Playing the Blame Game Colts vs Jaguars: Part 1 The Gameplay Storyline
When I say “game scenario”, I am referring to the first 10 to 15 games for the Jacksonville offense. Head coach Doug Pederson meticulously crafted these plays to not only highlight the strengths of his offense, but also to take advantage of gaps in the Colts defense. There may have been an outside factor with a big influence on the Pederson fan.
Pederson wrote a game script that took advantage of his close friend Frank Reich. Yes, Pederson and Reich have a relationship that dates back to their playing days. But, their bond was strengthened during their run to Super Bowl LII. It is obvious to say that they are close.
Coaching together during a Super Bowl championship season must reveal the deepest parts of a coach’s footballing mind. And it looks like Pederson took notes. From the first offensive practice for Jacksonville, the Jaguars were always at least one step ahead.
Kenny Moore II was a target from the start
I don’t have access to the Jacksonville Jaguars facility, but it appears their starting game script featured an attack on Kenny Moore II, both in passing and running play. This was perhaps underlined after news broke that Moore II would be playing despite his hip injury. The Jaguars looked to test that injury in a critical early game.
The Jacksonville offense made the decision to stay on the field and try to convert on 4th down with the line of scrimmage at the Colts’ 47-yard line. The Jags offense only needed three yards for another set of downs. With just over eight minutes left in the first quarter, this decision seemed rather dicey. Pederson had a plan and he was good.
Trevor Lawrence lined up shotgun with an empty backfield, with no pre-snap movement, it has to be a pass. Moore II lined up against Zay Jones, was the game the Jags would enjoy. Instead of a “normal” release in his route, Jones shuffled his feet without moving from his original position.
He followed that up with a flurry to his right, Moore II would never recover from that move. Jones continued with an incredibly shallow route. He ran through the line of scrimmage, which was dropped by the offensive lineman. Jones then ignored defensive end Kwity Paye, who was overcovered, en route to securing the pass and the first down.
Pederson displays his game plan’s counterattack
Following this conversion, Pederson’s script presented Lawrence at his best by keeping the quarterback’s reads simple. However, at this point in the contest, the Colts’ run defense was strong. They were blocking the Jags attack and getting tackles for the loss. But then Pederson pulled off a little trickery to give his attack another spark.
On the 2nd and 12th after an aforementioned tackle for loss, the Jags executed a tight screen pass featuring Dan Arnold. After slowing down the pass rusher, Arnold released him and turned his attention to his QB. Arnold quickly picked up the pass and found himself on the field. Moore II was the closet defender, having been drawn by a receiver. Moore II was able to make the play, but not before Arnold put the Jaguars in an advantageous position, downs and distance.
With less than three minutes left in the first quarter, it’s the third down and the Jaguars have the ball on the Colts ten-yard line. The line to win is at the six-yard line. The first quarter didn’t go as planned for the Colts, but if they can stop here, the Jags could settle for a field goal. That if ever came.
On the very next game, the 15th offensive game, the Jaguars grabbed Moore II again. Christian Kirk ran out of the backfield into a post road, and Moore II couldn’t follow. Kirk dove through two tackles in the end zone for the first score of the game.
7-0 Jaguars, the Colts were shut out in this contest. So, wasn’t the game technically over after that? When I play the blame game, I start with preparing the whole organization.