Colts Gameday Newsletter 7 Dec 3rd Indianapolis_digital - Page 61

OOTBALL BEGINS AS CALENDAR TURNS TO DECEMBER, JAGUARS START KEY THREE-GAME HOMESTAND AGAINST COLTS JACKSONVILLE – No one said this would be easy for the Jacksonville Jaguars. yards from quarterback Blaine Gabbert – that’s the negative. December in the National Football League is never easy, but the Jaguars still control their own destiny for a postseason berth and for the AFC South title. There were still plenty of positives, including two fourth quarter takeaways. Calais Campbell scored on a fumble return off a Yannick Ngakoue strip-sack to give the Jaguars a 17-16 lead early in the fi nal stanza. Later, a Barry Church interception set up the Jaguars offense near midfi eld in a 24-24 game. After a fi nal-second fi eld goal from Arizona Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson sailed through the uprights at University of Phoenix stadium to defeat the Jaguars 27-24, and the Titans rallied for a 20-16 win over the Colts, Tennessee is back atop the division with both teams tied at 7-4. The Titans and Jaguars seem to be on a collision course for a Week 17 matchup in Nashville that could carry plenty of postseason weight. In order for that game to carry the weight, championship football must begin now for this Jaguars team. With three consecutive home games beginning today against the Indianapolis Colts (3-8), the Jaguars must start making strides toward their fi rst postseason berth since 2007. They must handle business in December – and likely for multiple weeks in a row – to seal anything. In the NFL, you are not in the playoffs until you are in the playoffs. THE DEFENSE Last week, the Jaguars’ No. 1-ranked defense allowed a total of 344 yards to the Cardinals, including touchdown passes of 29 and 52 Even without defensive captain linebacker Telvin Smith on the fi eld in the second half after reporting concussion-like symptoms at halftime, the defense found enough plays to keep the Jaguars in the game. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey held Cardinals veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to three catches for 12 yards on eight targets. The Jaguars defense leads the NFL with 25 takeaways, and six of those have been turned into defensive scores by fi ve different players. Ngakoue leads the league with six forced fumbles in 2017. Ngakoue’s 10th sack of the season last week in Arizona increased the Jaguars’ league- best season total to 41. Only the 1999 Jaguars had more sacks through 11 games in franchise history (44). That 1999 team posted 57 sacks, the franchise single-season record which is within reach for the 2017 team. On an individual basis, Campbell’s 11.5 sacks places him in a tie for third-best in the NFL