Outside linebacker Josh Allen is one of the Jaguars’ most important defensive players. That’s why the Jags should be relieved he’s back in the game after leaving with an arm injury early.
The Falcons got the ball first and in one play of their first drive, quarterback Matt Ryan targeted wide receiver Russell Gage. The pass was incomplete but Allen got hurt in the play. He was checked by the trainers and then went to the sidelines. Allen only missed the remainder of the drive as he was back in the lineup for Atlanta’s second possession.
Not having Allen would have been a significant blow for Jacksonville’s defense. The 2019 first-round pick is arguably their best defensive player. Before the game, he had 51 total tackles, nine tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and one interception. The Kentucky product was having a career year and before Week 12, he had not missed playing time because of injuries. Last season, he dealt with a knee injury that hampered his production and forced him to miss eight games.
The Jaguars’ defense is not the same without Josh Allen.
The Jaguars were already shorthanded heading into the game. Cornerback Shaquill Griffin was ruled out for the game after suffering a concussion against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 12. Veteran Nevin Lawson took his spot in the starting lineup. He will need to step up in Griffin’s absence.
The Jaguars’ defense forced a punt in the Falcons’ first drive of the game but Cordarelle Patterson scored in their second possession. On the bright side, tight end Kyle Pitts hasn’t been a factor. If Jacksonville’s defense doesn’t allow more touchdowns and the offense can score a few points, they will have a chance to win their third game of the year.