Jacksonville Sports Day

NFL: Jaguars Snap Seven Game Skid, Prepare for Titans

FILE PHOTO BY Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Indianapolis Colts fell to AFC South rival  Jacksonville Jaguars, 6-0, at TIAA Bank Field. The Jaguars snapped Indy’s win streak at five games.

Josh Lambo converted field goals of 30 and 37 yards.

On Nov. 11, the Colts played host to the Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts won that battle, 29-26. Sunday was a whole different story.

The Jaguars entered the game with all sorts of turmoil on the offensive side of the ball. On Monday alone, the team fired its offensive coordinator, took away the starting quarterback job from Blake Bortles and saw running back Leonard Fournette suspended for a game.

That was on top of All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell going on injured reserve.

Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone lauded his team for playing through the controversy that surrounded the team this week.

“Those guys come to work. They understand that they’re professionals,” Marrone said about his team. “Like I said before, and I said it in the locker room after the game, I give them a lot of credit. Obviously, we know there’s a lot going on on the outside, obviously there’s been some changes, changes in the lineup, changes staff-wise. Those things are going on, and then trying to keep everyone focused and keep everyone playing together is really a credit to the guys in the locker room.”

Kessler was average in his first game replacing Bortles. It was Kessler’s first start since he started eight games for the Cleveland Browns in 2016, all of which ended up as losses. He finished 18-of-24 passing but for just 150 yards. He was sacked three times and finished with a 90.6 rating.

“It wasn’t pretty but man it feels good,” Kessler said. “It’s something as a quarterback and as a kid you dream of winning an NFL game. There’s no doubt about it that I have to do better though, and push the ball downfield a little bit more and take some of those shots. When your defense is playing so well you don’t want to force things and make stupid turnovers to put them in a bad spot.”

The defensive side of the ball, however — that’s always been the Jaguars’ bread and butter. And, boy, did that unit come to play on Sunday.

D.J. Hayden recorded his first interception with the Jaguars and the fourth of his career on Jacksonville’s opening defensive series. Yannick Ngakoue led the defensive line with four tackles, including a sack.

Their defensive front brought pressure all day, and their secondary was sticking to the Indy receivers like glue. Indianapolis was 0-for-3 on fourth down.

Early in the second quarter, the Colts were gifted a first down at the Jacksonville 5-yard line after a roughing the long snapper penalty on what would’ve been a made field goal by Adam Vinatieri.

But after two incomplete passes, QB Andrew Luck was able to find running back Nyheim Hines for a four-yard gain to the one. Wanting six in this situation instead of three, however, Frank Reich elected to go for it, but running back Jordan Wilkins was stuffed short of the goal line on a shovel pass play. Turnover on downs.

On the Colts’ very next drive, which began with great field position at the Jaguars’ 40, Indy could only muster nine yards on their first three plays, and faced, again, a 4th and 1, this time at the Jacksonville 31.

Luck attempted a handoff to tight end Eric Ebron, and he was not only stuffed, but he fumbled the ball while diving to try to make a play. Linebacker Myles Jack recovered it at his 40-yard line.

The third fourth-down attempt hurt the most, however. On 3rd and 7, Luck found Ebron for a six-yard gain, setting up yet another 4th-and-1 attempt with 2:38 remaining.

Luck, lined up under center for the first time in this nine-play drive, didn’t hand it off, and looked like he was trying to find a receiver to his right when safety Ronnie Harrison, who looked untouched off the left edge, brought the quarterback down for a huge sack and a turnover on downs.

The Colts did get one more shot with no timeouts left and 1:53 remaining, but after starting at their own 15-yard line, tight end Erik Swoope, the officials ruled, wasn’t able to completely get out of bounds on what ended up being the final play, as cornerback Jalen Ramsey brought him down to clinch a victory for the Jaguars.

Ramsey made six tackles and tied for the team lead with two passes defensed. Today’s game marked Ramsey’s 10th career game with multiple passes defensed, which are the most through three seasons in franchise history.

“It was a tough loss. We knew we were going to get (Jacksonville’s) best effort,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said. “We knew we were going against a top-5 defense. We played hard, we just didn’t execute the way we needed to. We just needed to execute a little bit better and not have the self-inflicted wounds. Give Jacksonville a lot of credit, that’s a good defense and they got the best of us today.”

The Jaguars visit Tennessee Thursday night.

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