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Jaguars Playbook: Fourth down play call sinks offense in Week 6 loss to the Colts

Jaguars defense can’t stop Colts as offense comes up short in Week 6 loss

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

This series will analyze the 2022 Jacksonville Jaguars offense. We’ll create weekly play call sheets to see how one of the best offensive coordinators in the NFL, Doug Pederson, calls a game. Next up: Week 6 vs Indianapolis Colts.

Week 6 last season saw the Jacksonville Jaguars drop their third contest in a row. The loss against the Indianapolis Colts dropped their record to 2-4 to start the 2022 season. While Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars offense moved the ball efficiently and effectively against the Colts, it was not enough.

After the Colts didn’t score on their first four drives to start the game, quarterback Matt Ryan and company hit pay dirt on every drive thereafter. Culminating in a game-winning touchdown with 0:17 left.

The Jaguars' offense did their best to keep up, rushing for 243 yards and 3 touchdowns. In addition, Trevor Lawrence only had two incompletions on the day and the Jaguars scored the go-ahead touchdown with 2:44 left in the game.

But the game didn’t have to be this close. With the Jaguars driving deep in Colts territory at the end of the third quarter, Pederson decided to go for it on fourth down. A successful drive here and the Jaguars could have extended their lead to 28-19. Instead, all the momentum shifted to the Colts sideline.

Jaguars Call Sheet
Jacksonville Jaguars Play Call Sheet vs Indianapolis Colts - 2022 Week 6

Fourth Down

There’s one play call that HC Doug Pederson would like to have back. The Jaguars were driving and were facing a 4th & 1 at the Colts 32-yard line towards the end of the 3rd quarter. The Jaguars were up 21-19 at the time. Pederson, known for being aggressive, opted to go for it rather than attempt a 50-yard field goal.

But in a game that saw the Jaguars successfully running the ball north and south, Pederson overthought this one; calling a speed option. This design has both quarterback and running back start laterally. Meaning each player’s first few steps is toward the sideline.

While the speed option might give an offense two options to get the first down, defenses in the NFL are extremely fast and can cover a lot of ground quickly. If a hole doesn’t open up quickly for a QB to get upfield, defenses will use that speed to “spill” the play further to the outside. This allows more defenders to get in position to make a play and shut it down in the backfield. Which is exactly what happened on this play.

Of course, had the play design worked I would be calling Pederson a genius and praising him profusely. But that’s what makes life as an NFL play caller so difficult. The line between hero and goat is razor-thin.


Doug Pederson threw everything at the Colts in the Jaguars' first 20 plays to start the game. The opening script included:

  • Five different run concepts (Toss, Crunch, Zone, Counter, QB Sneak)
  • Four screens (HB, TE, WR)
  • Play action
  • Trick plays (WR Reverse, Direct snap to RB)

A full menu that no doubt gave Pederson plenty of information he used to his advantage the rest of the day. A reconnaissance mission of sorts.

The third play from scrimmage was the first time in 2022 that Pederson called the run concept “crunch.” Great execution saw the play result in a 48-yard gain. Crunch is designed to give the offense advantageous angles in the run game. Both guards pull back side (away from where the play is going) as the tight end, lined up on the wing, blocks down on the defensive tackle.

The backside flow from the offensive lineman causes the linebackers to slowly drift in that direction, as the play looks similar to a counter. This allows the center to get up to the second level and cut off the middle backer. Even with the right tackle missing his assignment, the unblocked linebacker gets caught up in the wash and can’t make the play.

As the outside receiver blocks down and cuts off the safety, that leaves just the cornerback to make the tackle. Offensive coordinators love forcing CBs to have to make tackles. It usually ends up like this play, with little to no contact on the ball carrier.

The Jaguars continued to establish the run to start the game as Jamycal Hasty ripped off a 61-yard touchdown on a zone run concept. Play concepts weren’t the only thing Pederson used, he also threw many formations at the Colts. The long touchdown run saw an unbalanced look with an extra lineman on the field.

Drive Starters (P&10s)

The importance of plays to start a drive was on full display in Week 6, as the Jaguars' two biggest drive starters saw those drives result in touchdowns.

The top play was at the start of the second half as the Jaguars came out with “Wham.” This is similar to Crunch without the guards pulling backside. To be honest, this could have been called Crunch in the huddle and whatever the communication from the lineman (line calls) was had the guards stay home. As a result, only the tight end blocked down on the defensive tackle. Since the running back was on the same side as the call in shotgun, we called this one “Wham Draw.”

The top pass play came on the Jaguars’ opening play from scrimmage. As a receiver came across the formation pre-snap, the Colts CB started to bail. Perhaps Pederson was probing to see how the Colts were going to react motioning from trips to 2x2.

The cornerback bailed immediately, giving Lawrence an easy pitch and catch. He took advantage of what the defense was giving him, and a simple Hitch route went for 9 yards.

Red Zone Offense

The first play in the red zone involved some trickery. The Jaguars sent Christian Kirk in motion, settling in the pistol formation behind Trevor Lawrence. The beauty of this design was to grab the defense's attention, even though he wasn’t getting the ball.

After running a triple option fake (Lawrence faking the handoff then carrying out the option fake with Kirk), Agnew split the option as Lawrence flipped him the ball on the reverse. This set up the Jaguars' first touchdown of the day, which was a QB sneak three plays later.

Overall Top Situational Plays

Jaguars top plays
Jaguars top situational plays vs Colts - 2022 Week 6

Next up: Week 7 vs New York Giants