(SportsDay Photo by Nancy Beecher/FSW)
By Jeff Moeller
After the game, I thought about it being the “Curse of the Texans.”
Houston’s shocking 16-3 victory over the Jaguars at TIAA Field marked their ninth straight victory in the series and their 16th in the last 18 contests between the two.
This was supposed to be an easy “W” for the Jags over the previous winless Texans. The confidence level about them had begun to build toward a crescendo despite their loss at Philadelphia the previous week.
Despite their youth, the Jags had arrived. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the defense looked like the real thing.
But we are often deceived by youth, especially in football. I,too, among many others were initially easily deceived as to how a 3-14 team from a year ago can match their win total five games into the next season. The transformation is not yet complete.
Their loss to Houston hasn’t derailed the process..it has just slowed it down. Yes, like I have said, there is plenty of improvement.
The Jags (2-3) will try to recover Sunday when they take on the Colts in Indianapolis, facing a team that will be looking for revenge after the Jags dusted them 24-0 in the home opener a few weeks ago. Indy (2-2-1) could benefit from having a few extra days off not having played since they defeated Denver Oct. 6.
The Colts have won the last two meetings and four of the last six between the two. This will be a pivotal AFC South divisional game for them as they have a 0-2-1 mark, while the Jags have a 1-1 slate and the Titans are 1-0.
Two weeks ago, most of us thought the Jags would be in the running for the AFC South title. Then again, we thought too soon.
Head coach Doug Pederson hasn’t thought along the lines of fast track for his club. He appears in lock step of a “process.” So does Lawrence, who realized he made his share of mistakes against Houston as well as his teammates.
It is still a promising thought of a productive offense with the cast of Lawrence, James Robinson, Travis Etienne, Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Marvin Jones, and Evan Engram. The offensive line has allowed Lawrence to be sacked only six times in five games. Lawrence does have 1,232 yards passing with eight touchdowns and four interceptions. He also has managed to rush for 58 yards.
The Jags defense has been sparked by rookie linebackers Devin Lloyd, who leads the team with 49 tackles, and top pick Travon Walker. Fellow lineback Foyesade Olokun and safety Rayshawn Jenkins are having banner years. Veteran linebacker/edge rusher Josh Allen had three of the team’s 10 sacks.
Yet, the league’s once top-ranked running defense has been thrashed by Philadelphia for 210 yards and Houston for 136 over the past two weeks.
That can happen when youth is still in the forefront.
Soon, the Jags will be ready to escape their youth and take the next step. There shouldn’t be any doubts – like there are –that this plan has gone array.
Still, the Jags will need to be respectable Sunday in Indianapolis and further legitimize their current status.
In the long run, however, enjoy the moments. They will only get better