On a night where there were plenty of distractions prior to the game, the Jacksonville Jaguars came out and beat their rival, the Tennessee Titans.
Calais Campbell summed up how he thought his teammates played on defense Thursday night. It seemed as though nothing could go wrong. The Jaguars defensive end had three sacks and led a charge that could not be stopped by the Titans.
The end result was domination in a 20-7 win at TIAA Bank Field on a field and with thousands of fans cheering on this unit and a rookie quarterback who’s legend grows with each passing day.
"“We did a good job tackling well,” Campbell said. “Giving ourselves opportunities, we got early points. Gardner [Minshew II] played great especially early in the game getting us an early fourteen.”"
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If the Jaguars have found a rhythm, this could be a nice roll for this football team, with winnable games ahead at Denver and Carolina before coming home to face New Orleans. It’s the kind of game that could set things up nicely for Jacksonville and make the NFL landscape know last season was more of an anomaly than in years past.
Here are three things that went right Thursday night.
Defense, Defense, Defense – This might have been the best defensive performance since the 10-sack game against the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. Everything seemed to go right with the pass rush and the play-calling by defensive coordinator Todd Wash.
Calais Campbell had three of the nine registered sacks. Josh Allen looked like a beast. Even Taven Bryan got in on the act. This is how this unit should play all the time. The rookies, which included Quincy Williams played with an electricity on Thursday night.
A.J. Bouye had his best game of the season and showed the same form that led to a Pro Bowl appearance in 2017. What else can you say but, “BRAVO!”
DJ Chark was on his game – There is a real belief in the building that wide receiver could be as good as advertised when the Jaguars made him their second-round pick in 2018. For a guy who looked pedestrian last season, the light has turned on for the former LSU star.
DJ Chark is amongst the league leaders in receptions and yards, plus he caught three touchdowns in three straight games. That hasn’t been done since the days of Jimmy Smith. His fluid motion and how he now catches the football makes him a threat to score in the end zone on every red zone possession.
Look for the Jaguars to use the Gardner Minshew-to-Chark combination early and often in Denver.
The Game Plan – So much has been made this week about the Jalen Ramsey trade talks and how the Titans own this ball club. There were so many red flags and a real possibility the team would fall to 0-3.
The Jaguars as a football team would not let that happen. There was a plan in place to work toward the Titans’ weaknesses. Both offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and Wash should be commended for their efforts.
Now comes the hard task of not losing momentum with the time off in between Thursday and next Sunday in Denver. The Jaguars do not do well on west coast trips. Could they find a way to win in Mile High? I think it is a real possibility.