The final game of the longest regular season in NFL history (by games played), especially for the Jaguars, came to a conclusion today with Jacksonville upsetting the Indianapolis Colts.
The Jaguars haven’t lost to the Colts at home since 2014, and that winning streak wouldn’t end today as Jacksonville pulled off the 26-11 victory.
A season marred with controversy, pessimism and exhaustion en route to a 3-14 record is officially over, but the team didn’t play like one that mailed it in today.
No, they showed plenty of heart, determination and grit, especially as the game kicked off bookended by a Jaguars offensive touchdown drive and a first series that led to the Indianapolis Colts turning the football over on downs. That would continue for at least the entire first half of the game.
It would be the best performance for both sides of the football in Jacksonville, a perfect way to end such a bizarre season. With the win, Jacksonville also made it that much tougher for the Colts to get into the playoffs, now they’ll need help.
In fact, Jaguars rookie QB Trevor Lawrence conducted his best start of a game in his young career, starting the game 11/11 passing for 104 yards and a touchdown. An incredible showcase of talent. The touchdown would go to sixth-year receiver Laquon Treadwell, who’s been the team’s leading receiver over the past few games.
In pre-game, all eyes were on the team’s fanbase, having grown tired of the franchises’ decision-making amid yet another losing season that fell far short of expectations.
As expected, many Jaguars fans showed up today in either full-blown clown outfits or donning red noses and signs that signaled fire Jaguars GM Trent Baalke, who has reportedly been retained by owner Shad Khan.
Prior to the contest beginning, a plane flew signage that read: “#KLOWNTOWN.” The plane flew over TIAA Bank Field and around it several times.
The team has gone 4-28 since he was brought in as director of player personnel last season.
A disappointing season offensively, but it wouldn’t look like it during the first drive of the game for Jacksonville. Lawrence would lead and dissect the Colts’ defense by going eight of eight passing for 83 yards and a touchdown. Jacksonville began the game leading 7-0.
Lawrence’s hot streak would come to an end after the first 13 of his passes. His 14th pass, incomplete, would be one of the best throws of his young career, a pass Treadwell simply couldn’t hang onto once he hit the ground. It would have been good for about 50 yards.
The Jaguars would be forced to kick two field goals after getting the ball within the Colts’ 10-yard-line just before halftime, bringing the score to 13-3. Lawrence finished the first half having completed 19/25 of his passes for 208 yards and a touchdown.
Right out of the gates at halftime, the Jaguars secured their first turnover of the day, a sack/fumble by linebacker Damien Wilson. Jacksonville would recover and turn the turnover into another field goal, bringing the score to 16-3.
After yet another forced turnover by the Jaguars, this time an interception by Wilson, the Jaguars were able to punch it into the end zone, extending their lead to 23-3. That score would happen near the end of the third quarter, perhaps the best play of Lawrence’s young career.
The touchdown toss would go to Marvin Jones Jr., who toe-tapped his way into the back of the end zone.
Jacksonville’s defense would stymie the Colts all day, in the run and pass game. The team recorded six sacks, including two from defensive end/outside linebacker Josh Allen. Other players that recorded some part of a sack today: Wilson, Adam Gotsis, Malcom Brown, Dawaune Smoot.
Jacksonville would continue to pile it on during the fourth quarter, adding three more points and bringing the lead to 26-3.
The Colts would finally get a touchdown on the board with 4:26 remaining, a touchdown toss from Wentz to receiver Michael Pittman. After going for two, the Colts brought the Jacksonville lead to 15, 26-11.
Without any timeouts, the Colts were forced to kick an onside, They failed to recover, allowing Jacksonville to milk the clock the rest of the way.
Lawrence would finish the game 23 out of 32 of his passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns. His first multi-touchdown toss game since Week 1 of the regular season, throwing three touchdowns against the Houston Texans.