What We Saw: Week 18

Week 18 was one of the craziest of the season thanks to Jacksonville's stout defense

Colts @ Jaguars

Final Score: Jaguars 26, Colts 11

Writer: Benjamin Haller (@benjaminhaller1 on Twitter)


In the surprise result of Week 18, Trevor Lawrence produced his best performance as a professional to propel the Jacksonville Jaguars to an unlikely 26-11 win against the playoff-chasing Indianapolis Colts. Lawrence showed poise in the pocket, good decision-making late in the game, and the restraint to play turnover-free football to ensure his team secured the win and end their tumultuous season on a high.

On the other side of the ball, the Colts will be kicking themselves for letting this one get out of hand after a litany of errors resulted in five turnovers, including turning the ball over on downs three times, once at the Jacksonville goal line early in the fourth quarter. Poor quarterback play from Carson Wentz once again factored into the result, the former Eagles quarterback failing to move the ball effectively through the air once again. As a result, they are eliminated from the post-season picture. A disastrous result for Frank Reich and his franchise.


Indianapolis Colts




Carson Wentz: 17/29, 185 yards, TD, INT, 6 sacks, Fumble (Lost) | 3 carries, 17 yards


The age-old question regarding Carson Wentz is not whether he is an NFL-calibre quarterback? He is. But more is he a NFL playoff-calibre quarterback. We just found out the answer – no! With the Colts holding their destiny in their own hands, Wentz imploded in spectacular fashion. He held on to the ball for far too long, couldn’t make simple throws to the outside and looked shell shocked after each of his six sacks. It was a debilitating performance for his team. His costly fumble on the first drive of the second half put the writing on the wall for the Colts.


Luckily, the Jaguars couldn’t take advantage and only came away with a field goal. However, Wentz helped them with more decent field position just a few minutes later. This under-thrown ball in the direction of tight end Mo Alie-Cox on first down was inexcusable.


Wentz failed to rally the troops late in the fourth quarter but did manage a touchdown pass to Michael Pittman Jr. with under five minutes remaining. Wentz’s downfall came thanks to his measly 4 yards per play and terrible inefficiency on third and fourth down, completing just 35% of 17 attempts.


Running Back


Jonathan Taylor: 15 carries, 77 yards | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 18 yards

Nyheim Hines: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 19 yards


Take away the running of Jonathan Taylor and any team has a chance against the Colts. It was only the third time in the last 12 games that the superstar back ran for under 100 yards on the ground. Despite racking up a league-leading 2,171 scrimmage yards and 20 touchdowns over the course of the season, Taylor ends his campaign with a dud in one of the most important games in his career. He often found himself swallowed up at the line of scrimmage and only found open ground on a couple of occasions.


The key moment in the game came early in the fourth quarter as the Jaguars defense stuffed Taylor at their goal line on fourth down to stymie any hope of a Colts comeback. It was a disappointing day all around for this Colts offense.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Michael Pittman Jr.: 7 targets, 6 receptions, 64 yards, TD

T.Y. Hilton: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 39 yards

Mo Alie-Cox: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 27 yards

Jack Doyle: 2 targets, 1 reception, 11 yards

Zach Pascal: 2 targets, 1 reception, 7 yards

Paris Campbell: 3 targets


As it has been for the entirety of the campaign, the only spark in the passing game has been provided by second-year wideout Michael Pittman Jr., who once against rose to the top of a torrid Colts passing game to provide class and respectability. His touchdown late in the fourth quarter was only his seventh target of the contest, a figure that should have been doubled in all honesty. The Colts need to embrace the former USC wideout as a true WR1. He finishes the season with 88 catches for 1,082 yards and 6 touchdowns on a team-high 129 targets.


A nod to veteran receiver T.Y. Hilton, who could have played his last game in a Colts uniform today. The legendary receiver was not used to his full potential this season as the game plan veered heavily towards the run, however he gave us moments of nostalgia to remember today.


Paris Campbell also made his return for IR today but was held without a catch in three targets. He projects to hold a bigger role in 2022 if he remains healthy. That is a big if, though.


Jacksonville Jaguars




Trevor Lawrence: 23/32, 223 yards, 2 TD, Sack | 10 carries, 17 yards


Is this the real Trevor Lawrence? Hidden under the drama, incompetence and fiascos of the 2021 Jacksonville Jaguars season, the number one overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft finally showed some of his true colors in this upset victory over the Colts. Lawrence was composed if not cautious, accurate if not safe, and more importantly he made the right decisions where previously he had made wrong ones. This simple throw to the outside of his receiver Laquon Treadwell (remember him, Vikings fans!) was something he would not have done only half a season ago. He is slowly learning to make the easy throws hit. It’s a start.


Then, there is everything exciting about him that made him the number one overall choice earlier in the year. This play sums it all up – dealing with the high snap, the composure under pressure, the ability to extend the play, and the execution for the score. Miraculous potential realised in one play.


Late in the game when Lawrence needed to use his head to eek out the victory, he did so by using his legs to move the chains on fourth down and kneel out the game. Small steps that could provide the base for a breakout 2022 with some more weapons and better coaching. The Jaguars hold the number one overall pick once again and any coach apart from Urban Meyer will be a significant improvement.


Running Back


Ryquell Armstead: 9 carries, 52 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 10 yards

Dare Ogunbowale: 11 carries, 30 yards | 6 targets, 3 receptions, 25 yards

Mekhi Sargent: 1 carry, 2 yards | 1 target


With the Jaguars without James Robinson, the coaching staff chose to give some old young prospects a chance, namely forgotten 2019 fifth round pick Ryquell Armstead. The former Temple back was said to be “on his death bed” after a nasty bout of COVID last year but he returned to action today and made a couple of impact plays in the second half to allow the Jaguars to eat up the clock. He challenge for a roster spot under new management in 2022.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Marvin Jones Jr.: 8 targets, 7 receptions, 88 yards, TD

Laviska Shenault Jr.: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 62 yards

Laquon Treadwell: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 21 yards, TD

Jacob Hollister: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 14 yards


The only veteran in this receiving room with any real experience showed out today for his team, and also auditioned his services to potential suitors in the off-season. Marvin Jones Jr. showed good chemistry with Lawrence and went up to haul in a fantastic touchdown pass to seal the game late in the third quarter – the emotion Jones showed tells you how much of a professional he is and what it meant to him after a torrid season in a horrible situation.


It was also nice to see Laviska Shenault Jr. readily used in this game plan once again. A forgotten piece under Meyer’s reign, the former Colorado utility player has slowly worked his way into relevancy once again and will look for a fresh outlook in 2022 under a new, more competent coaching staff. He did have another bad drop in the red zone, however. Something he needs to clean up if he is going to be relied upon by his quarterback.


Due to the massive overhaul this offense needs, it may be that Laquon Treadwell has earned himself another year in Jacksonville. The former Vikings first-round pick has been a non-starter in all formats since coming into the league but is finding a rebirth opportunity with the Jaguars and Lawrence. Treadwell has 31 catches on 44 targets for 355 yards and a touchdown in his past seven games. A sneaky stash for 2022.


Benjamin Haller (@benjaminhaller1 on Twitter)

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