The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Seattle Seahawks this past Sunday 30-24, in what many considered the game of the week. A lot of people claim that this was a statement game for this Jacksonville team. But in many ways, this isn’t simply a statement that the Jaguars are good this season. This game proves a lot of things to be true about this season so far. Not only was this a statement game, but this was a direct message to all of the pundits and critics who have counted out particular members of this Jaguars unit.
Sunday’s game was one of the most emotional and chippy games of the year for the NFL. This may have been fueled prior to the start of the game from comments Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett made about the Jacksonville Jaguars months ago, stating how playing against the Jags is usually a blowout. Well this roster didn’t forget Bennett’s words on Sunday, as they played a physical game to defeat a Seahawks team who are fighting to reach the playoffs in the NFC. With Sunday’s win, the Jaguars move solely into first place in the AFC South ahead of the Tennessee Titans.
In some ways, this was a statement to the division. But in reality, it goes much deeper than simply the division. In a lot of ways, this is a message to all of those who criticized the promotion of Doug Marrone as head coach. After being the offensive line coach last season, many fans were hoping to hear of a high-profile hire to replace Gus Bradley at the helm, or at least a new face. But the hiring from within was reached with criticism from fans and media alike. Yet this season, Marrone has proved to be a likable leader that these players will follow and trust. While he hasn’t always made the correct calls throughout the season, there is no doubt that Doug Marrone has played a huge part in the success for the Jaguars this season.
Another statement to take from this victory is to all those who have doubted Blake Bortles. Ex-NFL players and now media personality Ryan Clark has come out apologizing to Blake Bortles for the many harsh takes he’s had over the past, as Bortles this season has started to prove Clark wrong in many ways. When all is said and done, Blake Bortles is the starting quarterback for a division-leading team with a record of 9-4. This past Sunday, Blake Bortles threw for 268 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson threw for three interceptions against the Jaguars defense. Bortles is starting to find the confidence to succeed under center and seems to be getting the support from his teammates that has been lacking in the past. The Jags are about to finish with their first winning record in a decade, and Blake Bortles has earned a lot of respect for this accomplishment on the season.
Which leaves us with the defense down in Jacksonville. While the unit may not have been doubted like Bortles or Marrone ahead of the season, nobody expected this defense to be as dominant as they’ve been. That is, except for the players themselves, who’ve had the swagger and confidence to believe they’re the best defense in the NFL from Week 1. For the past five years, the Seattle Seahawks have been regarded as one of the most potent defenses in football, with their defensive backs earning the nickname “Legion of Boom”. But nowadays, it seems that the Jaguars have taken the league by force with their defense, with Seattle receiving the message loud and clear on Sunday. In 2017, the Jacksonville Jaguars have shown they’re not the same team over the past ten seasons. And there is real reason to believe that many teams in the AFC are hoping to not have to face this defense come time for the playoffs.
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