Injuries Mar Jaguars Victory
The stingy Jacksonville Jaguars defense lost it's best cover man when veteran cornerback Rashean Mathis went down with a torn ACL in Sunday's 17-3 victory over the Colts. Mathis was placed on injured reserve, as well as offensive tackle Eben Britton and linebacker Kyle Bosworth.
"He planted to come back and the knee kept going," Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said. "It's unfortunate. He's a good football player and was having a good year for us."
It's an especially tough injury for Mathis as this was his contract year and it will likely end his time in Jacksonville. The Jacksonville native was one of the best players in team history and was their best player in the secondary after being selected in the second round of the 2003 draft.
Britton has played in just four games this season as he's struggled with a back injury after missing half of last year with torn labrum. Britton was ineffective when the team tried him at left guard and hasn't been particularly good at right tackle. It's very likely that the team will go in a different direction next season.
Jags O-Line Showed Dominance
The Jaguars offense won't confuse anyone with the Green Bay Packers, but they were able to run the ball effectively against the Colts Sunday. Maurice Jones-Drew gained 114 yards on 25 carries with a touchdown as the interior of the line opened up gaping holes despite facing eight and nine-man fronts.
"It was a good effort," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said. "We leaned on our defense and our running game. It was important for us to come in and get a divisional win."
Rookie Will Rackley had his best game as a pro, and Brad Meester and Uche Nwaneri paved the way for the team's 141-yard rushing performance as they dominated time of possession by holding the ball for more than 10 minutes longer than Indianapolis.
The offensive line is usually the last group to find synchronicity and after nine games it appears as if the Jaguars line is doing just that....Or it could be that they played against the worst team in football.
Different Targets, Different Results
The lack of effectiveness from the Jaguars wide receiving corps has been talked about ad nauseum. They struggle with separation, they struggle catching the ball and they don't block all that well.
Jacksonville decided to shake things up a bit as the two most targeted receivers in the game were Chastin West and Jarett Dillard. West caught three balls for 39 yards and Dillard caught his first professional touchdown which broke a 3-3 tie.
"It was a great touchdown at a great time in the game," Dillard said. "It was almost set up like it was set up in college. I saw the defender playing outside leverage. I said, ‘Well, I'm going to take the inside and release.' That's just what happened."
Dillard and West combined for just five catches for 69 yards and a touchdown, while eight players around the league exceeded 100 yards receiving on their own. Still, the two young wideouts showed solid hands, an ability to get open and the Jaguars should get them more reps as the season progresses.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie