The Jacksonville Jaguars went out and played to win on defense against the Indianapolis Colts. They were about as bad as they could be on offense to win, but they did — in part because they won the turnover battle (one given to two taken), only allowed Cody Kessler to be sacked three times, and didn’t make very many mistakes.
It was an ugly game — the lowest scoring in franchise history — but it was a victory and that’s all that matters.
So, in honor of the six total points scored yesterday, we’ve got the six players who stood out.
1. Cody Kessler
He wasn’t the most impactful player yesterday, but the quarterback has routinely anchored this team this season and yesterday... well, he sort of did but not so much that they lost. Kessler had zero turnovers, converted several third downs (with both his feet and his arm), and extended drives — exactly what he said they need to do to win leading up to the game. Kessler was by no means “good” but at least the staff trusted him to throw, something this team has not done in recent weeks with the quarterback. His 6.25 yards per attempt are mediocre, as is the fact he completed just 10 passes to receivers and tight ends. But his 75 percent completion rate was exactly what the defense needed to stay rested and on top of their game for every Colts drive. If Kessler plays like he did yesterday for the rest of the season, he’ll have earned a spot on the team next year and I think the front office will have the confidence to cut and run with Blake Bortles.
2. Jalen Ramsey
He didn’t practice all week. He was a game time decision. He played hurt. And he got the job done. Ramsey was thrown at 14 times on Sunday, but he allowed just five receptions for 58 yards and most of those were contested catches or a spectacular catch by the receiver with good coverage. Ramsey nearly picked off Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and made many other fantastic plays all while clearly gutting out an injury. The game-winning tackle was a nice cherry on the top of a very good day, especially considering the guy was obviously beat up.
3. Telvin Smith
There’s no getting around the fact that Telvin has dropped off in terms of production and ability this season — especially in pass coverage. That was no more evident than a few weeks ago in the team’s first meeting against the Colts. But yesterday, he looked like the Telvin of old, registering a game-high 12 tackles, one tackle for a loss, and no busted coverage plays as far as I can remember.
4. Myles Jack
Like his counterpart at linebacker, Myles had a monster day. His 10 tackles (0.5 tackles for a loss) was second among all players yesterday and his ability to chase down Eric Ebron in the middle of the field to keep the clock rolling was just as big a play as Ramsey’s hit on Erik Swoope to end the game.
5. Ronnie Harrison
In his first NFL start, Harrison looked every bit the part of a third round rookie early in the game, picking up a taunting penalty that extended a Colts drive. But as the game wore on, Harrison looked very comfortable in his role. In fact, the entire defense looked better and faster. If this keeps up, Barry Church will go from a bubble player for next season to a sure fire free agent and Harrison will look like a steal in the third round.
6. Yannick Ngakoue
What can you say about Yannick that hasn’t been said a million times before? He’s a steal of a third round pick, he’s a Pro Bowl caliber pass rusher, he has perfected the swat to get quarterbacks to fumble a split second before attempting a pass — he’s everything you want in a defensive end and then some. He registered his seventh sack of the season on Andrew Luck yesterday and he added a tackle for a loss to the day.
BONUS: Dawuane Smoot
I wanted to stick with my theme of highlighting six players in honor of six points, but Smoot played probably the best game of his NFL career. In addition to a pair of tackles, he had two hits on the quarterback in just 39 defensive snaps. He looked explosive at times coming off the line and if he can build on today in the final four games he’ll be a nice rotational defensive end going into 2019.