JACKSONVILLE – This was about doing the basics.
That’s the first thing Jaguars defenders told you about shutting down the NFL’s leading rusher – that it was about simple things, fundamental things. But they’re also difficult things.
Either way, the Jaguars’ run defense was a strikingly effective thing Sunday.
“It was what we worked on all [week in] practice,” outside linebacker Josh Allen said.
Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, the NFL’s leading rusher last season, rushed for 54 yards on nine carries at TIAA Bank Field in the Jaguars’ 24-0 victory Sunday. Stymying Taylor keyed one of the Jaguars’ most dominant defensive performances in recent memory and helped the Jaguars register their first shutout since a 6-0 home victory over the Colts on December 2, 2018.
Taylor’s longest run: a 21-yarder late in the third quarter with the Jaguar leading 24-0. He rushed for 33 yards on eight other carries.
“They did a great job,” Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson said of the Jaguars’ defense. “It’s nothing that you see on tape. It’s just about us. It’s about being physical and just understanding to stay disciplined in your run fits and your eye discipline on things.
“Our guys did a great job, just rallying to the ball, getting him on the ground. It was a focus for us this week in practice and [it’s] just a credit to how hard our guys worked to understand and then eliminate the run.”
Allen detailed the keys to the performance, echoing Pederson: “Stay in gap, do what you need to do for your responsibilities, handle your small details, do what you need to do and we’re going to win this game. We made plays and got off the field when we needed to.”
Added Allen: “That’s everybody doing their job. It’s everybody having a responsibility in the defense and doing their responsibility. We knew what they were going to do. They had a couple of guys out (wide receivers Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce). We knew they were going to give it to their best player.
“We knew that, and they should. But it was going to be a hat on a hat. And it was going to be a battle up front. We won that battle.”