Legend has it, in 2017, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense was the second best in the National Football League and had a league-leading 55 sacks. The fans started calling it “Sacksonville” after a 29–7 win over the Houston Texans, their AFC South division rivals.
At home or on the road, Sacksonville is real. Ask quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, and Andrew Luck.
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey led the Jaguars defense who refused to give the Indianapolis Colts anything Sunday, turning in one of the most dominant defensive performances in franchise history and carrying the team to a 6-0 victory.
This has been missing all season, but it was found at home hosting the Colts. Ramsey made a game-ending tackle on Erik Swoope with 8 seconds remaining.
Ramsey hit Swoope near the sideline at the end of a third-and-6 play at the Jacksonville 29, and the tight end seemed to land out of bounds. But officials ruled Swoope’s forward progress had been stopped and kept the clock running. The Colts were out of timeouts and could only watch the clock wind down.
“I did not see it, I just knew that Jalen made a great play and took his outside leg out kept him in bounds, the clock ran and that was it, ” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said.
Entering the game, Indianapolis pretty much delivered the knockout blow to the Jaguars’ postseason hopes with a 29-26 victory on Nov. 11 and was going for its sixth consecutive victory to stay within striking distance of Houston, winners of eight in a row.
“It feels good to finally get in the win column,” Calais Campbell stated. “It has been way to long. I just want to stay in this moment and enjoy it.”
The Colts entered with the fourth-most points in the league, having averaged more than 34.6 a game during their win streak. Luck had thrown three or more touchdown passes in eight consecutive games, one shy of the club record.
“We have four games left to show what we can be moving into next year,” defensive end Yannick Ngakoue said. “I want to be the team to ruin other guys playoff chances.”
The Jaguars had a disappointing seven-game losing streak they wanted to end. It ended in shutout fashion at home. One year after reaching the AFC Championship Game, the Jaguars were on a tailspin that sent them plummeting to the bottom of the division and led to changes on the roster and coaching staff. This win was needed.
“Anytime you can stop an NFL team, and they are considering this one of the best teams in the league right now the way they are playing,” linebacker Telvin Smith said. “Anytime you can do what we just did, it is great.”
Head coach Doug Marrone benched quarterback Blake Bortles in favor of backup Cody Kessler and replaced fired offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett with quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich.
Also, Jacksonville was without its best offensive player against Indianapolis. Running back Leonard Fournette, who returned from a six-week injury absence in the last matchup against the Colts, was suspended for one game after he was ejected for fighting in last week’s loss versus Buffalo.
“I didn’t feel very sharp,” Colts quarterback Andrew Luck said. “I didn’t feel I was putting the ball in the right places to give the guys a chance to catch them, but again, give credit to their coverage. I think all the guys in the locker room right now feel that we didn’t hold up our end of the bargain as players. I know I can be sharper. I know I need to be sharper. I’m discouraged, but in a sense, I’m also encouraged to get back to work and improve on things.”
Luck completed 33 of 52 passes for 248 yards and an interception. He was sacked three times after getting hit just five times in the entire month of November. He was sacked once in the previous five games.
Luck was shut out for the first time in his NFL career. Kessler picked up his first win in nine starts.
The Colts play Houston in a big division matchup; Houston has won nine in a row. The Jaguars have a quick turnaround as they visit the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night.