How is a team that is minus-36 in point differential, 17th in total offense, 25th in total defense, with a roster filled with young players just now learning the NFL way, sitting atop the AFC South standings with a chance to essentially clinch the division with a victory next week at Indianapolis?
"I ask myself how sometimes when I walk off the field," Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton said.
Sunday against the Oakland Raiders was a perfect example of how they do it. They never give up and they're balanced on offense. They typically don't rely on big plays, but when they hit one like the 48-yard touchdown pass to Jason Hill or a 65-yard kick return by rookie Deji Karim, it only increases their chances. The Jaguars are what some would call a "plodding" team on offense. They move the football down the field, slowly.
Since the bye week, the Jacksonville Jaguars are 4-1 and have rushed the ball 154 times vs. 141 pass attempts, not including rush attempts by quarterback David Garrard (31). I haven't gone through each game to pick out scrambles or designed runs. Since the bye, the Jaguars have 1,043 passing yards (208.6/game) with 7 touchdown passes and 5 interceptions. They have 986 rushing yards (197.2/game) with 9 rushing touchdowns.
So essentially, the Jaguars are throwing for 200 yards a game and rushing for 200 yards a game. Their offense has been balanced through the last 5 games. The last three, the Jaguars have been exceedingly run heavy throwing the football only 76 times for 447 yards (25 att/game and 149 yards/game). I'd expect this philosophy to continue against the Colts this Sunday. In their last meeting, David Garrard only had 22 pass attempts for 173 yards, but three total touchdowns. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter isn't asking Garrard to do a whole lot, but he does what needs to be done. He converts third downs and scores in the redzone.
On the ground, the Jaguars ran the ball 35 times for 174 yards. Once again, 173 passing yards and 174 rushing yards, balance. The key to the game and the victory however, was the Jaguars forced two Colts turnovers inside the 5-yard line, virtually taking points off the board. Taking those points off the board let the Jaguars position themselves for a 59-yard game winning field goal by Josh Scobee.
In the Jaguars eight wins, six have come in the final five minutes of the game. Sunday in Indianapolis is likely to be no different.
"I think it's the biggest game in franchise history," Terrance Knighton said. "We're going up there with a chance to establish our team as the new team in the division. To be the champs, you have to beat the champs."