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Mark Brunell: Jags win an absolute thriller

Jaguars beat Chargers 20-17 in overtime

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars won an absolute thriller in the Bank yesterday beating the Los Angeles Chargers 20-17 in overtime. Both teams did their best trying to give this one away with foolish penalties late in the contest, but it was the Jags who found a way to win earning their sixth win of the season.  

At 6-3, the Jags are in great position to earn a playoff bid.

This was a strange football game, to say the least. On offense, the Chargers absolutely shut down the running game, holding Leonard Fournette to only 33 yards on the ground. Credit to Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley for a game plan that focused on not allowing the Jags’ offensive line to establish the run game.  

It's no secret that the formula for beating the Jaguars is making Blake Bortles throw the football. At times, he looked brilliant Sunday. His drive at the end of the third quarter was masterful. Eleven consecutive pass plays called with seven completions as the Jags orchestrated an 84-yard drive ending in a touchdown. 

But that was the last drive that the quarterback looked sharp.  

Bortles’ fourth-quarter performance was anything but spectacular. Two fourth-quarter interceptions reminded us that Bortles has a long way to go when the game is on the line. Our quarterback, despite the win, took a step backward today. My hope was that Bortles, without a run game, would finally be able to carry the team with his arm. Going forward, we must be able to run the football.  

Defensively, it wasn't our best game either. 

Our strength is putting pressure on the opposing passer. On Sunday, it was Philip Rivers. He had great protection and barely got his uniform dirty. We simply didn't get enough heat on him, and he was able to make some critical throws. Of course, anytime you hold Rivers to only 235 yards and 17 points, that’s a good thing. The defensive backs did a very good job covering despite the lack of pressure on the Chargers’ gunslinger. 

The defense continues to impress and certainly is the reason our football team is enjoying its success.

Special teams continues to play at a high level. Corey Grant's 56-yard punt fake for a touchdown was executed flawlessly. Special Teams Coordinator Joe DeCamillis is one of the best in the business and its clear head coach Doug Marrone has a lot of confidence in him. An excellent well-timed call turned into some much-needed points. How about Josh Lambo with the 30-yard game winner? If you're a Jags fan, it was spectacular. 

I've seen a lot of football games, and this one will certainly go down as one of the craziest. It’s good to see a Jaguar team that simply doesn't quit until the clock reads zero. Congrats to Marrone and his football team.  

Browns are next and 7-3 is only seven days away. Go Jaguars!


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