ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 15: John Abraham #55 of the Atlanta Falcons forces a fumble as he sacks Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first half at the Georgia Dome on December 15, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The Jacksonville Jaguars were riding high, coming of a 41-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was a game that saw the Jaguars come back from a 14 point deficit to score 41 unanswered points. On Thursday Night Football against the Atlanta Falcons, it was the Falcons who scored 41 unanswered points on the Jaguars.
On the opening drive, the Falcons offense went right down the football field with ease, scoring a touchdown. The Jaguars offense failed to respond to much of anything in the first half, as they found themselves down 27-0 at halftime. "Right now, this is a very embarrassing loss," running back Maurice Jones-Drew said. "I think our lack of execution hurt over and over again. We felt that our game plan was solid enough, but we just didn't execute enough."
Not only did the Jaguars on execute on both sides of the ball, but they also turned the ball over. "Any time you go on the road against a good football and turn the ball over and you're not able to protect the quarterback consistently enough and the defense isn't able to stop the run like we need to and get off the field on third down, it's going to be a tough day," interim coach Mel Tucker said after the game. The Jaguars turned the ball over four times, three times by rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who had one of the worst nights of career. Gabbert fumbled the ball getting sacked twice, losing it both times. One of the fumbles was returned for a touchdown. Gabbert was also picked off after a pass to tight end Marcedes Lewis was tipped in the air.
"I've just got to get rid of the ball," Gabbert said after the game. "I can't take those sacks and those fumbles. That's completely on me. I've got to find our checkdowns, find our hot reads and get rid of it." At halftime, the Jaguars had just a single yard of net passing, because of the sacks Gabbert had taken.
It was a collective failure, all around. There were turnovers on special teams, defensive breakdowns, offensive turnovers, protection issues, quarterback issues, etc. etc.
It's a game the team and fans will have to stew over for while, because their next game isn't for 10 days, when the team travels to take on the Tennessee Titans.