JAX-IND Grades: Matt Hasselbeck neutralizes Jags' pass rush
The top takeaways from Sunday’s Jacksonville-Indianapolis game, including the highest-graded players from each team.
– Despite coming out on the losing end, this might have been the best performance of QB Blake Bortles’ short career. He came out on-fire with accurate downfield passes including on a deep crossing route and a “go” route before moving out of the pocket to deliver a strike for the first touchdown of the game. Bortles has always flashed this ability, but it’s his inconsistency which has been an issue, and this was one of the few games where his accuracy and decision making was solid from start to finish. It’s an encouraging sign for Jaguars fans if Bortles can continue to spread the field and throw the ball as accurately as he did in this one.
– Another positive for the Jaguars was the play of strong safety John Cyprien, who put together one of the better all-around games of his career. Drafted to play the “Kam Chancellor” role, Cyprien showed flashes of being just that, closing quickly in both the run game and against the pass. He surrendered five receptions for only 18 yards and often made the quick tackle in the flat while finishing with team-highs in both tackles (12) and stops (6) for a career-best game grade (+2.6).
– The starting defensive line of Chris Clemons (-2.1), Roy Miller (-1.7), Tyson Alualu (-3.8), and Jared Odrick (-4.4) graded negatively across the board (-12.0) and only created three pressures on a collective 144 pass rushes. The back-ups including Ryan Davis (+2.8) picked up the slack as the Jaguars defense was able to scheme-up enough pressures to keep the Colts offense honest.
OLB Dan Skuta (+4.2)
QB Blake Bortles (+4.0)
DE Ryan Davis (+2.8)
SS John Cyprien (+2.6)
WR Allen Hurns (+2.1)
– Did the offensive line really improve overnight (-16.9 pass block grade over the first three games compared to +5.7 on Sunday) or was it scheme and style that helped them look better? Probably the latter, starting with QB Matt Hasselbeck and his playing style compared to that of Andrew Luck. Hasselbeck is a steadfast decision-maker who gets rid of the ball much quicker than Luck (2.37 seconds in pocket was ninth-fastest in the NFL this week) as 72 percent of his passes were delivered in 2.5 seconds or less. Compare that to 2.6 seconds in the pocket for Luck and only 55 percent of his passes coming out in 2.5 seconds or less, and there’s a good indicator as to why Hasselbeck was pressured on only 10 of his 54 drop-backs.
– Both starting defensive ends Kendall Langford (+3.0) and Henry Anderson (+3.3) had strong outings. Langford picked up a sack, hit, and batted-pass on his 33 rushes while Anderson tacked-on five hurries and a batted pass on his 43 rushes and was also particularly impressive against the run (+2.3).
– Cornerback Darius Butler was a frequent target of the Jaguars passing game, surrendering 10 catches on 12 targets for 134 yards and a touchdown in his first game back from injury since opening day. The seven-year veteran is off to the worst start of his career (-5.8). He was burned deep by WR Allen Robinson for a 48-yard gain early in the game and he lost track of WR Allen Hurns in the scramble-drill for a touchdown.
OG Jack Mewhort (+3.2)
OG Hugh Thornton (+3.2)
DE Kendall Langford (+3.0)
OT Anthony Castonzo (+2.9)
DE Henry Anderson (+3.3)