Jacksonville Jaguars: Top three performers in win over Houston Texans


With a playoff berth on the line, the Jacksonville Jaguars displayed as well-rounded a performance as they have had all season.

It’s no longer debatable, the Jacksonville Jaguars are playing as good a brand of football right now as any team in the National Football League.

The Jaguars punched a ticket to the postseason for the first time since 2007 over the Houston Texans, with an emphasis on ‘punched’. Jacksonville came out fighting from the jump, in a 45-7 drubbing over Houston at home.

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It was as balanced a game as the Jaguars have had in this magical 2017 season. Offense, defense, and special teams all played a part in the emphatic victory.

Many Jaguars stood out in the convincing win. Let’s take a look at the top performers on Sunday:

1. Keelan Cole/Jaydon Mickens

Keelan Cole lit the stat sheet on fire on Sunday, but it is impossible to not include Jaydon Mickens as well, in a tandem receiver showing that had Jaguars fans reminiscing of the “Thunder and Lightning” days of Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell.

Keelan Cole was a man possessed against the Texans, going for seven receptions and 186 yards, along with a touchdown catch. His longest reception was a crossing route that he took 73 yards down to the one-yard line on the first play of the second drive of the third quarter.

Jaydon Mickens also had himself a day as a pass catcher, and complemented Cole better than the team could have ever asked of him after Marqise Lee exited the game with an injury. Mickens had four grabs for 61 yards, and hauled in two touchdown passes. If you haven’t read the story of Mickens’ journey in Jacksonville, it is absolutely worth the read.

The two rookie wide-outs are coming off of back-to-back impact performances, and are quickly making names for themselves. With the Jaguars already having lost Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns before the game, and Marqise Lee early in the game, Keelan Cole and Jaydon Mickens rose to the challenge and produced to the highest level against Houston.

2. Blake Bortles

The story of the month of December for the Jacksonville Jaguars should be appropriately titled, ‘Blake Bortles: The Awakening’.

Bortles has come alive for the Jaguars, and is propelling the team to the next level. Bortles has owned December thus far, and that was evident again on Sunday. Bortles went 21-29, for 326 yards and three touchdowns. Also, for the third consecutive week, he did not throw an interception. It was another “wow” performance from the guy who has battled a plethora of backlash during his career.

Bortles is playing out of his mind right now. The fourth-year quarterback has not been more in control of the offense than he is right now. It is uncertain what exactly has happened, but something has clicked within himself, and Bortles has become a dependable signal caller.

All season, it was the defense that made the Jaguars a potential threat. But now, when it has mattered the most, Blake Bortles is pushing Jacksonville into the level of league powerhouse.

3. Calais Campbell

There are plenty of jobs in this world I would personally not enjoy. Being an offensive lineman opposite of Calais Campbell would be pretty high on that list.

Campbell has made a strong case for Defensive Player of the Year all season long, and substantially enhanced his résumé again on Sunday. Campbell is a one-man wrecking ball, whose lone mission is to disrupt and destroy any and all offenses.

Campbell had five solo tackles against the Texans, and added two more sacks to bring his season total to 14.5, just half a sack behind the league lead. Campbell was unblockable, which has been the case for the majority of the year, further solidifying the home run the Jaguars hit in signing Campbell in the offseason.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are getting production from many different players, on both sides of the ball. With that, the Jaguars are as big a threat as any to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February.