It was an up-and-down day at best for the Jacksonville Jaguars defense going up against rookie phenom C.J. Stroud.
The Houston Texans quarterback gave the Jaguars fits when able to escape the pocket, torching the defense for more than 300 passing yards and two touchdowns. Additionally, Stroud displayed just how dangerous he can be as a scrambler, leading Houston in rushing (47 yards) and scoring a walk-in touchdown during the third quarter.
However, as the Texans drove the field with time dwindling, Jacksonville was finally able to contain the young gunslingers and get him on the ground.
This week’s game ball recipient has been a dominant force throughout the season thus far. He led the team in sacks on Sunday afternoon and crossed a significant franchise mark in the process. The week 12 game ball goes to…
OLB Josh Allen
The trip to NRG Stadium was the fourth time this season that Allen recorded more than one sack in a game. I’m sure it’s no shock that the Jaguars are 4-0 in those contests.
Allen’s impact is evident on the field, but shows up just as blatantly on the stat sheet. He’s to thank for exactly half of Jacksonville’s 24 sacks so far this season. The elite production has him ranked among the NFL’s top pass rushers.
The former No. 7 overall pick showed up when his team needed it most in Houston. The three sacks Allen was responsible for — one split with Travon Walker — all came in the second half. Two of them came just two plays apart on the Texans’ final drive.
His first in that sequence pushed Houston back a whopping 15 yards.
The second dropped Stroud for a 9-yard loss. With how close the Texans’ final field goal attempt was, bouncing off the crossbar short, every bit of that distance was essential to Jacksonville avoiding overtime.
Stroud did the majority of his damage by extending plays with his athleticism. Outside of a lone sack from Roy Roberston-Harris in the first half, Stroud avoided all of Jacksonville’s pressure from until his squad’s final possession.
The big game from Allen proves to be even more impressive due to the offensive lineman he faced off against — Texans tackle Laremy Tunsil is one of the higher regarded pass protectors in the league. Tunsil had the upper hand in week three, but this round was all Allen.
Josh Allen generated a career-high 12 pressures in Week 12, including 8 against Laremy Tunsil.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 26, 2023
This was Tunsil's first game over the last six seasons where he allowed more than 4 pressures to a single defender.#JAXvsHOU | #DUUUVAL pic.twitter.com/wAMbxQ4FQH
Focusing on the bigger picture, Allen is in the midst of a vital contract year and is playing like it. He’s either already surpassed or is on pace to set career-best season numbers in sacks, pressures and hurries.
Allen also jumped over former teammate Yannick Ngakoue for the second most sacks in franchise history on Sunday. Entering week 12, he sits 15.5 behind Tony Brackens, who spent all eight seasons of his NFL career in Jacksonville. Odds are Allen would be able to surpass that record as well if he signs a new deal with the Jaguars this offseason.
For now, he’ll look to continue demonstrating his importance to Jacksonville’s defense in the six remaining regular season games. The home stretch begins with the Cincinnati Bengals and backup quarterback Jake Browning on Monday Night Football.