At the beginning of the game, it looked like the Jaguars offense found another gear to run in. A quick pass, a sort drop and a catch by tight end Danny Noble gave the Jaguars a quick 7-0 lead. AS one of my friends said to me, “I was getting a beer and did not see it. I figured it would take a while for them to score something at home.”
Actually, Noble became the first Jaguars player to score a touchdown at home and give the home town fans hope of a second win in a row this week. And when the team went to the locker room at half time with a 14-14 tie with the Arizona Cardinals, there was a slight sense of belief that maybe this team could play one of the up and coming teams in the NC tight enough to win a second game in a row.
Then the reality set it. The Jaguars were a one-half team. The 27-14 loss at home, coupled with the win by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, meant after one week of hope, the Jaguars were again the worst team in the NFL.
Here are five things we learned from Sunday’s game…
The Front Four Finally Shows Up
The Jaguars defensive front finally made an appearance in 2013. You have to wonder with the showing by Bob Babich’s unit, where they have been all season long. Jason Babin and Jeremy Mincey applied pressure during the game. Roy Miller and Sen’Derrick Marks moved the offensive line back ward and the running game FOR Arizona was non-existent. Rashard Mendenhall and Andre Ellington were stopped in their tracks all game. And it seemed the scheme Babich put into effect was perfectly designed for the Cardinals’ running attack.
Sanders the focus of the passing game
I thought this would be a big game for Cecil Shorts, but it was Ace Sanders who was the main focus of the Jaguars passing game. The rookie from South Carolina had eight catches on the day while the secondary played Shorts tight all game.
Short passes on side outs moved the chains and while he gained 61 yards on the day.
The use of the tight ends to start the game was a new wrinkle in the Jaguars passing offense. The 61-yard pass to Danny Noble on the opening drive set a tone I thought Jedd Fisch would continue to use most of the game, but the tight end from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers never caught another pass on the day.
Henne was magic in the first half
He had one incompletion, moved the chains and put the ball where it needed to be. The offense was moving. But there is something about Chad Henne that breaks down at one point in the game or another. He cannot put together four solid quarters in a row.
What I did like was how he did get rid of the ball when he needed to and while the offensive line held up and he was not constantly on the ground all game, he also did not have as many balls batted down as he had in Tennessee.
If Henne could ever put together four solid quarters and finally find that consistency, he could be a very solid passer in this league.
Floyd proves he was the right choice
I made a comment in a column that the Jaguars should have chosen Michael Floyd over Justin Blackmon in the 2012 NFL Draft. I now fully stand by those comments.
Floyd is a no-nonsense player who goes out there and does his job. He catches passes, moves the chains and gets the first down. And on his 91-yard catch and run, it was evident he knew how to shred a defense.
And remember, Jaguars’ fans. He is catching passes while Blackmon is out of football – again!
On the flip side
Both Dwayne Gratz and Alan Ball did a great job of covering Larry Fitzgerald on Sunday. In my bold predictions, I stepped out of the box and predicted one catch for Fitzgerald all game – which we all knew was never going to happen.
Fitzgerald showed he still has skills, catching six passes for 61 yards and a score, but I thought the Jaguars secondary did a decent job of keeping him under wraps for most of the game.
Now, if they could have only done the same thing with Floyd, they may have been able to win two in a row.