When Jason Campbell's final canon shot fell 23 yards short of the target, the Jacksonville Jaguars and their fans exploded in celebration. The attack, which began at 1:00 pm amidst the remanants of a brief December shower, was both relentless and focused. But in the end, much like the sun that broke through and bathed the faithful for much of the second half, the Jaguars escaped the silver and black to stand victorious and prepared to take ownership of the AFC South at Indianapolis next weekend.
Let us hope any damage sustained will not linger long.
If you look back on how this vessel that is the 2010 Jaguars home schedule was christened there were serious questions as to her armaments and sea worthiness. After a festive launch against Denver, blowout losses to Philadelphia and Tennessee left the crew in the stands with thoughts of mutiny. All the investments made to shore up the teal and black seemed wasted. Even an exciting victory over the Colts, which was sandwiched between embarassments, could not hold the collective confidence.
But the captain has navigated through the treacherous waters and has shown that our home will not be taken from us without a fight. Go on believing they are soft because of the teal coloring to their uniforms. Insist that this warm climate makes them vulnerable. This ship and its on field crew have weathered the storms, becoming tested and hardened.
- Early on in the game it looked like Kasim Osgood was being reminded that his Charger past was not forgotten and he would pay dearly for it. On the opening kickoff, with helmet removed, he was head butted by a Raider player who had his helmet on. Not sure how the official could have missed that. However, the radio announcers, as the game progressed, commented that it was Osgood who was getting close to a penalty. I have to wonder if the officials decided to let both teams play it out rather than call useless offsetting penalties.
- 3/0, 2/0, 3/1, 4/0, 2/0, 2/3, 0/0, 3/1. I doubt you are pondering what those are but in case you paused, that is David Garrard's TD/INT stat line for all the Jaguars wins. 1/4, 0/1, 0/1, 0/1. These are the losses. Maybe the run is setting up the pass, but the point is that if David executes in the vertical game, this team is balanced and hard to beat.
- StampedeBlue has already started their articles for this crucial game. NoPunIntended addresses the Jaguars strong and weak points in his piece while BigBlueShoe favors a more complimentary approach here. Both are well written but Pun must not know much about these Jaguars since he feels they are not built to come from behind. He also wants the Colts to do the impossible: play good run defense.
- The difficult task of evaluating a team's performance based on quality of opponent is that a team you beat in week 3 may have been playing well then but is now terrible. Unfortunately, trying to get that granular becomes very subjective when defining who was or was not playing well. Simply based on present data, the Jaguars victories have been against teams with a combined .356 while teams they have lost to are .578 winning %. The Colts victories are against teams with a combined .404 while their loses are to teams with .571.
- I will never understand following any sports team as a lifestyle. Raiders Fan dressing up is entertaining and my experience of yesterday was one in which they posed for pictures and expressed great team pride. In fact, those who dressed up were actually more cordial than those in standard gear. However, the guy who had a full silver grill...was that really worth the investment?
- Take this for what it is worth but my confidence level going into this game felt hauntingly similar to that of the Browns game. I equate the Jaguars poor tackling to the number of turnovers with respect to degree of impact. Bring down Darren McFadden when you have the opportunity and this game is not as close. I believe the Titans fans felt the same way with respect to Maurice Jones-Drew.
- Though it has been discussed to its end I will note it anyway. That late 4th quarter touchdown run by McFadden has to be appreciated, even by Jaguars Fan.
- If the second half performance by the Jaguars is not enough to, at this point of the season, at least consider Jack Del Rio for coach of the year then you should quit listening to that little demon on your shoulder. Heck, immediately giving up a touchdown after closing the gap to 17-14 might have been a dagger in years past. Jack has a group that is not only mentally strong but appears to be emulating their coach with respect to locker room leadership.
- I have friends who will read this so I may be issuing apologies afterwards. Not going to the Raiders game because of the weather is a pathetic excuse. The warming sun we were graced with for the latter part of the game was Mother Nature mocking you. If you were sick I hope you get better.
- Lazy journalism 101: making comments about the Jaguars and blackouts while Jacksonville is on their seven game no-blackout streak. So when @MikeHillESPN tweetend, "Who wldve believed the Jags/Raiders game wld be the game of the day so far. Can they even see it in Jcksnville?? #blackouttweet" it obviously set off a firestorm from Jaguars fans. To his credit he later stated, "I stand corrected..jacksonville hasn't had ANY blackouts THIS year!! Congratulations. Way 2 show your support for your team. LOL" Considering he replied to Alfie with a comment along the lines of "I've forgotten more than you'll ever know.", that he does not even know something a simple as if a NFL team is dealing with blackouts calls his knowledge into serious question.
- If you are keeping track, Garrard is 5-1 in 4th quarter wins. Peyton Manning is 0-4.
- Was Koetter trying to test the waters on the Jaguars first drive? Two of their most successful plays so far this season have been the mis-direction screen to Drew and the reverse to Mike Thomas. Both were snuffed out and we never saw them again. Considering the prevailing thought was Jacksonville would push the power running attack, opening with these two finesse plays in the same drive seemed odd.
- Some are focusing on the disparity regarding the Jaguars points for and points against. It is true that you earn the record, and stats, you have, but I wanted to try and put this in perspective. In the their first seven games the Jaguars were blown out four times, once with a back up quarterback. During those games the margin was 130-209. In their last six since David returned from the concussion, Jacksonville has been 165-122. That +43 margin would be tops in the AFC South. Now that does not take into account the level of competition faced but you still have to win those games.
- Kudos to you if you called it but the play action touchdown throw to Marcedes Lewis seemed to catch everyone around me, and on the field, off guard. What a perfect call by Koetter.
- When the team went into halftime were you thinking "It is Miami all over again!"?
- David Garrard to Jason Hill; 48 yards and into the wind. Great to see Garrard hook up on a deep throw. Better still to see him throwing it to someone who is not 5' 8".
- If any of the coaches are listening, hear my cry. Greg Jones deserves the feeling of getting into the end zone. Don't make me start a petition!
- While we are on my Greg Jones man crush: a big thank you to Tania Ganguli's piece on Greg Jones Greatest Hits. You should check it out.
- Zach Miller's presence apparently extends beyond what he can do on offense. His 22 yard kick return gave Jacksonville great field position (started at their own 43) on their first scoring drive of the second half.
- For two teams that were going to run the clock and end the game early, nothing could have been further from the truth. Of Oakland's 19 first downs, 16 were through the air. While the Raiders were able to score on long sustained drives of 3, 10, 9, 3 and 7 plays, the Jaguars were far quicker with drives of 7, 4, 3, 5, 10 and 1 play(s). And the game didn't come close to finishing before 4:00 pm.
- Understanding so many cited how similar these two teams are, their time of possession stat should come as no surprise: 30:05 for the Raiders and 29:95 for the Jaguars.
- By 11:00 pm last night I was over the victory. All of the work, the close wins, the good press...they will mean nothing if Jacksonville loses in Indianapolis next week. Sure the Colts could lose one their remaining two while the Jaguars win out but, now we become scoreboard watchers and the tired old storylines will be written.
- Being the superstitious guy that I am (started growing the beard after the KC game) I found it interesting that in 2007, the last year the Jaguars made it to the playoffs, they ended the regular season in Houston. They also hosted the Raiders in the last quarter of the season (week 16) and won.
- If Aaron Rogers slides, he does not get a concussion. If he does not get a concussion I probably win my first round fantasy football game. As it stands I need 16 points from Ray Rice. Please Texans...play defense like I know you can.
Feeling through a maze of opportunities,
Some passed away and gone.
The past left no future until the winds of change, change us all.
Jay Farrar - All Of Your Might
- Brian Fullford