1. That didn't suck.
There were a lot of emotions I felt after the final whistle blew and the Jaguars officially won the game. I was happy, a little shocked, even cocky (I will not apologize for gameday tweets per my own policy.) But the one overwhelming takeaway I had was that this was a fun game to watch. It wasn't a slug fest of ineptitude, like a number of other wins in the past. It wasn't one part of the team completely carrying the other, as was a frequent occurrence last year. It was a good football game. The entire stadium was into it. I enjoyed watching it. And as simple as that sounds, it is something that Jaguar fans haven't had many chances to say. Hopefully, this is something that can continue to carry on throughout the season.
2. The offense grew up in front of our eyes, at least in the first half. Baby steps.
The Jaguars improved offense was the talk of the entire offseason. And then the Panthers game happened. The thought of the Jags coming out firing and having 273 yards and 20 points in the first half was something that was nowhere near what I was expecting. But, that is exactly what happened. The Jaguars offense struggled for a majority of the 2nd half, starting the half with 5 straight punts, but at the end of the day they did what was needed to win. Hurns, Robinson, and Lee cut down on the drops. T.J. Yeldon (when there was running room) looked like the capable NFL back the Jaguars envisioned. Robinson had his best game as a pro only a week after his worst. Bortles didn't make any costly mistakes. No sacks were given up. There were still some mistakes, sure. But a step forward was taken. And that should be appreiacted.
3. Addition of Odrick paying off already
I have always been a fan of the addition of Jared Odrick to the team but with the number of injuries plaguing the Jaguars DL, expectations were raised a bit. He needed to be "the guy" for the Jaguars most important unit on D. And against the Dolphins, his former team, he was everything he needed to be, and more. He had that clutch drive in the 4th quarter with the strip fumble and swatted pass, but he was making an impact the entire game, disrupting both the run and the pass. The Jaguars highest paid player on defense looked to be worth every penny.
4. Very impressed with the Jaguars cornerbacks, when they were healthy
By the end of the game, Demetrius McCray was the final man standing among the 3 corners the Jaguars started the game with. But when the trio of McCray, House, and Colvin was on the field together, they were outstanding. The Dolphins passing game clicked all game, but that was because they exploited the Jaguars Linebackers and Safeties in coverage. The production from the Dolphins' WRs who lined up outside (Parker, Jennings, Stills)? 3 catches for 11 yards. The Jaguars couldn't stop Jarvis Landry from feasting on their weak MOF coverage, but McCray/House/Colvin all left very positive impressions on me. Now, the unit just needs to get healthy.
5. Kudos to the OL
71 sacks given up in 2014. Five sacks given up against the Panthers. Against the Dolphins, with starting left tackle Luke Joeckel out? Zero sacks. For the first time in 25 games, and the first time in Bortles' career, a sack was not given up. Great achievement for a unit that badly needed the boost in confidence.
Offensive Player of the Week: Allen Robinson
This shouldn't need much explaining, but the fact that Robinson's career day came seven days after his worst game as a pro was the most impressive feat of the day in my eyes.
Defensive Player of the Week: Jared Odrick
For being a playmaker on a defense that badly needed one to show up.
Best Play: Jason Myers' 58-yard field goal
Because LOL for so many reasons
Rookie of the Week: T.J. Yeldon
Yeldon had a bad day statistically, but that isn't on him. The run blocking was simply not very good. But I can confidently say that Yeldon made the most out of nearly every carry, showing vision, toughness, and elusiveness.
Hanxed It Award: Oliver Vernon
I know football is an emotional sport. And I know the kind of stuff that players pull in between plays. I can understand Vernon being upset. But THAT penalty at THAT point in the game? Terrible.
Stat of the Week:
Marqise Lee has one carry on the season. He has more rushing yards than Demarco Murray.— Draff Hanx (@HankJoness) September 21, 2015