Pederson hails 'leader' Engram as Jaguars jolt Jets on soggy New York night

By Sports Desk December 23, 2022

Evan Engram and the Jacksonville Jaguars were urged to enjoy their Christmas by coach Doug Pederson after beating the New York Jets 19-3 to clinch a third straight win.

Tight end Engram was the top offensive weapon for the Jaguars on a wet night, tallying 113 receiving yards from seven catches to continue his terrific form, having entered the contest with 19 catches for 224 yards and two touchdowns from his previous two outings.

With the win, the Jaguars are 7-8 with two games remaining, which is the exact same record as the Jets following their fourth consecutive loss.

Engram praised the team's coaches for making "great calls" in the difficult weather conditions as rain came down in a deluge.

After an early field goal from the home team, the Jaguars took charge, with Jets quarterback Zach Wilson having a night to forget, completing just nine of 18 passes and being booed before being replaced.

Coach Pederson said of the Jacksonville display: "It's a mark of a team that's beginning to play good football, meaningful football, at the end of the season. We've talked a lot about having meaningful games down the stretch. These guys are battling through a lot, they're battling through their own injuries. It's a sign of our team coming together at the right time."

He described the weather as "a challenge", adding: "It was going to be one of those days, it was going to be physical, it was going to be tough, we were going to have to run the football because throwing it was going to be hard. We were efficient in the passing game; we made some plays. I'm proud of the guys."

Looking at Engram's efforts, Pederson said: "He's gotten better with the offense, learning the details that we teach. He's very unselfish, he works extremely hard in practice, he wants to be good, he loves being coached, and it shows on the field, he's a really good team-mate to have and a leader of the team."

The Houston Texans are next for the Jaguars on New Year's Day, and Pederson urged his players to come back with purpose after their short break.

"The message is we haven't done anything, we haven't clinched anything, we haven't won anything," Pederson said. "We've still got two division games left. I do want them to enjoy the holidays, enjoy Christmas with their family and friends, and it's time to heal and get healthy for this final two-game stretch.

"But I also want them to come back in the right frame of mind and get ready for a team that beat us a couple of months ago."

Engram said he had assessed the conditions and "made a choice to play hard".

"The coaches made great calls and we managed the weather really well, took care of the football and I just made plays when my number was called," Engram said on the Jaguars' post-game show.

Looking at the skill involved in catching a wet football, Engram said: "It's just mechanics. I work on those every single day. Catching tennis balls to make sure my hand placement's right. Doing all sort of distraction drills to not let elements get in the way of making plays with the football.

"With the rain, you've got to shoot your hands together. Shoot your hands together and we'll be all right, and I had success."

Related items

  • 'It's time to get better' - Mahomes challenges Chiefs ahead of Super Bowl defence 'It's time to get better' - Mahomes challenges Chiefs ahead of Super Bowl defence

    Patrick Mahomes has challenged the Kansas City Chiefs to "get better" as they aim to win an unprecedented third straight Super Bowl.

    In February, the Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 to lift the Vince Lombardi trophy for a second consecutive year.

    However, it did not look like they would even reach the showpiece match at times due to their inconsistent offense.

    Mahomes threw 14 interceptions, the most in a single season in his career, while his receivers dropped 25 catchable passes, the most by any such group since the 2012 Jacksonville Jaguars.

    The Chiefs entered the postseason as the number three seed in the AFC, their lowest since Mahomes became the starter in 2018.

    Though they still got the glory in the end, the quarterback, who is entering his eighth year, is eyeing some big improvements to ensure they are in a better position to lift the trophy again this season.

    "It's time to get better," Mahomes said at the start of the Chiefs training camp. "Every season starts differently.

    "You've got to come in with that same mentality you had the year before, even with a higher intensity, and even though we won the Super Bowl last year, we felt like we didn't play our best football, especially offensively.

    "So, it's our goal to be better that way and coming in with that mentality every single day.

    "The end result [last season] was awesome, but I think a lot of us still have a weird feeling in our mouth.

    "It wasn't fun every single week having to try to just continue to get better and better and the results not paying off the way you wanted to.

    "It wasn't a lot of fun. We have a lot of those same guys back, and they know how that felt, and so we're going to try to prepare ourselves better this year so that we can play better throughout the season and obviously try to end with the same result."

    While the offense were not at their best last season, the defense defined their run to the Super Bowl.

    The Chiefs had the second-best defense in the league, allowing an average of just 17.3 points per game in the regular season, and Mahomes is confident they will play a part in improving the level of the squad.

    "We added a lot of speed," Mahomes added. "What's better than going against our defense?

    "It's the best defense in the NFL, and we get to go against them every single day and really show where we're at and how we can get better."

    The Chiefs will kick off the new season against the Baltimore Ravens on September 5.

  • NFL star wide receiver Aiyuk reportedly requests trade from 49ers NFL star wide receiver Aiyuk reportedly requests trade from 49ers

    Brandon Aiyuk had been seeking a contract extension with the San Francisco 49ers.

    Now he's seeking a trade.

    Unable to reach a new deal, Aiyuk has reportedly requested a trade from the 49ers.

    The news was first reported by NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo on Tuesday.


    Aiyuk and the 49ers reportedly haven't discussed a contract extension since May, prompting the star wide receiver to ask the team to trade him.

    Finding a trade partner could be difficult, however, seeing as he's presumably looking for a long-term deal that will pay him like one of the top receivers in the NFL.

    He's also still under contract in 2024, due to make $14.1million in the option year of his rookie deal.

    The 26-year-old is coming off a huge season, earning second-team All-Pro honours while ranking seventh in the league with a career-high 1,342 receiving yards. His average of 17.9 yards per catch ranked second in the NFL, while his 16 receptions of 25 or more yards trailed only Tyreek Hill of the Miami Dolphins.

    Since being drafted 25th overall in the 2020 draft, Aiyuk has 269 receptions for 3,931 yards with 25 touchdown catches in 62 games.

  • Bengals wide receiver Higgins to sign franchise tag Bengals wide receiver Higgins to sign franchise tag

    After months of speculation regarding where Tee Higgins would play in the 2024 NFL season, the star wide receiver will officially remain with the Cincinnati Bengals.

    Higgins will sign his franchise tag with the Bengals on Saturday, and is expected to be present when the team begins training camp next month.

    The signing was first reported by Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer, and later confirmed by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

    Higgins had the franchise tag placed on him by the Bengals on February 26, and then asked to be traded a few weeks later.

    In early April, however, he then said he intended to play for Cincinnati in 2024.


    By signing the tag, which will pay him $21.8million in salary for the upcoming season, Higgins and the Bengals have until July 15 to work out a multi-year deal.

    Higgins is coming off an injury-marred 2023 season, as he was limited to just 12 games due to ailments to his hamstring and ribs.

    He finished the year with 42 catches for 256 yards and five touchdowns after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2021 and 2022.

    The Bengals reached the AFC conference championship game in those two seasons before finishing last in the AFC South in 2023 with a 9-8 record.

    A second-round pick by Cincinnati in 2020, the 25-year-old Higgins has 257 career receptions for 3,684 yards and 24 touchdowns in 58 games in his first four pro seasons.

    The Bengals are scheduled to open training camp on July 26.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.