I think I forgot to do an “Unsung Hero of the Week” after the Jacksonville Jaguars Week 2 loss to the Tennessee Titans, so we will just say it was the fans for watching that mess. For Week 3, I think a real unsung hero is someone who has often gotten a lot of heat from fans, which isn’t unexpected, in offensive coordinator Nate Hackett.
Or is it Nathaniel Hackett? We’ll go with Nate.
Like many Jaguars fans I was a bit hesitent about the matchup with the Baltimore Ravens, because they’d forced so many turnovers in the first two weeks of the season and the Jaguars were coming out of a game they couldn’t get out of their own way.
Well, out of the gate the Jaguars put their foot on the gas on offense and didn’t let up. The team ran the ball on first down, which is pretty standard, but on second down the team took a quick shot down the sideline to Marqise Lee for a huge 35-yard gain. It was a spot throw down the sideline where Blake Bortles threw the ball to a spot where Lee should be had he beat his man off the snap, and he did, reaching out to catch the pass in front of him (!!) and picked up a huge chunk of yardage.
That drive only netted a field goal, but it put the Jaguars ahead and they kept pushing ahead scoring on their next two drives.
Not counting scrambles or kneel downs from the quarterbacks, the run/pass distribution for the Jaguars was nearly a perfect 50/50 with 31/29 run/pass. It wasn’t a full balanced attack from the start however, as Bortles passed the ball 25 times before halftime, which is a big reason they jumped out ahead and stayed ahead.
Hackett was able to effectively counter what the Ravens wanted to do to the Jaguars while on defense, which was load up and stop the run. The Jaguars knew that and finally were able to punish a team by getting the ball rolling and then just steam rolling them.
There’s always those stats where if a team runs for X yards or has Y rush attempts, their win-loss split is absurdly high, but in reality that’s because teams who are winning already tend to run the ball more. In today’s NFL, you throw to score and run to win.
What the Jaguars did on Sunday, thanks to Hackett, was exactly that.