Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars - jaguars.comBucky Brooks
JACKSONVILLE - In a weekly feature for the 2022 season, NFL Media and Jaguars Media analyst Bucky Brooks breaks down the Jaguars' performance in a 24-0 victory over the Indianapolis Colts at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday
The Jaguars continue to own the Colts in Duval County. The team plays with a different swagger against the Colts in front of their home fans, and it shows up in every aspect of their performance. From the increased physicality of the defense to the improved execution and efficiency of the offense, the Jaguars know that they can beat the Colts at "the 'Bank" and that self-belief results in outstanding performance and production. If the Jaguars could bottle up this feeling and bring it to the field each week, this team could emerge as a playoff contender by the end of the season.
KEYS TO VICTORY
The Jaguars played an outstanding game of complementary football Sunday. The defensive front dominated the game to make life miserable for Colts quarterback Matt Ryan and Co., while the offense operated like a machine behind quarterback Trevor Lawrence's efficient play from the pocket. With the kicking units also excelling at dominating the field-position game, the Jaguars had it clicking on all cylinders against the Colts.
This was the former No.1 overall pick's best performance to date. Lawrence looked like a potential all-star at the position while completing 25 of 30 passes for 235 yards and two scores. The second-year pro connected with seven different receivers as he attacked the Colts' soft zones with pinpoint throws to his underneath receivers. Lawrence played the game like a pass-first point guard operating a half-court offense against a 2-3 zone defense. He moved the defense from side to side with quick throws to his pass catchers on the perimeter, and his decisiveness neutralized the Colts' pass rush. Head Coach Doug Pederson helped his young quarterback find and sustain his rhythm by utilizing a variety of quick-rhythm concepts and bootlegs that enabled Lawrence to chalk up easy completions. With Lawrence content to take the layups throughout the game, he was able to put together an efficient performance while operating a low-risk offense that rarely put the ball in harm's way. If Lawrence can continue to exhibit the poise, patience and discipline he displayed against the Colts, the football world could see the young quarterback make a major jump as a player in Year 2.
Tight end Evan Engram's stat line (seven catches, 46 receiving yards) doesn't jump off the stat sheet, but the veteran's contributions to the passing game helped Lawrence enjoy a banner day from the pocket. As a viable check-down option against the Colts' 3-deep coverage, Engram provided Lawrence with a quick outlet to target when the defense took away the deep ball. In addition, the Pro Bowl pass catcher created and exploited a few mismatches on the perimeter to enhance the effectiveness of an empty formation package that enabled Lawrence to connect on a few rhythm throws early in the game. With Engram also positioned as the primary option on a few bootleg passes, the veteran played a key role in helping the young quarterback get off to a fast start against the Colts.
Pederson and offensive coordinator Press Taylor put together an offensive masterpiece against the Colts. The Jaguars were in attack mode from the start as they effectively utilized the quick concepts and the movement passing game to help Lawrence settle into a groove early in the contest. In addition, the Jaguars kept the Colts guessing with a diverse play selection that mixed in perimeter runs and screens to complement a quick-rhythm passing game. With the coaching staff also making a concerted effort to get their top playmakers (Christian Kirk, Marvin Jones, Zay Jones, Travis Etienne, and James Robinson) touches early in the game, the Jaguars' offense operated like a well-oiled machine for two-plus quarters.
Defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell and Co. are building a monster on the defensive side of the ball. The Jaguars are a young, athletic defense with imposing size, strength and speed. This unit played at a breakneck pace against the Colts that overwhelmed a vaunted offensive line and a former MVP quarterback. Josh Allen, Travon Walker and Arden Key pummeled the Colts' pass protectors while harassing a 37-year-old quarterback who looked like he was ready to wave the white flag in the second quarter. Matt Ryan not only looked flustered and frustrated facing the Jaguars, but he looked like an "old" quarterback who is well past his prime. Part of his frustration stemmed from the Colts' inability to run the ball effectively in the first half. The Jaguars controlled the line of scrimmage and swarmed Jonathan Taylor to keep the Colts' RB1 from setting the table as a runner. With Taylor bottled up from the start, the Jaguars were able to dictate the terms and push the Colts out of their comfort zone.