Having been over a month since the last time the Jaguars won, this victory was much needed and deserved. Although the talk all week and pregame was about the Ravens being the team to beat in the AFC, some labelled this as a "trap game" that could ultimately have the Ravens hanging their head in shame. Most thought it unlikely, but this Jaguars team didn't just win, they showed their heart and unwillingness to lose another game in the national spotlight. It is hard to recall the last time the Jaguars defense was that tenacious. Mel Tucker's aggressive gameplan was just what this defense needed, and hopefully, it will continue.
Rashean Mathis played the most physically aggressive the fans have ever seen from him. He was jamming Boldin at the line, throwing him off his routes, and was aggressive to the ball, no matter how far down the field. Derek Cox played equally as well, and when challenged, he stepped up. Despite the four rushers on most passing plays, they were still getting constant pressure and it was apparent that Flacco was thrown off his game, and he wouldn't get back on it. Though the national media will put this game as a terrible Ravens offensive effort, it is clear it was the Jaguars defense making the plays and getting in Flacco's head. The Jaguars defense didn't just devour the Ravens with form tackles, aggressive play, and intelligent decisions, they chewed them up and spit them out so other teams could make note of it.
The Jaguars offense did exactly what most would expect: anemic in yardage, but did what they had to do. Crucial third down conversions wore down the normally-stifling Ravens defense, and a 37:00-23:00 time of possession differential that favored the Jaguars took its toll on some of the older players on that defense. Normally the Jaguars run a lot of guard-pulling misdirection runs, but last night the mantra was "ground and pound" and knock someone's teeth out. Pass protection is always difficult against the disguised blitzes the Ravens are known for, but reducing the pressure on Blaine Gabbert was key. 30 rushes for Maurice Jones-Drew and over 100 yards is the Jaguars identity on offense.
This team needed this win; this city needed this win and both did their part and revitalized this crowd base with one simple win. The beauty of fandom is the roller coaster ride fans go through every week: No matter how many times we get sick, we keep coming back for that brief moment of joy when we reach the top before a 200 foot drop. If only for a week of happiness, we can all say "I'm proud of this team. I bleed teal for life."
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