The Jacksonville Jaguars offense was extremely productive, racking up over 400 yards of total offense. The starters had nearly 250 by halftime, with neither rushing nor passing eclipsing the other.
But it was the defense that stood out against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3 of the preseason — specifically on the opening drive when the football looked as close as it could to a regular season matchup.
That’s what we’ll be diving into this week as we break down the drive of the game for Week 3.
Play #1: 1st and 10 at ATL 25
Tyler Patmon is starting at outside cornerback once again, this time in A.J. Bouye’s place —last week it was for a suspended Jalen Ramsey — and he gave Mohamed Sanu way too much cushion on this first down throw.
Matt Ryan was always going to go to Sanu and it’s just a breakdown in the zone coverage. (Sorry, All-22 isn’t available in the preseason or else we’d be able to see how the safeties are reacting to Sanu’s route.)
Play #2: 1st and 10 at ATL 45
This is just an absolutely Herculean effort by Malik Jackson (circled above) to move down the line and make the tackle at the line of scrimmage despite being engaged the entire time with right guard Brandon Fusco.
Jackson is able to track with Tevin Coleman as Coleman searches for a lane to run through and makes the tackle with just his left hand.
Play #3: 2nd and 9 at ATL 46
Looks like there was some miscommunication between Yannick Ngakoue, who comes out into the zone that Telvin Smith finds himself in to cover tight end Austin Hooper. If Telvin had let Yannick occupy that space, he could have been in better position to break up the pass to Coleman, who was split out like a receiver.
Play #4: 1st and 10 at JAX 44
Yes, it’s a gain of seven, but Malik is playing angry in the preseason. I honestly can’t wait to see what this guy’s got when the results matter.
Malik quickly senses it’s a tight end screen, releases from his blocker, and sprints to save the first down — all while knocking tight end Mickey Shuler out.
Play #5: 2nd and 3 at JAX 37
Abry Jones and Marcell Dareus have to do a better job of sealing the lane here. Defensive coordinator Todd Wash (correctly) predicts the play call and gets his heavy package in to force a third down. Instead, Jones and Dareus are moved out of the way and Coleman easily picks up the first down.
Play #6: 1st and 10 at JAX 29
Myles Jack is going to be very, very good this year. Now that the third-year player has settled into the middle linebacker role, he doesn’t have to rely on pure speed or athleticism to make a play, but has the positional knowledge to read, think, and react — while still bringing the speed and athleticism.
The run lane was open for Coleman, but Myles sheds his blocker and makes a textbook tackle to stop the gain at just three yards.
Play #7: 2nd and 7 at JAX 26
I finally know what Daniel being thrown to the lions’ den looked like.
Malik Jackson again makes the play. Do you notice a trend for this drive? He makes short work of left guard Andy Levitre and forced Ryan to tuck and move up in the pocket where Yannick helps with the sack (despite being held).
Play #8: 3rd and 10 at JAX 29
Unlike the first play of the drive, Patmon makes up for whatever blame should be assigned to him by playing the ball and receiver perfectly — knocking the pass away to force the Falcons to settle for a field goal on the next play.
I think this drive is a picture of what we can expect to see from the Jaguars defense this season. They will get gashed for a run play here or there and the cornerbacks behind Ramsey and Bouye can (and probably will) give up a 15-yard catch every so often. But when it counts, they’ll shut you down and force you into a short punt or three points instead of letting you get into the red zone.
Bend but don’t break all the way to the Super Bowl, Jaguars.