We are so back.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, by way of a 26-0 win over the Carolina Panthers, have ended their losing streak and are heading into 2024 with a 9-7 record. The win means the team will have its second consecutive winning season.
Only one game now stands in the way of the team winning the AFC South for the second straight year and punching their ticket to the playoffs.
Sunday was a great day all around and there is plenty of praise to be given. Here are your winners and losers from a big win on New Year’s Eve.
Casey Jarrett Beathard
What a masterclass by the one and only C.J. Beathard.
Playing in place of Trevor Lawrence, Beathard did everything that is expected of a backup quarterback. He finished with 178 yards passing, which was 64 yards more than last year’s first overall pick Bryce Young. Most importantly he, nor anyone on the offense, turned the ball over.
Who knows if Beathard will play next week, but he looked extremely capable of doing what was asked of him.
Not on the stat sheet was how hard Beathard played all day. He set a career-long rush with his 19-yard romp and took a handful of tough shots. He tossed a block on a D’Ernest Johnson run and dove headfirst for a loose ball after Travis Etienne’s second score. That dude is going to need an ice bath or two, but it was all well worth it.
C.J. Beathard: "if I have to go next week, I'll be ready to go."— John Shipley (@_John_Shipley) December 31, 2023
Pay that man.
Josh Allen, with his three sacks on Sunday, has officially set the new Jaguars’ single-season sack record with one game (at least) still to play.
Allen has 16.5 sacks on the year, breaking Calais Campbell’s previous record of 14.5. Allen also now has three games this season with three sacks.
If there was a day to have a big day, it was going to be against the Panthers. And Allen more than had his day. He deserves every penny coming to him this offseason and hopefully it comes from the team that drafted him.
The run game is officially back. All it took was Beathard under center. Go figure.
In all seriousness, Etienne showed once more why he can be on the top backs in all of football when he gets going. He ended his day with 102 yards on 16 carries and two scores. His long run on the day was an explosive 62-yard scamper.
As a team, the run game tallied 155 total yards. The last time the Jags broke 100 yards rushing was against the Tennessee Titans in Week 11. Etienne last had over 100 yards rushing against the Buffalo Bills in Week 5. It was a return to form for the offense and a welcome sign heading into next week.
On a personal note for Etienne, his yardage today put him over 2,000 for his career.
Evan Engram is such a weapon. It is a shame he has not been a Jaguar longer.
Engram caught a team-high six passes for 60 yards. On paper, those numbers don’t seem super eye-popping. When brought together with his full season, it becomes much more impressive.
Engram has now surpassed 100 catches on the season, something only eight tight ends have ever done. Engram’s career was largely over before coming to the Sunshine State. Now he is one of the game’s premier playmakers at the tight end position.
What a day to break some records.
Tight ends to reach 100 catches in a season— Gus Logue (@gus_logue) December 31, 2023
Travis Kelce (3x)
Evan Engram (joined today)
The defense as a whole
Outside of Allen, the entire Jags defense had an awesome day.
Starting with the shutout, it was the first shutout since Week 2 last season. Allen’s three sacks may have led the way, but he was followed closely behind by Travon Walker who had two. Roy Robertson-Harris also added a sack, giving the team six.
Rookie Antonio Johnson caught a pick and even Tyson Campbell added a huge tackle for loss. Yes, it was only the Panthers. But also yes, it was a convincing performance to give the team something to build on and it was a way to stop the bleeding.
Momentum is all you need before facing a beat and battered Titans team, coming off a loss.
No kicks were missed on Sunday. Rejoice.
Brandon McManus went a perfect 4-4 on field goals and 2-2 on extra points. With Beathard leading the show, it was likely always going to be a big day for the kicker and McManus delivered. It is a small victory, but a victory nonetheless.
The Jaguars trotted out Matt Barkley for snaps in a game that had playoff implications. Who could have guessed?
Barkley gave away one meaningful handoff while Beathard got evaluated for a concussion, then helped knee out the game. He will likely finish his career with the Jags with -3 yards rushing, after being picked up earlier in the week. Go celebrate Barkley. You earned this one.
Red Zone Efficiency
Put an asterisk by this loser since the offense was without Lawrence, and later Jamal Agnew and Brenton Strange for a bit. Regardless, the team did struggle again in the red zone going just 1-5 on the day.
In all likelihood, Lawrence will be back next week. Potentially so will Zay Jones and maybe even Agnew. The unit will be in a better position to capitalize on red zone trips in seven days, but red zone struggles have been a glaring problem no matter who is under center or out wide.
Something to watch for. Nothing to lose sleep over on Sunday, however. Go celebrate.