn't been this season. But give credit where it's due: the Jaguars wanted to run Sunday and they did, finishing with 154 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries.
7.The red zone is a good zone for this offense.Remember when the red zone was the major issue facing this team? Well, those days are gone – at least for now and at least for the offense. The Jaguars went six for six scoring touchdowns in the red zone against Tennessee last week and scored touchdowns on all four red-zone possessions Sunday.
8.Julius Thomas is getting better and better.This is actually more about Bortles and Thomas developing more and more chemistry, but give credit where it's due: Thomas missed the first four games of the season, and Thomas and Bortles had a difficult time for a while getting in synch. The two have combined for touchdown passes in each of the last four games, and Thomas' presence in the red zone is helping the Jaguars significantly there.
9.The receiving duo is for real.It has gotten to the point where Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson are downright dependable. Last week, it was Robinson with three touchdowns and 153 yards receiving. This week, with Vontae Davis shadowing Robinson, Hurns caught three passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. You perhaps can stop one, but stopping both is tough.
10.Jason Myers …The kid had a really, really good game except for missing his seventh extra point of the season, his fourth in three weeks. That's a big "except."
11.Andre Branch can make a play.Sunday's game doesn't necessarily mean the Jaguars are re-signing the four-year veteran Leo pass rusher this offseason. And it doesn't mean he has played well all season. But the sack/forced fumble/fumble recovery for a touchdown was a big, big play, so credit where it's due.
12.The Jaguars are in it.OK, not really. They're still a game out with three remaining, and a whole lot has to go right. The easiest way to explain what has to go right is that the Jaguars must win and get a lot of help from some teams, primarily Tennessee. It's really unlikely. Still …
13.Rashad Greene is an impact player.The rookie has been back from a thumb injury four games. He has a game-changing punt return in two of those four games. That's impact, and the result of that impact is the Jaguars having their most dangerous punt returner in … well, maybe ever.
14.Denard Robinson is a quality backup.This was obvious if you watched Robinson at all last season, when he had a very good four-game stretch at midseason. But Robinson replaced injured starter T.J. Yeldon (knee) and rushed for 75 yards on 14 carries. Most of those came with the game still undecided and helped the Jaguars secure the victory.
15.Winning us fun. Isn't it?