The Jacksonville Jaguars are 5-8 this season. On the surface, that record may not seem all that impressive. But considering that the Jaguars went 9-39 over the last three seasons, it is.
Jacksonville dismantled the Indianapolis Colts this past Sunday, hanging 51 points on a franchise that has won the AFC South nine of the last 12 years. The Jags have scored 90 points in the last two weeks and now rank ninth in the league in scoring offense (25.1 points per game).
What’s been the difference this year?
“For us, I think the whole year offensively, we had the confidence in one another to be the offense that’s we’re becoming,” Jaguars receiver Allen Robinson said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I don’t ever think that we doubted ourselves. Going through OTAs and camp, we had some success with different things. So I know we had some ups and downs this year on third down and in the red zone and things like that, but for the most part, I think we moved the ball well. For us, it’s just been kind of honing in on different things that we might not have done the week prior.”
Jacksonville started the season 2-6, this after losing a very winnable road game against the Jets, 28-23, on Nov. 8. Things could have unraveled for the Jaguars after that. Instead, they’ve won three of their last five games.
“We knew that we could have come away from that (Jets) game victorious,” Robinson said. “I think early in the season, you look at Tampa, you look at Indianapolis – it was a few games that really could have (gone differently). But at that point, we really couldn’t focus on that because that was behind us. But for us going forward, the games that we were in, let’s really hone in on these and capitalize on our opportunities that are being presented to us.”
For Robinson, that meant becoming one of the best receivers in football this year. He leads the Jags in receptions (66), yards (1,084) and touchdowns (12), and teammate Allen Hurns (66/863/8) isn’t far behind. Even better? Robinson is 22, Hurns is 24, and quarterback Blake Bortles is 23.
“I think it’s pretty special having such a young group offensively,” Robinson said. “I think last year helped us a ton. Just to be able to gain that in-game confidence, I think that helped us – and will continue to help us – throughout this journey.”
Bortles, to his credit, has been a completely different quarterback this year. After throwing 11 touchdowns and 17 interceptions as a rookie, he has 30 touchdowns and 13 picks through 13 games.
“I’m not a quarterbacks coach, so I can’t critique his technique and things like that,” Robinson said. “But just the confidence – he comes into the huddle each and every drive, no matter what happened prior, with the confidence that this upcoming drive is a scoring drive.”
That’s been happening for Jacksonville a lot lately – much to the satisfaction of fantasy players across the country.
“We appreciate all support,” Robinson said, chuckling. “So if it’s because of fantasy, (that’s fine).”
The Jaguars play their last home game of the season this Sunday, when they host the free-falling Falcons (6-7) at 1 p.m. ET. Atlanta has lost seven of eight since its 5-0 start.