Mark Brunell: Jags send message they are for real

Win in Pittsburgh is 'statement game'


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars continue to surprise. Last week against the Jets, we lost a game we were supposed to win. Sunday, we won a game most thought wasn't possible.

The game against the Steelers was a “statement.” By beating Pittsburgh, the Jaguars have sent a message to the entire league that they are for real. No team should take us lightly.

Yes, we are inconsistent. No we don’t have a top  quarterback. But going into Heinz Field and beating a team that finds itself in the post season year-in and year-out is huge.  

So are the Jaguars for real?  Could this team find itself in the post-season? I believe so. I wouldn't have said that before this game. Sure, its early, but I believe we are finding our identity as a team.

I've talked about the “formula” for winning games this year. It’s Tom Coughlin’s formula. It's Doug Marrones’s formula. It's playing solid defense, running the ball effectively, and it's not having your quarterback throw too often.

We nailed it against the Steelers. Our defense was dominant. Ben Roethlisberger, for the first time in his career, threw five interceptions, with two of those taken to the house. Understand that Ben isn’t just any QB in this league. He is one of the best in the business. And this wasn't an “off day” for the Steelers QB.  We kept the usually elusive QB in the pocket and consistently put pressure on him.

Our coverage was exceptional. How many times was Ben forced to find a check down? The Steelers have three of the best players at their position in the NFL: Ben, Antonio and LeVeon.  They scored 9 points. Huge!

On the other side of the ball, the first name to come to mind is obviously Leonard Fournette. Who says you should never draft a running back in the first round? This kid just keeps making plays and keeps getting better.

It would be a mistake not to mention our much-maligned offensive line that has surprised everybody. They are physical, they play well together and are creating lanes for our running backs. Fournette and Ivory are statistically a Top 5 running-back tandem in the NFL. You simply can't overlook how well this group has played. 

Let's not forget that Blake hardly has been touched this season. They’ve given up the fewest amount of sacks in the NFL thus far. Impressive.

Sunday's game was big. Everything came together. But obviously there are still some concerns. We are still an inconsistent football team. We haven’t been able to put two solid games together. But beating the Rams next week in EverBank could put that to rest.  

Jaguar fans, we are 3-2 and leading our division. Lots of football left, but I like where this football team is right now.