How the Jaguar Protection Smashed Jacksonville’s Playoffs Ticket

The Jacksonville Jaguars are the AFC South champions.

After beginning the 12 months with a 3-7 file, the Jaguars limped to the tip of the week after shedding to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. Jacksonville had a three-game deficit within the divisional win column, behind the Tennessee Titans 6-3.

My how issues modified within the second half of the 12 months in Jacksonville.

The Jaguars have gained six of their final seven video games, together with Saturday’s 19:16 win over the identical Titans to take the AFC South and arrange a house playoff sport at Wild Card Weekend.

An enormous a part of their return?

Their protection.

Throughout their 3-7 begin, Jacksonville’s protection was roughly in the course of the pack. The Jaguars’ protection ranked 18th within the league in anticipated factors allowed per sport and twenty first within the NFL in EPA factors allowed per sport:

However since then, the Jaguars have been one of many higher defenses within the league. Since Week 12, when the Jaguars completed their farewell week and defeated the Baltimore Ravens by a last rating of 28-27, Jacksonville’s protection has been the sixth within the NFL when it comes to EPA Allowed per Play and tenth within the NFL when it comes to EPA on Dropback:

Whereas Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Offensive bought a lot of the consideration after their win over the Ravens and later the Dallas Cowboys, their protection was an enormous a part of their turnaround.

And it was on full show on Saturday evening, particularly within the second half, when Jacksonville’s protection annoyed Tennessee passer Josh Dobbs and created the best play within the sport.

We’ll get to touchdowns in a second, however first we are able to take a look at performs like this 3 and seven till the center of the third quarter. The Titans lead 13-10 and are simply outdoors the pink zone. Dobbs units up within the shotgun as Tennessee makes use of a gaggle formation on the correct aspect of the sphere.

However QB is being flushed out of the pocket with Arden Key on one aspect of the formation and a pressurized pack on the opposite:

Earlier than snapping, Jacksonville strains up 5 defenders within the entrance line, three of whom are on the entrance proper, together with Key, who’s aligned with rookie proper deal with Nicholas Petit-Frere, and follower Josh Allen, who’s aligned off Key. However with different full-backs lurking on the opposite aspect of the formation, Dobbs strikes the escaping Hassan Haskins to the left flank the place Travon Walker and Foyesade Oluokun lurk.

In the beginning of the sport, the middle proper fielder and proper fielder transfer to the correct. The three solely want to dam two defenders as Allen tumbles off the sting into the field. On the opposite aspect, Walker and Oluokun comply with quarterback, joined by Tyson Campbell’s nook from the sting.

Walker and Oluokun get caught however Campbell has a free run to quarterback. This begins to empty Dobbs from his proper, however simply as he begins to return out of his pocket, Key walks previous Petit-Frere.

Dobbs beats the primary two nook threats however cannot beat the third: Roy Robertson-Harris. Below stress from the QB, he takes a throw to the ft of Robert Woods, which fits incomplete.

Early within the fourth quarter, an inner feat noticed the Jaguars go off the sphere on the third strive. With the Titans coping with 3 and seven, Tennessee put Dobbs in a shotgun with three receivers on the correct aspect. Once more, Jacksonville locations three defenders on the correct of the offensive line, this time with rookie Travon Walker throwing a go outdoors of a left deal with. Rookie Defender Devin Lloyd additionally lurks on the left of the attacking line.

After the snap, Walker explodes from the sting into the pocket, and his pace is the primary cause Dobbs has to climb the pocket. That is when an inner stunt begins to trigger an issue. Inside, Robertson-Harris and Key carried out a stunt, which frees Key for a QB run.

As we noticed within the first instance, Dobbs is ready to keep away from the primary two threats. However he cannot keep away from the third, which is Robertson-Harris once more:

Dobbs climbs into his pocket to keep away from Walker and breaks free from Key’s grip. However simply then, Robertson-Harris comes residence for the sack, forcing a punt from Tennessee.

Nonetheless, the Jaguars’ offensive could not transfer past this level, and with simply over three minutes left, the Titans have been nonetheless main the sport.

Then the sport modified for good:

This equalization and stress package deal is similar to the primary instance, 3 and seven from the center of the third quarter. Jacksonville units up three defenders on the correct of assault, together with Key over the correct deal with and Allen on the surface. However once more, Allen falls into vary.

Walker and Lloyd, however, lurked in two-pointers – very similar to Walker and Oluokun did within the third-quarter sport – with a defensive again over a decent endgame. This time the lightning is Rayshawn Jenkins.

And he returns residence.

After the sport, Dobbs made it clear that he needed to strive more durable to get the ball out of his arms. He solely holds it a half a step too lengthy and that is sufficient for Jenkins to launch the ball, setting the stage for a defensive landing.

Nonetheless, Tennessee had time to win, and Jacksonville’s protection wanted yet one more stoppage. As a result of the massive sport was stress from Allen tackling the rookie with a proper deal with:

Allen beats Petit-Frere off the sting, grabbing the soccer ball and knocking it off Dobbs. QB manages to carry the ball by snatching it out of the air, however a five-yard loss places the Titans in third and lengthy.

Jacksonville pressured brief throws on the subsequent two performs and took management of the falls.

Within the coming days, consideration will seemingly flip to Lawrence and a possible wild card shootout between him and one other teenager, Justin Herbert. Following Sunday’s outcomes, the Jaguars will host the Los Angeles Chargers subsequent weekend.

We will not wait to speak about this sport.

However earlier than shifting on to this contest, it was essential to level out what the Jaguar protection did on Saturday evening.

As a result of they gave us an opportunity to speak about what we’ll see at Wild Card Weekend.

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