Jaguars' run defense a key in win streak

Since the Kansas City Chiefs ran over them for 236 rushing yards on Oct. 24, the Jacksonville Jaguars have played far better run defense. It’s coincided with a three-game win streak.

In wins at Dallas, over Houston and over Cleveland the Jaguars have allowed a total of 219 rushing yards and an average of 3.17 yards a carry.

In Sunday’s win over the Browns, quarterback Colt McCoy got 39 yards on four carries. But the Jags put the clamps on running back Peyton Hillis, who didn’t take a single carry more than six yards.

It’s started with defensive tackles Terrance Knighton and rookie Tyson Alualu.

“If you remember back when we were talking about explosive runs and how they happen, it’s typically you lost leverage or missed a tackle, and we didn’t have any of that that allowed [Hillis] to get out,” Jack Del Rio told Jacksonville media. “He’s a good player, he’s been very productive in this league. In the first part of the season he’s run on some good defenses and gotten away a little bit and that was a challenge for our front.”

“I think we did the things you need to do to play the run defense better: shed blocks, tackle, leverage, force it and do it with attitude, and I thought we were doing pretty good. I think we’ve been doing pretty good the last few weeks and I still see room for improvement. There are some things we’ve got to do better, we talked about that [Monday]. There are some three- and four-yard runs that I don’t find acceptable. We’ve got to do better so we’ll do what we can to continue to shore it up and be stingy and grow. I think we’re growing a little bit there on that side with guys understanding where they belong and getting there more consistently.”

The Jaguars' next three games will present stiff run-game challenges.

It starts with the Giants and the league’s fifth-ranked rushing offense. Then they’ll see Chris Johnson and Darren McFadden. If they keep bottling things up, they may just stay in the AFC South title conversation a lot longer than we expect.