In the first six weeks of the 2022 NFL season, Doug Pederson, Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars offense captured most of our attention. It’s easy to attribute wins and losses to the faces of the franchise, but the team’s defense was quietly playing very well.
Until week 6, that is. The Jags O did their job for 379 yards and 27 points, but their defense allowed Indianapolis to score on each of its last five possessions, including four touchdowns.
Matt Ryan threw for a career-high 42 completions, plus 389 yards and three scores, on a ridiculous 58 pass attempts. The Jaguars applied pressure on 31% of their laudable losses (per PFF), but Ryan got rid of the ball so quickly and efficiently that Jacksonville finished the day with just six quarterback hits and zero sacks.
The 15-year-old Vet QB and freshman Colt single-handedly neutralized the Jaguars pass rush. In a league with alien creatures taking the quarterback job, Ryan channeled his inner Rondo and let the fundamentals do the talking. He perfectly exemplified putting the ball in the right place/at the right time throughout Sunday afternoon.
Apparently, every time the Jaguars dropped into the coverage area, Ryan would find an option underneath within nanoseconds and gain every yard given to him. When Jacksonville was playing against a man, Ryan found his best game and delivered the ball with amazing touch.
Throws weren’t always pretty coming from his 37-year-old arm, but they certainly worked.
In the end, defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell was never able to come up with a solution. Shaq Griffin allowed a game-winning touchdown (for the second time this season) on that sideline bomb to rookie receiver Alec Pierce.
According to rbsdm.com, it was the highest play in the game by win probability and the second highest by expected points added.
If Jacksonville is to play playoff football, its cornerbacks need to perform better in men’s coverage when called. We’ll see if the Jaguars can put together a full game in Week 7 when they host Saquon Barkley and the New York Giants 5-1.