The Jacksonville Jaguars snapped their losing streak on Sunday with a 6-0 win over the Indianapolis Colts, also snapping the Colts winning streak. The Jaguars made a lot of changes on leading up to Sunday’s game, including firing offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and finally pulling the plug on quarterback Blake Bortles. Backup quarterback Cody Kessler got his first start as a Jaguar and while he didn’t really do anything special to win on Sunday, he did enough to give the defense a few breathers and put the team in scoring range to get just enough points.
“It wasn’t pretty but man it feels good. It’s something as a quarterback and as a kid you dream of winning an NFL game,” Kessler said on Sunday after the game. “There’s no doubt about it that I have to do better though, and push the ball downfield a little bit more and take some of those shots. When your defense is playing so well you don’t want to force things and make stupid turnovers to put them in a bad spot. It’s something for me that I took pride in there and in the second half was like, ‘alright things aren’t going great on offense, we’re not getting those shots down the field.’ But with how well our defense is playing let’s just be smart and take care of the ball and really drain this clock.”
Kessler finished the day completing 18 of 24 passes for 150 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions and was sacked three times. Kessler essentially did what he was asked, which was to complete a lot of short easy throws, hit some screens and take a few shots down the field when the opportunity presented itself.
Honestly, the most impressive play Kessler probably made on the day was recovering his own fumble late in the game.
“That was big. That was a little panic moment right there. He was on top of me and he was pulling me back and I just had to fight and get it,” Kessler said about recovering the fumble. “But I mean it fortunately went our way. I think we won the turnover battle today, I don’t know. As a unit that’s awesome, especially when the defense is playing so great. The talent on defense is unbelievable here, and offense too. I know everyone doesn’t give them enough credit but these guys have stepped up, and guys that haven’t been here long and guys just sticking together. It feels good.”
At one point in the game the only opening season starter on the offensive line for the Jaguars was AJ Cann and without Leonard Fournette, it was clear that the Jaguars plan was to burn clock with short quick passes as a pseudo running game. Kessler was able to execute that and truthfully, outside of his ability to complete those passes with consistency, the Jaguars offense didn’t look all that different it has looked, which should tell you quite a bit of about the Jaguars quarterback position.