The definition of pride is a feeling of satisfaction derived from one’s achievements or as a group. It is an opportunity to stand up and fight for a cause or one’s reputation that can be highly admired among others.
With the odds stacked against them, accompanied by an inept offense, it was time for the Jaguars talented defense to be resurrected.
This past Sunday at TIAA Bank, the definition of pride took the field on the defensive side of the ball for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Two teams entered the contest on different streaks trending in opposite directions. The Indianapolis Colts brought a five game win streak along with a fourth highest scoring offense in the league (34.6 points/game during the win streak) led by quarterback Andrew Luck. A young team that has exceeded expectations in 2018 and were staring down a potential AFC playoff appearance.
Meanwhile the Jacksonville Jaguars limped in with a seven game losing streak, tentatively led by several reserve players on the offensive side of the ball. This included the offensive line, quarterback Cody Kessler, and running backs T.J. Yeldon and Carlos Hyde.
There was not much for the fans to be excited or optimistic about heading into the matchup, but that changed after 60 minutes expired.
On Sunday, the Jaguars defense avenged an embarrassing first half against the Colts three weeks ago in Indianapolis in which they surrendered 29 points and left several receivers uncovered.
The defense was determined not to let that happen again and came out hungry and with something to prove.
The speed and aggression shown by Jaguars defense was a flashback to 2017, a squad that adopted the name Sacksonville. The swagger had returned to Sacksonville, and it was a sight to see.
Three key plays for the game was Jacksonville not allowing Indianapolis to convert on fourth down and short yardage (0-3), all within field goal range. In the second quarter, the Jaguars defense held the Colts running back Jordan Wilkins out of the end zone after a costly roughing the kicker penalty extended a drive. Later in the second quarter, Colts tight end Eric Ebron coughed up the ball after a vicious hit be Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith on a key fourth down. Later in the third quarter, rookie strong safety Ronnie Harrison showed of his athleticism by sacking Luck for a nine yard loss as the Colts tried to convert a fourth down inside the Jaguars 20 yard line.
Two turnovers, three sacks, toughness, grit and skill returned to Jacksonville on Sunday. The identity of the team was once again revealed in a 6-0 shutout over a division rival.
That’s right, a shutout.
Only the seventh shutout in the history of the franchise. Do you understand how difficult it is to shutout a NFL team today with all of the rules favoring the offense?
The defensive scheme seemed to play to the strength of several players including All-Pro cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, allowing them to play man to man press coverage, as opposed to the zone defense.
If there is a silver lining to the 2018 season it’s that Jacksonville still has a top five NFL defense and has an opportunity to play spoiler to several teams during the last quarter of the season, including division rival Tennessee Titans and state rivals Miami Dolphins.