JAX-IND grades: Luck salvages game with impressive second half
Indianapolis Colts 24, Jacksonville Jaguars 20
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Indianapolis Colts’ 24-20 Week 17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars:
Quarterback grade: Blake Bortles, 48.2
Bortles displaying improved mechanics and consistency
There’s no denying the obvious: Jaguars QB Blake Bortles’ play has better resembled that of a rookie this season than a three-year starter. However, since the team replaced Gus Bradley with Doug Marrone as interim head coach, Bortles has stepped up his game to record two of his four highest passer ratings (103.5 and 96.2) in back-to-back games. Considering his 48.2 grade is a significant drop-off from the 72.9 he posted in Week 16 against Tennessee, he has plenty of work to do next season to fortify himself as the team’s future at the position.
Top offensive grades:
WR Bryan Walters, 78.8
HB Corey Grant, 74.7
WR Marqise Lee, 70.0
RG A.J. Cann, 69.7
TE Ben Koyack, 68.5
Solid performances from unheralded backups
With RB T.J. Yeldon placed on injured reserve, as well as both RB Chris Ivory and WR Allen Hurns missing another game, the Jaguars were forced to rely on their lower-salaried players (WR Marqise Lee, HB Corey Grant, and WR Bryan Walters) to fill the void. Walters nearly received half as many targets (nine) as he’s been granted all season, catching all eight that were deemed catchable, and posting his team’s highest offensive grade. Grant did an outstanding job replacing Yeldon and Ivory, producing Jacksonville’s highest rushing total of the season (129 yards) while recording Week 17’s highest elusive rating (112.2), and third-highest breakaway percentage (44.2). It was much less of a surprise to see Lee continue to produce after raising his receiving totals to 63 receptions and 851 yards on the season. His second-round selection in the 2014 draft is rounding out nicely for the future of the Jaguars.
Top defensive grades:
LB Telvin Smith, 88.6
LB Paul Posluszny, 86.2
DI Malik Jackson, 85.3
DI Abry Jones, 84.6
CB Josh Johnson, 80.1
Uneven performances for the Jag’s defense
A quick glance at the top-five graded defenders might give the impression that the Jacksonville defense may have dominated the game. Of course, a defense relies on each of the players at its 11 positions, and, even with eight players grading above 70.0, the report cards for a few didn’t match that of their teammates. While rookie first-round CB Jalen Ramsey (53.0 overall grade) out of Florida State had recorded eight pass breakups and two interceptions to only 12 catches allowed over the past four weeks, he drew the unenviable task of shadowing Colts WR T.Y. Hilton for much of Week 17. To be fair, even the defeat shouldn’t deter the deserved recognition for LB Telvin Smith (10 solo tackles and four defensive stops), LB Paul Posluszny (80.8 run-defense and 84.2 coverage grades), or DI Malik Jackson (two sacks, one hit, four pressures, and two defensive stops).
Quarterback grade: Andrew Luck, 75.8
Tale of two halves for Luck
A candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, Colts QB Andrew Luck ended the first half with similar results to his injury-riddled 2015 season, completing 7-of-17 attempts for 88 yards, zero touchdowns, one interception, and a—spike-worthy—33.5 passer rating. He turned it around in the second half, though, completing 17-of-19 attempts for 233 yards and a pair of touchdowns that included a game-winning 1-yard toss to TE Jack Doyle with 9 seconds remaining.
Top offensive grades:
LT Anthony Castonzo, 87.0
TE Dwayne Allen, 82.7
WR T.Y. Hilton, 77.8
RT Le’Raven Clark, 77.2
WR Chester Rogers, 72.8
Solid game for TE Dwayne Allen
Usual suspects LT Anthony Castonzo (87.0) and WR T.Y. Hilton (77.8) submitted noteworthy performances, but TE Dwayne Allen (82.7) saved his best for last. In addition to catching all three of his targets for 34 yards and a touchdown, Allen posted the game’s highest run-blocking grade with an impressive 90.2. As for Castonzo, he recorded an 87.1 pass-blocking grade that played a vital role in the victory, and Hilton accumulated 95 receiving yards by securing all six catchable targets—with 68 percent collected within the coverage of CB Jalen Ramsey.
Top defensive grades:
CB Vontae Davis, 89.3
ED Robert Mathis, 79.0
DI T.Y. McGill, 78.8
DI Henry Anderson, 77.4
FS Matthias Farley, 76.0
Vontae Davis earns top mark among game’s defenders
Edge defender Robert Mathis made it known prior to the game that this would be his final season and game in the NFL. While Mathis was able to get his hands on QB Blake Bortles to record a strip-sack to end the Jaguars’ first drive of the fourth quarter, his thunder was stolen by CB Vontae Davis. Davis shadowed the Jaguars No. 1 wide receiver, Allen Robinson, throughout the game, and limited him to catching only two-of-nine targets, with only 2 yards allowed after the catch, and defensing three passes. Davis concluded the game with the Colts’ top coverage grade (88.0) and the top run-defense grade (89.2) for either team.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Colts CB Vontae Davis
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