The Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t make it 14 in a row.
Losers of 13 straight road tilts, they rode an opportunistic defense, keyed by Davon House (who finally looked like he was worth his free agent contract, with two picks on Flacco) and the big leg of Jason Myers (who might have made locals forget Josh Scobee) to a victory … and relevance in the division.
In the second half, a funny thing happened. The Jaguars’ defense took over, securing four turnovers against the Ravens. And all of them were more than necessary, in a game that was one of lead changes throughout, including the fourth quarter.
They got the ball back with just over a minute and 80 yards to go. And no timeouts.
The Ravens were giving away the middle of the field, and Bortles traded yardage for time, eventually getting, after a facemask on the last play of the game, to a final field goal attempt by unpredictable Myers, who’s not exactly been money this year.
And from 53 yards.
The 3-6 Jaguars, full of renewed hope, have a chance to win their second game in five days, against Tennessee, at home, on a rainy Thursday.
In the AFC South this year, 4-6 means you are very much in it.
For Jason Myers, it’s redemption. For Gus Bradley, it’s a needed boost. And for long-suffering Jags fans, it’s one step closer to relevance.
They went into a tough stadium and beat a team they should have beaten.
And they have the chance to do it again Thursday in front of a national audience.
It’s easy – for those who feel compelled to do so – to denigrate the Baltimore win. To say the Ravens are one of the worst teams in the league.
To say that it would have been different, perhaps, if Steve Smith had made it to this game.
That may also be the case.
But for this team, which has been shat on for so long that you assume they Scotchgarded their jerseys at some point during the bye week, this is straight-up redemption.
After the win, a renewed sense of the energy was conveyed by Sergio Brown in the locker room, who brought out the Ric Flair strut and the “kiss stealing … wheeling dealing … limousine ridin’ … jet flyin’ son of a gun” speech, and punctuated it with “two hand claps and a Ric Flair.”
We all know what that’s about. SWAG.
Brown used that in his previous stop with the perennial AFC South champeens the Indianapolis Colts.
And unlike Indy, this is a Ric Flair town. We were raised on the Nature Boy.
How many times did we see the man come into the Veterans Memorial Coliseum and go to war against Dusty Rhodes or Magnum TA or Nikita Koloff?
How many times did we see him, like the Jaguars on Sunday, pull out a victory at the very last minute?
And how appropriate is it that we get the Ric Flair just days before the All Gold Errrthing Thursday night tilt against the Tennessee Titans?
To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man.
And to be half a game out of first?
You’ve got to beat Mike Mularkey.
Believe me when I say: This team is focused in on doing just that.