At first glance, those who missed Sunday’s Jacksonville Jaguars game would think a shutout involving the Indianapolis Colts would be in their favor. But on Sunday the Jacksonville defense returned to Saxonville form. They managed to shut out the Colts 6-0 on their home turf. This put an end to a seven-game losing streak. This had to be a sigh of relief for everyone in the locker room. No one outside the organization would know for sure what caused it, but there was a ton of passion and drive shown by the defense Sunday. This was a reminder to many of the team they had high hopes for going into the current season. The offense may have had their share of changes and struggles, but the defense was there to remind everyone who has really been carrying this team.
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For the first time this entire season, Andrew Luck threw for zero touchdowns and one interception. The Colts were on a five-game winning streak that was put to a halt in surprising fashion. After losing back-to-back games, that just felt like they should have had a better outcome, the Jaguars accomplished what they failed to against the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers. But they also played like losing was not an option on the defensive side from beginning to end.
Tough Road Ahead
If the defense really is back, they have their work cut out for them this Thursday. The Jaguars will be taking on an even tougher AFC South opponent in the Tennessee Titans. This team has been like kryptonite to the Jaguars and, going back to last season, the Jaguars are 0-3 when it comes to them. Yes, even when the Jaguars led the way to the AFC championship a season ago, the Titans could still brag about the fact that they were undefeated when it comes to the Jaguars. As the 2018 season started, the Titans became the first team to stop the Jaguars momentum and beat them in an ugly 9-6 defeat. Neither defense allowed a touchdown. But the Titans managed just one more field goal with four minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
With a backup quarterback in Cody Kessler behind center, the Jaguars know they cannot rely on their offensive play. And much like has been the case with Blake Bortles, the defense is likely the only formula that will lead to a win. On the Tennessee side, Marcus Mariota is dealing with a hand injury that will not keep him out of the game. But it might be a weakness that the Jaguars defense could look to expose. In Week Two, Mariota was held to just 100 yards passing. So with a short week, the Jaguars will look to carry Sunday’s momentum and determination into Thursday’s match-up. The Titans will be looking to do the same on their side of the ball. The Titans hope to still land a playoff spot and improve on a .500 record. With some surprising wins and losses, it is tough to say what version of the team will show up Thursday. But then again, the same can be said of the Jaguars based on the season so far. If the defense is here to make a statement, Thursday is an important step to achieving that goal.