Jaguars outside linebacker Telvin Smith amassed nine tackles, three pass defenses, a pick-six interception, and the AFC Defensive Player of the Week award in his Sunday performance against the Buffalo Bills.
This is the second time in Smith's career that he has earned this title. Sunday was just the 16th start of Telvin's young career.
Now in his second year, Smith is getting better at funneling his freakish athletic ability into a more concentrated defensive effort. This labor is highlighted in Telvin's stat line, and shines even brighter on film.
The kid is a freak. It's honestly that simple. Each week, in typical Gus Bradley fashion, Telvin is taking a step towards maturity. He's learning discipline and uncovering his abilities, but above all, he's becoming more confident with each play that passes.
Telvin's film from Sunday highlights just how far he has come. There are certain plays that have become a staple of Smith's game, as well as athletic feats that highpoint Smith as one of the better OLBs in the AFC. It's all there in Sunday's film.
I have picked out a couple plays to explore. I won't bother littering this write-up with scheme jargon or run-on analysis. Telvin's game invites more incomprehension than it does investigation.
Telvin balled on Sunday, and the still frames speak almost as loud as Telvin's full-speed game.
Here's his pick-six -- the first of his career.
This is the pre-play set-up from the all-22 camera angle. The Jaguars are showing blitz with OTTO linebacker Dan Skuta and strong safety Johnathan Cyprien. Telvin, circled in red, is planted in the middle of the field.
At the snap, Bills QB (and former college teammate of Telvin's) E.J. Manuel blatantly fixes his gaze to his right. Smith reacts by shifting in that direction.
By the time Manuel releases the ball, Smith has made his way underneath the route. Telvin makes a great read and a fantastic play.
The most impressive part of this entire sequence, to me, comes after Telvin snatches the ball. Smith sprints to the endzone with the same burst that gifted him with a 4.4-second 40-yard dash. Smith's max speed has been measured at 21.5 miles per hour -- enough to make him the 3rd fastest LB in the NFL.
The kid can fly. He flies into the endzone to put the Jaguars up by 17.
Telvin had an interception that earned him AFC Defensive Player of the Week last season, too, but he couldn't get into the endzone. I was very happy to see Telvin get his touchdown on Sunday.
The same burst that carried Telvin into the endzone on Sunday can be seen in Telvin's run answerability. As an outside linebacker, Smith has always displayed a great sense of direction and a natural ability to place himself around the ball. Over time, plays like the one below have become a staple of Telvin's game.
Telvin now lines up on the right side, favoring the run. The ball is going to running back LeSean McCoy.
Before the snap, Telvin eyes the motion guy -- an outside receiver cutting across the formation.
At the snap, Smith already has the play sniffed out -- as he should. What makes this play special, however, is Telvin's ability to teleport to the ball carrier. McCoy (orange) is going to follow the sweep out left, placing himself behind his fullback and the tackle (yellow).
Telvin, literaly a blur at this point, pushes through both blockers. He's at the ball no more than a millisecond after McCoy receives the pitch.
Not only does Telvin make it to the ball, but he's able to stand up one of the shiftiest backs in the league. Meanwhile, the tackle is wondering what the hell just flew past him.
Loss of five.
Telvin had actually stood McCoy up for a two-yard loss in the previous play. These aren't fluke blow-up plays -- Telvin is uncovering ways to do this on a regular basis. Smith is shoving himself into opponent's game plans with displays like the one above.
In an attempt to dial up some pressure, the Jaguars assigned Smith to blitz a couple times on Sunday. Telvin never made it home, but he was still able to make his presence felt.
Telvin (red) sticks himself in the A-gap.
Chris Clemons (yellow) is actually the one who breaks free on a stunt while Telvin gets bottled up. As Manuel opts for the quick release, Telvin senses this and backs off his initial rush.
Clemons almost snatches the sack, and Andre Branch almost gets a piece of the ball. Meanwhile, Telvin gets an arm up.
Smith gets the swat. Maintaining defensive aggravation is key for teams trying to stay afloat in games like the Jaguars. Telvin fits the mold very well, and contributed in multiple areas on Sunday.
Not listed in Telvin's Sunday stats is an almost-interception on the Jaguars own goalline -- one he was in great position for and one he definitely should have picked.
Also not found anywhere in the stats is Smith's passionate contribution to a revived Jaguars defensive effort. When the Jaguars offense let off the gas in the third quarter, the Bills began to come back. But the defense deserves credit -- they held together long enough to snatch a win from what was beginning to look like another disappointing loss.
Telvin Smith flashed his athleticism and growth in a game viewed around the world, and earned every bit of that AFC Defensive Player of the Week title.
Judging by his performance in this game, it won't be long before Smith grabs that award again.