By: James Johnson
The Jags got their first win Sunday on the road today at Lucas Oil Stadium in true “Cardiac Cat” form. The game came down to the wire ending with a score of 22-17. The Jaguars relied heavily on Maurice Jones-Drew, who had the second best game in his career in terms of yards, and ended the game with 28 carries for a whopping 177 yards. Most of those yards were from an 80 yard touchdown in which Jones-Drew sparked the team with the first possession of the third quarter. However, that wasn't the play of the game. The game winner came from another 80 yard play fom Cecil Shorts late in the fourth quarter as the Jags were down 16-17 with around 56 seconds left in the game. Sounds like week one right? Just as the game seemed to be over, Andrew Luck marched the Colts down the field with no timeouts remaining with a deep pass to T.Y. Hilton, putting the Colts on the Jags 26 yard line. That set the Colts up for a last ditch effort at a shot for the endzone which was a deflected pass to Reggie Wayne by Aaron Ross, ending the game.
Now I'll be the first to say that the Jags have plenty of room to improve which was obvious in this game. The play was sloppy on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.The defense came away from this game with no sacks, and constantly let Andrew Luck beat them with his arm and even his legs. It's clear the pass rush is missing and will need to improve if this team is going to get any better. Offensively the pass game struggled as well. Blaine Gabbert didn't have a great day, ending the game with 10 completions of 12 attempts. I could make a case that he was a victim of a few drops and he was without one of his starters in Laurent Robinson who left the game early with a head injury. There were also times where the pass proctection broke down.
On the flip side there wer a lot of positives. Although Gabbert struggled with accuracy, he made a play when it counted. The game winning pass to Cecil Shorts was as accurate as it gets. He threw the ball on the money between both Colts safeties Sergio Brown and Antoine Bethea , allowing Shorts to make a great play and an 80 yard sprint down the field. I don't care how much of a believer you are in him, there is no denying that play was as clutch as it gets. Both he and Shorts made a great play when their team needed them the most. The problem is that most would like to see that on a consistent basis and hopefully they will. One thing worth noting is that Gabbert has yet to throw an interception this season. Another positive was Maurice Jones-Drew, who, as I stated, had a stellar game and seems to be getting the concept of the playbook. On defense, Derek Cox and Rashean Mathis both looked good in their return to their starting roles. It looks like starting right tackle and left guard Cameron Bradfield and Eben Britton will be back into the line-up next week against the Bengals as well. That would then put the Jags in a position where all of their starting offensive lineman will be on the field together for the first time since week one. The overall pass protection and run game should definetly benefit from their return along with the possibility of having Rashad Jennings back too. He was a very solid contributor for the Jags in the preseason and would help add another dynamic to the field. Lastly, Austen Lane will is also likely make a return from a foot injury he suffered from this preseason. He couldn't return at a better time as the Jaguars pass rush has really struggle this season.
Yeah I know it wasn't pretty out there, but it was a win. A win which came on the road and counts as a division win at that. Anyone that knows football knows that division games aren't always pretty, just ask the Jets who almost lost to the Dolphins today, or the Steelers everytime they play the Ravens. So if you're a Jags fans my advice to you is be proud for the time and get ready for what could be a season full of more gut wretching games because I'm sure there will be more. Here's to a win next week against the Bengals.
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