Typically after a Jacksonville Jaguars loss, especially with one as important as the loss to the Colts on Sunday, you'll see a lot of knee-jerk hand wringing. That's natural as we're all fans and it's emotional for us. One thing that I've seen get criticized and I've gotten e-mails about is the play calling on Sunday. To be quite honest, I didn't really have any problems with the play calling. The only bad calls I can think of off the top of my head were the 4th and 1 at the 38, where David Garrard should have just checked to a quarterback sneak since the Colts left a gaping hole over center Brad Meester, but there were apparently headset problems. The other was running the option with a quarterback that has a tweaked hamstring. Maybe offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter saw Garrard rolling out and moving fine and Garrard insisted he could run it, but the one time it was ran, it resulted in a -12 yard play that was nearly a turnover deep in the Jaguars territory.
"They did a good job of stopping our run. Not too many times that will happen,' tight end Marcedes Lewis said after the game.
"We know that we're a really good rushing offense and that we usually have a lot of success with Indy. But they did a great job of coming out today and being very determined that they weren't going to get the ball run down their throat. They stepped up and made the plays necessary to really limit us in the run game," David Garrard told reporters after the game. David is right, it was more the Colts gameplan and execution that stifled the Jaguars running game that was running at full bore in the weeks prior. Some have complained Koetter gave up on the run, but until his hand was forced the Jaguars ran the ball plenty.
Three of the first four plays of the game were running plays. Ten of the first 16 plays were running plays. It was clear early on the Jaguars were going to do exactly what we thought they would do, run the football. The only thing that happened that most didn't think would happen is the Colts stopped it. In the first half the Jaguars passed the ball only nine times, Garrard ended the day with 38 pass attempts. That's what happens when a team falls behind by two scores, you're forced to abandon the run.
Heading into the halftime, thanks to a Mike Thomas punt return for a touchdown, the Jaguars were down only four points. The gameplan wouldn't be dictated by the score, yet. To open the second half, the Jaguars ran the ball three out of the first four plays, including the botched 4th and 1 from their own 38-yard line. "I trusted our offensive line. I trusted the quarterback. I'd do that again right now. If we're going to beat these guys, we have to be able get a hard yard when we need it," head coach Jack Del Rio said after the game.
I think we all trusted our offensive line to get the tough yard, but the problem was when that play failed... the game plan totally had to change. The Jaguars saw themselves down 21-10, they couldn't run the ball as heavily as they had in the first half, especially since the Colts were stuffing it. To Koetter, Garrard, and the Jaguars credit, they got themselves back into the game passing the football. They put themselves in position at 17-24 to tie the football game. David Garrard's interception on a potential game tying drive where he sailed the ball over Jason Hill's head was essentially the killer, though.
The 4th and 1 changed the game, the interception ended it.