The Jacksonville Jaguars are a little more than 24 hours away from beating a Los Angeles Chargers team that couldn’t win even with the NFL trying to hand them the win at every turn and Blake Bortles nearly throwing the game away four times in the fourth quarter.
First things first — Bortles is not on this list. Why? He wasn’t awful in the first three quarters. Not good, but he was not bad enough to lose you the game and Gus Bradley dared him to throw all game by taking away the Jaguars’ run game beautifully. (Yes, Gus put together a very good game plan.)
But when it mattered most, namely the final six minutes of the fourth quarter, Bortles had a near pick-six, followed up by an interception, followed up by another interception, followed up by another near interception. He probably played his worst quarter of football in the most important quarter of football so far this season.
You can’t do that.
The defense bailed him out and played another game as a top-tier unit. Special teams was forcing the Chargers to start deep all game. Josh Lambo kicked two pressure-packed field goals with a backup long snapper in
fullback Tommy Bohanon offensive lineman Tyler Shatley who I don’t think has ever snapped a field goal in his life — much less one to send the game to overtime and then another one to win it.
That said, here’s who stood out to me in Sunday’s emotional win.
1. Aaron Colvin
Consistently swarming around the ball and hitting Chargers players in the backfield, Colvin is making a case to get paid after this season. I think the Jaguars let him walk, but Colvin played very, very well today.
2. Allen Hurns
What a solider. Hurns pulled in seven of nine targets for a game-high 70 yards but it was this heads up play as the team was driving for a game-tying field goal that allowed the team to keep driving and prevent a 10-second run off for an injury.
Hurns legitimately takes the hardest hits of any player ive seen from a Jaguars player. Fact that he gets off after the hit is amazing pic.twitter.com/X4GJBWXqEP— Jonwell Tarly (@FullyWrecked) November 13, 2017
What a heads up play.
3. Telvin Smith
Nine tackles, two for a loss — Telvin is having a Pro Bowl season and is earning every bit of that contract extension.
4. Josh Lambo
Remember when field goal attempts made you nauseous? After having his only kick of the day blocked, Lambo nailed a field goal to send the game into overtime and then (somehow!) got the revenge kick through in overtime to win the game. When your only two field goal attempts come so late in the game, it can be really, really tough to nail those and he was clutch.
5. Yannick Ngakoue
Three hits on Philip Rivers on a day when the Chargers offensive line played well enough to blank Sacksonville.
6. Doug Marrone
His in-game coaching is like night and day from the past four seasons and his keeping three timeouts until after the two minute warning helped us get to overtime. Without those timeouts, this game is a 17-14 loss.
7. A.J. Bouye
This is the play of the season so far.
If Calais Campbell wasn’t Reggie White incarnate, he’d be the best free agent addition by the Jaguars in a long, long time. The game-winning play by the defense.
8. Corey Grant
That fake punt was a thing of beauty but if you watch the play he had to get away from a Chargers player to even get through the line of scrimmage.
Heads up play by him to get past a would-be tackler and then turn on the burners to steal the early score.
9. Malik Jackson
That forced fumble at the end of the fourth quarter was huge. Malik has been overshadowed by the rest of the defensive line so far this season but he played well all game and had the game-saving turnover.
Honorable mention: The NFL league office
Tashaun Gipson was never touched on that fumble recovery and the NFL (again!) botched what could have been a game-deciding call. They don’t want the Jaguars to be great, but we are anyway.