This team is now in a push to get home-field advantage for the playoffs and have a chance to be one of the top two teams in the AFC.
The Jaguars have the foundation of talent that brought previous championships to the Broncos and Giants in the past: Strong running game and an overwhelming defense. Although, at the moment, the passing game is completely overwhelming opponents. Who stood out in this historical victory of the Texans?
1. Blake Bortles
Here we are again. I’ve said it the last couple of weeks that the key to the Jaguars success is going to be their consistency. That starts and ends with Blake Bortles. Previously throughout the season, his job as been to not lose the Jaguars the game. Lately, Jacksonville has relied on him, and the result is breathtaking.
Bortles only threw four incomplete passes that weren’t him throwing the ball away. His long-ball throwing has been unstoppable, going a perfect 3-3 and racking up 115 yards on passes over 20 yards. Bortles finished 21/29 with 326 yards and 3 touchdowns. If he can continue these type of performances, there isn’t a team that will be able to stop this Jaguars team.
2. Keelan Cole
What a great story. An undrafted free agent from Kentucky Wesleyan has become a real star in this offense. The rookie wideout racked up 186 total yards, hauling in seven of his nine targets. Not only this, but 103 of those yards came after the catch. Add on a touchdown to that stat-line, and you have the best receiving performance for a Jaguars player this year. Cole is making a real case to be the number three receiver for next season, as this performance shows the improvement over the entirety of the season.
3. Jaydon Mickens
I know there may be others whose performance may have outshined, but I want to give this man some credit. The 23-year-old receiver had been cut three different times in a year by different teams. Not only that, but he lived out of his car for months before finding himself on the Jaguars roster who gave him a chance. Mickens thanked them to the tune of four catches on five targets, gaining 61-yards and two touchdowns. You can’t not root for this kid and let’s hope we see more of those performances in the future for this team.
4. Aaron Colvin
Aaron Colvin has had an up-down-season, but the nickel corner turned in one of his best performances of the season. He shut down whoever the slot receiver was all game, allowing just nine total yards on 27 snap coverages on the day. Once questioned if he should be replaced in the previous offseason, he needs to continue this success heading into the playoffs.
5. Yannick Ngakoue
How can you not love this player both as a fan and coach? Ngakoue was an issue all day for the Texans, hitting T.J. Yates three different times and hurried him equally as much on 27 total pass-rushing attempts. He also tipped the ball twice. The key to this is his ability to line-up on either side of the line of scrimmage. This causes confusion for an offensive front-line and Houston did not have an answer for him.
Keeping Yates unsettled was extremely important to win this matchup, and Ngakoue was a strong reason for this succeeding.