“Easy game,” you’d think to yourself. “Three score win. New York just wasn’t good enough.”
And while it was a three score win — and three score wins are a beat down in the NFL — it felt like even more than that. It felt like from the middle of the second quarter on, the Jaguars could do no wrong and the Jets go do no right.
But for the first quarter-and-a-half, the Jaguars were leading just 6-0 despite holding an astounding 15:37 to 9:37 lead in time of possession and starting their third drive of the day.
It was this third drive of the game — after 15-play and 12-play drives that amounted to three points a piece — that turned the feel of the game from “we’re going to win but we should really be up by a lot more” to “how many Jaguars players do I have on my fantasy team again?”
Let’s dive into what I consider the drive of the game — Jacksonville’s first touchdown of the day and the pivot from “sure win” to “sure domination”.
Play #1: 1st and 10 at JAX 22
How Leonard Williams went unchecked here I’ll never know. Was Niles Paul supposed to hit him as he went on his route? Was James O’Shaughnessy supposed to bump him as he pulled behind the line? I don’t know, but he went untouched to Blake Bortles who — for all his warts — is one tough dude. Blake got the pass away but it wouldn’t be the first time he’d have to deal with Leonard on this play.
Play #2: 2nd and 10 at JAX 22
Dede Westbrook went off this game, just like in Week 2 when they employed a similar game plan, for 130 yards on nine catches and 13 targets. It’s as easy a read and throw as Blake is going to make and it’s as easy a run after the catch as he’ll have. 27 yards. First down. Let’s go.
Play #3: 1st and 10 at JAX 49
I broke down this sack here but without knowing the pre-snap reads, calls, and assignments, but because of the fake to T.J. Yeldon, this play takes a little longer than normal to develop. That allows Leonard Williams to make an inside move against right guard A.J. Cann. The coverage is good and I wonder if Blake could have fit that ball to D.J. Chark on the right side of the field. All in all, the offensive line has to give Blake just a second longer to let the routes develop.
Play #4: 2nd and 20 at JAX 39
This is a standard prevent call by the Jets defense to keep everything in front of them and minimize the yardage and a taking-what-the-defense-gives-you approach by the Jaguars offense. It’s not what I would call “third-and-manageable” but it’s better than 20 yards to go.
Play #5: 3rd and 14 at JAX 45
What are the Jets doing here? More importantly, what is Darron Lee doing here? He lets O’Shaughnessy go untouched and stays in the middle of the field where he’s joined by two other Jets defenders. From Lee’s body language on the play it looks like he screwed up and he knows he screwed up.
Play #6: 1st and 10 at NYJ 38
After five straight pass plays, it’s time to take some easy yards with Yeldon. Good speed to the left edge and good gain of seven yards.
Play #7: 2nd and 3 at NYJ 31
From snap to end zone, Yeldon goes completely untouched for several reasons — Keelan Cole makes a superb downfield block along the left sideline, Dede Westbrook sells the crosser over the middle, and Nathaniel Hackett designs the route combinations for the remaining receivers to act as a sort of “parting of the Red Sea” so that defenders are running the opposite way from where Yeldon is coming. Blake times the pass perfectly to where the first one is just barely going to miss and it’s an easy touchdown.
As I said before, this game was domination by the Jaguars over the Jets in every phase and this drive is when you knew it was going to be that way. This drive could have easily ended in three more points and then it’s 9-0 or 9-3 headed into halftime. That would have kept the Jets in it, at least mentally. But instead, the offense kept its foot on the gas and didn’t let up.