I wrote earlier in the week that this was a career game for Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard. Garrard had two of the worst games of his career in back to back games, and he was greeted with boos during the introduction on Sunday before the football game.
Garrard answered the call, however.
"I'm much better. Definitely after a tough, trying week, you have to respond in the best way you can. I've always said as long as the good Lord gives you another opportunity to play, you just have to go out and do the best you can. I thank the Lord I was able to do that," Garrard told reporters after the game.
A lot of credit needs to go to the much maligned offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who I believe called a great game plan. Dirk Koetter knew the Colts were light on the defensive line and the Jaguars were loaded with road graders.
Easy game plan, pound the football.
You can't just win the game sending Maurice Jones-Drew off center nearly every play, but if you have a quarterback who has the assets David Garrard does you can mix up some other running plays and make it more dynamic. When you have a wide receiver who's elusive with the football in his hands like Mike Thomas, it opens up other running lanes. As much as running college level football plays infuriates me, it worked on Sunday. The Jaguars ran multiple different option looks with David Garrard, including a few read option plays. David Garrard's long 25 yard touchdown run was on an option play, and he was able to score because the defensive back bit on the fake pitch.
I laughed. I never imagined that would actually work. I knew they would get their yards with Garrard rolling out and running off tackle on some sprint plays, but a fake pitch worked?
David Garrard was asked to make throws in key situations however, and he did. He only threw the ball 22 times and I believe didn't even have double digit pass attempts before half time, but he made nearly every throw count. His touchdown pass to Marcedes Lewis to the middle of the field was on point, as there were three Colts defenders in the area, but he lasered to football in to where it needed to be. Dirk Koetter limited to game plan and moved to quick passes with Mike Thomas, passes to the backs, and rolled the pocket around with Garrard to let him stay on the move.
Though, right before Josh Scobee's kick Garrard nearly ruined the good day at work he put in with an ill-advised pass to the long side of the field. The rush was on as the Colts knew they had to get to Garrard, and it looked like Garrard might get sacked. Then Garrard heaved the football off his back foot to the sideline only to have an Indianapolis Colts defender sprinting towards the ball to have hit bounce out of his hands as he was tripped by Tiquan Underwood.
"It was a pass I probably should have thrown further out of bounds then to let Tiquan make a play there. I was getting a little bit of pressure and with that I could have just thrown it to the other sideline and 30 rows up into the seats. I hate to give my coaches and my teammates a heart attack. He didn't catch it, thank the Lord, so we don't have to worry about it," Garrard said after the game.
This is the type of game plan I expect the Jaguars to use more of going forward, but they're going to need to hit some passes down the field at some point. If they don't, teams are just going to continue to load up and jump the short routes. Garrard was able to lengthen the rope on his lease this week and he'll need to carry his solid play up to Buffalo. He absolutely cannot afford to get back to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.