By Jeff Moeller, Florida Sports Wire
JACKSONVILLE – At about 4:15 Sunday afternoon, the Jaguars and their fans took a collective, large exhale.
An afternoon that had all the signs of major letdown turned into a major reprisal. It took Travis Etinenne’s spinning away from a scrum in the middle of the field and sprinting into the end zone to initiate a sigh of relief.
It was a welcoming scene that didn’t have the makings of a 31-21 victory throughout most of the afternoon in Indianapolis. For the Jags, this had been a recent house of horrors in the past, as they had dropped five straight there in the past. The Jags dropped a late 34-27 decision in Indy last year.
Instead, it looked more like an afternoon in which the Jags would be hijacked by rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson and a better-than-average Colts’ defense.
It also was a game in which the Jags were victims of their own mistakes. This should have been a 10-point game throughout, and not at the end.
Tank Bigsby’s fumble led to a touchdown return, and the Jags’ defense was caught out of position on a Colts’ first-half score. Calvin Ridley looked like the weapon the Jags envisioned with his seven first-half receptions and a touchdown. Zay Jones made a diving touchdown catch also in the first half.
Trevor Lawrence was efficient and mostly effective throughout the game. He was 13-of-16 for 150 yards in the opening half, and finished the game 24-of-32 for 245 yards.
To Bigsby credit, he redeemed himself later with a touchdown run, and the Jags stayed the course. Jamal Agnew again proved how invaluable he is, as his 48-year punt return kick started the winning drive.
Their defense bent, but it didn’t break.
Foyesade Oluokun continued where he left off last year as the league tackling machine with 12 stops. Josh Allen gave the Jags the pass rush they have been seeking with three sacks. Travon Walker registered a much-needed sack for his psyche.
In the end, it wasn’t pretty, but it could be a sign of things to come. Most of these Jags have a year of seasoning under Doug Pederson.
This was a grind-it-out Pederson victory, resemblant of some of his Eagles’ triumphs in the past.
The Jags got it done like they did on several occasions last year. It’s called grit and character.
However, the Jags will need to play better when the defending champion Kansas City comes to Everbank Stadium next Sunday. The stage has now been set for a showcase showdown, especially with the Chiefs’ opening-loss to Detroit. Kansas City also will have 10 days off to prepare.
The Jags won a game they were supposed to win. And it didn’t follow the script.
It’s certainly the start of a season with questions and expectations.
(Photo by Doug McSchooler/Indianapolis Colts)