Duuuval! Damn. It feels good to be 1-0, particularly against a division opponent who was heavily favored entering the game. Today’s 27-20 victory was the 6th straight home victory over the Indianapolis Colts, and despite Philip Rivers putting up gaudy numbers, the turnover woes from last season continued. I’ll have an in depth breakdown of the game in the next few days, but for now, what did we learn? Here are my rapid reactions and primary takeaways from the season opening victory.
This team can handle adversity. It took the Colts offense less than four minutes to score the first touchdown of the day, gashing the Jaguars defense repeatedly for big plays. The game had a “same old Jags” feel to it, particularly with Philip Rivers at the helm. Credit this group of players for coming together and playing better football for the majority of the game. When Josh Allen went down with injury, it was next man up in K’Lavon Chaisson. When Jarrod Wilson went down, Andrew Wingard came in and essentially sealed the victory with the second interception of the day. This is a nice change from a team that has usually folded in the face of adversity.
Gardner Minshew wants to be the guy, and today he looked like it. 19-20 for 173 yards and 3 touchdowns, while not overly explosive, is damn efficient. Minshew’s ability to pick up a new scheme and lead a team is remarkable, and he showed a level of comfort and maturity far beyond what is expected of a second year late round draft pick. Don’t think for a second he doesn’t hear the talk around this team and Trevor Lawrence. And don’t think for a second he isn’t going to be doing everything in his power to ensure this is his team again in 2021.
CJ Henderson looks like the real deal, and this group of rookies is exciting. I was very critical of CJ Henderson coming out of the University of Florida. I thought he avoided contact and struggled with physicality to a detriment. Today he made me eat my words. Hell of a debut, rookie. James Robinson ran well and with good vision, Laviska Shenault had his moments and Collin Johnson recorded his first catch for a first down across the middle of the field. This team has an incredible number of rookies, and to get meaningful production in the opener has to be encouraging for this staff.
There are certainly issues to address going forward, more on those to come in the next day or two, but as the old saying goes, “winning cures all.” It was a well deserved win for these players and particularly for the fans. Enjoy it Duval faithful, I know I am. Stay tuned for a thorough review of the game, but these are my three rapid reactions from a game that many outside observers chalked up as a sure loss. Remember, perception does not always mean reality. Thank you so much for your continued support of NZI, as we work to bring you coverage of all 32 NFL teams every week, all week, all season long. As always, reach out to me in the comments or on Twitter (@HindenburgScout) with comments, questions or criticism. One more time…. DUUUVAL!