Times-Union sports columnist Gene Frenette rates the Jaguars’ performance against the Indianapolis Colts based on execution, effort and game circumstances.
It was about as effective a performance as one would expect in the first three quarters from Trevor Lawrence (25 of 30 for 235 yards, 121.5 rating), who had two of his incompleteness dropped by Marvin Jones and a ball deep into the end zone went straight into the hands of Jamal Agnew.
More from Sunday’s Colts-Jags game:
The Jaguars gave the current game more chances as James Robinson and Travis Etienne had 15 combined runs – the same amount as Week 1 in a loss to the Washington Commanders – with more than three minutes left in the first half.
Robinson didn’t find much running space, but crossed the line for a 37-yard TD and a 14-0 second-quarter lead, putting the Colts in uphill mode all day.
Christian Kirk (6 catches on 6 targets, 78 yards, 2 TDs) seems like the $72 million investment in him might not be the blatantly overpaid critics suggested.
So far, he’s on season tempo for 1,656 yards. The Jaguars had just 331 total yards, but the offensive line kept Lawrence well protected and the Jaguars’ overall efficiency won the day.
Mike Caldwell’s unit pitched as close to a perfect game as any in Jaguars history.
Now, the eighth shutout for the franchise was against a team that was two starting receivers short (Michael Pittman, Alec Pierce).
However, that doesn’t take away from the way Josh Allen and a ball-peddling secondary totally blocked the Colts and quarterback Matt Ryan, who lost his first game in five starts to the Jaguars, at every turn.
For the second week in a row, a defense that collected just nine takeaways all last season recorded three turnovers on interceptions.
Rayshawn Jenkins had a pick, as well as twice for touchdowns by saving tight end Moe Allie-Cox enough to send his right foot out of the back of the end zone.
Jenkins, Shaquille Griffin and linebacker Devin Lloyd also had pass breakups in the end zone to preserve the shutout.
Foley Fatukasi tipped another ball which gave Lloyd an easy choice.
It was reminiscent of the defense’s dominating performance against the Buffalo Bills in a 9-6 win last year.
Special teams: B-minus
Riley Patterson undoubtedly added a bit to his job security when he fired a 52-yard field goal down the middle late in the second quarter, giving the Jaguars a 17-0 lead. He also had two touchdowns on five kickoffs.
Jamal Agnew had a couple of punt return chances, going for 12 yards on one then losing 5 yards on another when, trying to turn the pitch, he was easily carried away by Tony Brown.
Punter Logan Cooke had an average day by his high standards with five punts for a net average of 41.0 yards. He aimed one perfectly at the pylon, but gunner Chris Claybrooks couldn’t get there in time as the ball just popped into the end zone.
A punt was returned 11 yards and another 8 yards.
You can’t ask for a much better pre-game clinic than the one Doug Pederson and his team have put together.
With the exception of slowing the offense in the fourth quarter with a big lead, all three units were on point throughout the game.
The Colts got almost no backlash for what the Jaguars threw at them, extending their winless streak at TIAA Bank Field to 3,276 days since that 44-17 win in 2014.
Pederson made the right decision on his two most important decisions of the day.
It appeared initially that he was considering going 4th and 4th of the Colts’ 34 with a 14-0 lead, but smart play gave Patterson a chance to put the Jaguars up three scores.
If you can’t trust your kicker in this situation, then why is he on the list?
In the third quarter, the Jaguars wisely went for 4th and 2nd of the Colts’ 6 with a three-point lead in hand.
They got a touchdown on a nifty counterfeit pass from Lawrence to Kirk. A beautiful capsule for an almost faultless day.
Gene Frenette Sports columnist at the Florida Times-Union, follow him on Twitter @genefrenette