The Jacksonville Jaguars pulled out a gutty Week 1 win against the Indianapolis Colts in front of a limited capacity crowd on Sunday afternoon, 27-20. It was a big surprise win, as the Colts were favored by a touchdown and everyone wrote the Jaguars off as a team tanking for Trevor Lawrence after the team traded away Ronnie Harrison, Yannick Ngakoue and straight up releasing running back Leonard Fournette.
On Sunday, it certainly didn’t look like a team that was tanking and it made a lot of the questionable moves the front office made this offseason look actually smart.
I have joked in some private conversations that I didn’t really disagree with a lot of the moves the front office made in the offseason, in trading Harrison, getting rid of Fournette, getting value for Ngakoue and Calais Campbell while they could, but I wasn’t going to publicly give them any credit for it because I felt like they should have been fired two years ago.
Well, credit where it’s due, after the first week of the 2020 NFL Season, their moves look smart and they paid off.
Not only do they look smart, but the Jaguars looked like a functioning team. Sure, the defense gave up a lot of yardage, but when it mattered they made the plays they needed to. They made a stand in the redzone on fourth down to keep the game from getting out of hand, forced critical momentum changing turnovers and held late in the game after they got the lead.
The biggest surprise to me, was the Jaguars offense. Without any kind of preseason, I really expected them to sputter and have a ton of miscues because it was a brand new offensive system. I think to everyone’s surprise, that wasn’t the case at all. James Robinson showed why he was listed as RB1 and confirmed some of the quiet buzz about him from training camp. Gardner Minshew II was in “Magic” form late in the game and in big moments, just like last season. His numbers weren’t gaudy, but he was extremely efficient and put points on the board. As expected, the receiving corps was one of the strengths of the team and overall, for the first time in years, the Jaguars offense was fun to watch.
While the offensive was surprising, the most impressive thing on Sunday was the Jaguars resiliency. There were multiple times in that game where there would be a huge mistake, be it a bad sack that Minshew took, a drop, or the defense giving the Colts drive new life with a bonehead penalty and you just felt like the Jaguars were going to fold and lose. We’ve grown so accustomed the game being close, the Jaguars folding and then getting steam rolled the final remaining quarters left in the game.
Sunday, that wasn’t the case. The young Jaguars shot themselves in the foot plenty of times, but it never overwhelmed them. They came right back and fought for the victory and slammed the door shut on the Colts.
So for everyone who thought they had the easy pick in their survivor pool Week 1, I’m not sorry.