The Jacksonville Jaguars may have lost by 27 points to the Indianapolis Colts, but they showed marked improvement on offense both in rushing and passing the ball -- and the strides the offensive line has made is a big reason why.
According to Pro Football Focus, three of the five starters on the Jaguars offensive line graded out with positive ratings. Rookie center Luke Bowanko led the team with a 1.2 rating, fellow rookie Brandon Linder finished with a 1.0 rating, and fifth-year journeyman right tackle Sam Young had a 0.8 rating.
Compare that with the first two weeks when the offensive linemen were receiving an average of a -2.54 overall rating against Philadelphia and -1.62 against Washington.
Also, before their Week 3 matchup against the Colts, only one offensive lineman, left guard Zane Beadles, had earned a positive grade. On Sunday, three of them did, and it's a big reason why the Jaguars averaged 5.3 yards per carry on Sunday and why rookie Blake Bortles had enough time to throw for an average of 9.3 yards per attempt.
But while the right side of the line did well, the left side struggled. Left tackle Luke Joeckel finished with a -1.2 rating and left guard Zane Beadles finished with a -2.0 rating. Colts linebackers were given space to make plays, especially right-side linebackers Josh McNary and Bjoern Werner.
Keep in mind, however, that some of these breakdowns were because backup tight end Marcel Jensen was forced into action and absolutely horrid in pass blocking, allowing two sacks and one hurry. To put that into perspective, all other blockers allowed one sack, one hurry, and three QB hits all game.
The Jaguars have a long way to go, but the fact that both rookies are standing out on the offensive line is a very, very good sign for the future.