The Jacksonville defense came out swinging and put it to the Browns on Sunday.
Browns were able to muster up enough offense to score six points on two field goals by Billy Cundiff. Jacksonville forced 3 turnovers, one a muffed punt at the Jaguar 8 yard line, to get their first win of the season.
The Jaguars got a career day from running back Denard Robinson who rushed for 127 yards on 22 carries and one touchdown.
Momentum was brought by the defense
The Cleveland Browns went for it on 4th down three times yesterday. Three times they were denied but none of them more important than 4th & 1 on the Jacksonville 24 yard line. With 1:50 left in the first half and the Browns in field goal position, they went for it. Quarterback Brian Hoyer was pressured by Red Bryant and floated a pass to Jordan Cameron that fell incomplete.
Do not ask me what they were thinking. The whole stadium was wondering the same. I had two Browns fan that sat next to me that were going nuts about the fact they did not kick a field goal. The score could have been 9-0, possibly at the half. Instead, the Jaguar defense got a huge stop and the air in Everbank field changed quickly.
In 1 munte and 50 seconds, the Jaguars offense that was not producing anything more than turnovers (two interceptions) and field position (four punts) drove the ball 76 yards in three plays culminating with a 31 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Allen Robinson for his first career touchdown and a 7-6 halftime lead for Jacksonville.
The rest of the game was all about momentum and, finally, the momentum was in favor of the Jaguars.
On the first Cleveland drive of the second half, Jaguars recover a fumble off a sack and then turn that turnover into three points on a Josh Scobee field goal.
Jacksonville had a promising drive late in the third quarter. After starting at their own 16 yard line, Blake Bortles lead the offense down the field to the Brown’s 14 yard line. An errant third down pass turned into Bortles third interception of the day.
With the score 10-6, the game was still tense with neither offense doing much. So special teams provided the next gain in momentum.
A Bryan Anger punt to the Cleveland 2 yard line was muffed by Jordan Poyer and recovered by the Jaguars LaRoy Reynolds. On the next play, Bortles handed the ball off to Denard Robinson for an 8 yard touchdown. 17-6 with six minutes left in the game and Everbank Field was rocking.
The nail in the coffin prove to be another defensive play. On the next Browns possession, Bryan Hoyer threw an interception (Telvin Smith) and the Jaguars offense capitalized by scoring a touchdown by Storm Johnson.
The final score was 24-6 and the stadium was crazy. I cannot tell you the last time the scene at Everbank Filed was like that. The win last year against the Texans (our last win) wasn’t this crazy. So much went right this Sunday that it oddly felt like a playoff atmosphere.
I still preach growth
Blake Bortles had his worst outing of the season throwing for 151 yards and one touchdown. He also had three huge interceptions and his quarterback rating was 40.3. The prodigal son played bad and he even said so in the press conference following the game and yet the team won.
The defense showed what we have seen over the last couple of weeks. Allowing no touchdowns against the Browns now has them allowing only two touchdowns in the last 3 games. A far cry from the 30+ points they were allowing at the beginning of the season.
Coincidently, you have noticed that Blake Bortles entrance onto the seen has helped the defense to a point. Since has been in, the offense is sustaining some drives and allowing for the defense to rest more during games. Over the last three games the defense has allowed 17, 16 and 6 points respectively. When the defense plays well, it gives your offense a chance to be in games…they just have to step up.
Did we learn anything?
- Defense is good, right? — 2 touchdowns in three weeks given up. That is a good stat in the NFL. It keeps you in games and can help you win games like Sunday.
- Bortles still learning? — A horrible game with some flashes of “there he is!” The number of mistakes will hopefully dissipate soon.
- Running game back? — Denard played great running for 127 yards and the team had 185 yards total. Please remember, this game happened against the #30 ranked rush defense. The Jaguars were able to take advantage and it was good to see
- Can we keep it going? — If the defense can continue to play like this, the Jaguars will be in games. Let’s hope the offense can play at its full potential soon.
- Gus Bradley is genuine — If you have not seen the video from the locker room — Gus Bradley post game speech — from www.jaguars.com
With the big win came some big losses:
- Paul Posluszny (torn pectoral muscle) placed on injured reserve
- Andre Branch (groin) out 6 weeks
The common phrase you hear in the league is “next man up.” Jacksonville’s depth will be tested and they will be tested by a decent offense in the Miami Dolphins this coming Sunday.
Blake Bortles needs to get this game out of his mind. I know it is his first NFL win and it is a huge deal for him and the team, but the 24 hour rule is in place and he needs to get back to work. I don;t know if a performance like he had against the Browns can win them another game — on the other hand if he throws three interceptions a game but we win…I am in!