JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Well, that was certainly a bit of a surprise.
The Jaguars were eventually going to win a game. I just didn’t think it would be last Sunday against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.
The Jaguars’ defense played its best game of the season, forcing four turnovers and scoring what turned out to be the game-clinching touchdown on Will Blackmon’s fumble return.
That means there is -- for the first time this season – no shortage of players who could be included on this week’s Top 10 playmakers. In fact, there may be a deserving guy or two who gets left out -- again, a first this season.
Remember, this isn’t a list of MVP candidates, but a compilation of the players who are making the biggest difference each week.
Here we go, with the first-half rankings in parenthesis:
1. Will Blackmon (NR): He made the biggest play of the season when he blitzed, stripped the ball away from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, and scored on a 21-yard return to give the Jaguars a nine-point lead with 2:32 to play.
2. LB Paul Posluszny (1): Posluszny set the tone for the defense on the game’s first offensive snap when he knocked the ball loose from Chris Johnson and recovered the fumble at the Tennessee 19-yard line. Three plays later the Jaguars took a 7-0 lead and never trailed. Before leaving the game late in the fourth quarter with a concussion, he had made eight tackles.
3. LB Geno Hayes (NR): He played perhaps his best game since joining the team in the offseason. He had a team-high 11 tackles, broke up one pass and forced a fumble. He has been inconsistent this season, but this is the way he is capable of playing every week.
4. LB LaRoy Reynolds (NR): He didn’t play a single snap on defense, but he made one of the biggest plays of the game when he corralled Bryan Anger’s punt and downed it at the 1-yard line. That led to a safety that provided the winning margin.
5. RB/KR Jordan Todman (NR): After a shaky performance against San Francisco, Todman responded with the best day of his career. He was in danger of losing his job as the kickoff returner, but that’s not going to happen now after he averaged 33 yards on three kickoffs. He also carried the ball three times for 11 yards and a touchdown and caught one pass for 2 yards.
6. CB Dwayne Gratz (NR): The rookie third-round draft pick, who returned to the starting lineup for the first time since the season opener, intercepted the first pass of his career. That turnover set up a field goal.
7. DT Sen’Derrick Marks (9): He nearly got by Tennessee guard Chance Warmack, who tried to recover by latching onto Marks’ jersey. Warmack followed with a WWE takedown that earned him a holding penalty, which gave the Jaguars a safety since it happened in the end zone.
8. TE Marcedes Lewis (NR): There weren’t many highlights on offense, but one was Lewis going all Rob Gronkowski by running over several Titans on a 27-yard catch in the first quarter. He caught only three passes for 39 yards against Tennessee but should be featured more in the passing game.
9. K Josh Scobee (6): Two more field goals for Scobee, who is still perfect this season (12-for-12). He made kicks of 32 and 44 yards.
10. S Johnathan Cyprien (8): He played better in the secondary than he has in the last three or four games (he didn’t miss any tackles and didn’t get caught out of position on a big play), but he turned in his biggest play when he recovered the onside kick with 38 seconds to play to seal the victory.