How the Jaguars Defense stepped up vs. the Colts in Week 1 (Statistical Deep Dive)

A weekly statistical deep-dive into how the Jaguars performed, including key stats, offensive and defensive trends, and more!
Jacksonville Jaguars v Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars v Indianapolis Colts / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

Week 1 of the 2023 season is now in the books and the Jacksonville Jaguars were one of the teams that managed to get a win, beating the Indianapolis Colts 31-21.

Next, the Jags will take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2. But before they do, here's a deep statistical analysis of their performance against Indy in the season opener.

Key Stats to the Jaguars win over the Colts in Week 1

Note: I consider a turnover to be a lost fumble, interception, failed fourth-down conversion, or a missed field. And that was the key to this game. The Jaguars defense forced four turnovers on fourth down, allowing one conversion.

Overall, both teams were decently disciplined in the penalty category with two unnecessary roughness penalties (one of them very questionable) by the Jaguars' defense giving the Colts a slight lean.

Jaguars vs. Colts Week 1 Offensive Breakdown

As expected, there was an increased distribution of rushes, with Travis Etienne contributing just over half of the attempts. However, Etienne did still play on 80 percent of snaps, likely because Press Taylor trusts him more in pass protection. Surprisingly, 50 percent of the rushing attempts were between the guards, despite a lack of productivity. The three most notable run plays — Bigsby's run on second-and-4, Bigsby's touchdown, and Etienne's touchdown — were all run to the left side; a sign that Taylor is hesitant to run behind Anton Harrison.

The wide receiver room only saw a 0.4 percent increase in target share from 2022, but the tight end room saw a surprising 4.9 percent decrease in target share. This decrease is likely due to Brenton Strange playing in his first NFL game and I expect this number to increase over the course of the season.

Jaguars Offensive Trends to Keep an Eye on

While decreasing their passing rate in nearly all situations, the Jaguars remain hyper-effective at throwing the ball despite the fluky interception. Zay Jones, in addition to the incredible touchdown catch, remains a key piece to this team's third and fourth down plans.

Like 2022, the Jaguars excelled at avoiding third down on Sunday. However, when they did face third down, they struggled. Averaging 4.74 yards to go is very feasible, but the inability to convert higher than 25% is slightly concerning.

Jaguars vs. Colts Week 1 Defensive Stats

Yes, running back Jonathan Taylor was out. But given Anthony Richardson's current status as an NFL quarterback, holding the Colts to 2.5 Yards per carrying is impressive. There is a lot of praise to go around on the defensive line, but don't discount how well Foye Olulokun, who quietly had 12 tackles, and Devin Lloyd, who did not get the stats but looked much quicker while playing 100 percent of the defensive snaps, contained Richardson.

The Jaguars defense forced 14 third downs, only allowing a 16.7 percent conversion rate. Even more impressive, the Jaguars defense forced five fourth downs and only allowed one conversion. Yes, Richardson is a raw rookie quarterback, but he forces the defense to do something different than most other opponents, and the defense adjusted well.

Jaguars vs. Colts Week 1 Field Position

Thank you, Jamal Agnew. This also takes into account the Jaguars' defense making critical stops, but special teams played a huge factor in this game.

Stay tuned for a statistical preview of the Week 2 matchup against the Chiefs later this week on Black and Teal and keep an eye out for future Jaguars statistical recaps! If you have any statistics you would like to see in the future, reach out on to me on Twitter @DuvalAndrew904.

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