It was a good day at the stadium, Oh yea, we lost. Sorry. You know what? I am not that disappointed. This team played very hard right to the end. We didn't have all of our muscle in today and even if we did, Miami has a lot of muscle. Miami looks to be rounding out as a playoff caliber team. We are not quite there yet, but we aren't as far off as we were a few weeks ago. We could have won, we almost won. In fact, the defense took it to them hard. If we had one more play on offense our playoff hopes would be strongly alive. That's OK, the Jaguars are OK, so let's take a look at it. By the way, if you stare hard enough at this picture you can see Jonathan and Collin, but you have to look for a long time to see them.
The game didn't start out very well. Jaxson DeVille got hung up on his high-wire act and hung upside down for almost 10 minutes as they tried to figure out how to get him down. As Curtis Dvorak hung 100 feet up over a stadium in a mascot outfit, I wonder if this thought passed his mind "How did my life come to this?".
In the first quarter, the Jaguars were just as hung up. I think Miami had the ball for 12 minutes and the Jaguars got to run all of 6 plays. It was clear Miami was the better team coming out of the gate. One thing about Miami since Bill took over, they are physical. I think the beating Houston gave David took a toll as David did not look sharp. The Dolphins smelled blood.
By the middle of the second quarter the dominance was complete. Miami drove down again and scored on a Chad Henne roll-out. Chad would begin a streak of 17 straight completions that the Jaguars struggled to stop. Everything was open for Miami, runs up the middle, reverses and receivers. We were dead. It was a complete beat down in the making.
Then something began to happen. The offense woke up. The blocking got better and the running and passing began to happen. Maurice ripped off a nine yard run and then Jennings ripped off a ten yard run. Both up the middle. At the goal line we saw what might have been Greg Jones final important play. He held open the Miami defense just long enough to get MJD through.
The defense woke up at this point. Miami had 14 points and the defense said that was enough. They began to get to Chad Henne and rattle him. Hitting began to happen and the ball began to come out. Gerald Alexander forced a fumble and Anthony Smith recovered it. Both of those guys have been playing very well and we have the nucleus of a very good defense in the making. 14-7 Miami at halftime.
Third quarter was one of the most fun quarters of football to watch in the stadium this season. Derrick Harvey set the tone of the second half with a huge sack. He played really well again today.
With the defense beginning their shutdown, the offense had to pick it up. The field was soggy and Maurice slipped a lot. No excuse, Ricky Williams got his 100 yards, but Maurice couldn't do it. They had him running back punts today and nothing good happened. Then lighting struck. Torry Holt pulled a vanishing move and reappeared behind the defense. David scrambled to his right and launched a ball that seemed to move in slow motion. The tension was amazing as we watched the high arc and the ever so slow decent. Please Torry please!!!
Got it! If I blew up this photo you could see the size of his hands. They look like a bushel basket. Torry didn't score but another catch of his had the Jaguars on the 8 yard line. Since they had their quota of red zone touchdowns for the game, it was time for a field goal.
Miami punts, Jacksonville punts, Gerald Alexander forces another fumble and recovers. We are on the 35 yard line. Just get a field goal, please! We can't move the ball and punt. Scobee for 57 yards? I would have tried it.
Miami punts and then the Jaguars fail to convert on fourth down while on the Miami 45 yard line. All we wanted was a field goal, please! Miami ball, Derrick Cox intercepts! A beautiful interception by the 103 best corner back in the draft. Once again, the Jaguars can't move the ball and punt. The defense holds and forces Miami to punt. The Jaguars fail to convert on fourth down again.
The defense had given the offense the ball four times to get 2 field goals or one touchdown. There was no way it was going to happen. Why did it end this way? Maurice could not get it going. Could it be he doesn't have 16 game legs? Is it the offensive line that can't block for him? He seems tired, they seem tired. I don't know.
So why do I feel OK with this game? The defense fought hard without Rahean and Big John. In Miami's last six possessions, the Jaguar defense forced four punts and two turnovers. They adjusted beautifully at halftime and owned the Dolphins in the second half. Miami is a decent team and this defense got it together and almost won the game for us. It was a pleasure watching this defense come alive.
The offense is where things didn't go well today. David didn't play well. Mike Sims-Walker is hurt and Torry can't carry a game. There was no third receiver today. Maurice looks like he has tired legs and can't break tackles as well as earlier in the season. Sadly, Greg Jones suffered a close your eyes leg injury I caught on camera. I won't show it today. He couldn't put any weight on it as he left.
We were beat, but this team fought hard every minute of the game. We are not quite a powerful team yet. We knew this was a year of finding new guys and Gene has done just that. If this team goes 8-8, I am calling it a great success. It is the start of what can get better, much better. This is a good team that knows it can compete. It is a bit tired right now, the veterans, especially on the offensive line, are not holding up. On the other hand, the rookies, this year's rookies and last year's rookies are coming on. Russel Allen is a great run stopping linebacker. Give Gene another year. In the mean time, prayers for Greg, and get ready for the Colts. The last game in the stadium this year is four days away. It was fun in the stadium this year and I think this team deserves a standing ovation.
- Terry O'Brien