The Jacksonville Jaguars lost their second game in a row, their 11th over the season, falling to the Tennessee Titans 23-17. The game looked like it could be another one that would get out of hand early as the Titans took a 10-0 lead, including quarterback Matt Hasselbeck shredding the Jaguars make-shift secondary. Luckily, the Jaguars offense saw a glimpse of what they think Blaine Gabbert will be on a drive late in the first quarter that led to a Jaguars touchdown.
On the drive, Gabbert completed five of five passes for 58 yards on the drive, including back to back 20+ yard completions to tight ends Zach Potter and Colin Cloherty. One play later, running back Maurice Jones-Drew pounded the ball up the middle for an easy 10-yard touchdown run. It was a "wow" drive by Gabbert, as he made the drive look effortless passing the football, going right down the football field. Unfortunately as rookie quarterbacks are wont to do, the inconsistency came to head during the game.The Jaguars defense was able to buckle down in the second half, allowing just six points after halftime, but that would prove to be too much for the Jaguars to handle. The Jaguars offense moved the ball in spurts, getting good throws from Gabbert and the bad throws. Getting good catches from the receivers and then flat out drops. In the game however, Gabbert showed the ability to get out of the pocket and complete some passes, even if at times he left the pocket earlier than he should have. On one play in particular on fourth down, Gabbert rolled to his right out of the pocket and hit wide receiver Jarett Dillard on the sideline for the first down and putting the offense on the one-yard line, eventually letting fullback Greg Jones score the touchdown.
In reality, that scoring drive should have either tied the game or taken the lead, as it was the second drive in a row gifted to the Jaguars offense by the defense forcing a turnover. On the drive prior, the offense started the drive on the Tennessee 18-yard line, but turned the ball over in the redzone. On fourth and one, Gabbert dropped back on the play action pass trying to hit Jarett Dillard over the middle, but the ball was late and knocked up into the air, ultimately being picked off.
This of course lead to a tongue lashing by the over the top Steve Tasker on the CBS crew, who evidently went out of his way to tell everyone how "scared" Gabbert is in the pocket at every chance he got. It was one of the worst called games I can remember and it got to the point where I had to put it on mute. Tasker equated nearly every play where Gabbert missed on a pass or left the pocket to him being scared, even on plays designed to be a quick throw and/or roll out. Now, Gabbert has skittishness issues in the pocket, but Saturday was one of the games where that issue was minimal, if at all.
Ultimately Saturday was a typical rookie game and I thought for the most part, Gabbert had a pretty good game. He just missed on a few deeper shots down the field, namely to a deep pass down the seam just over Marcedes Lewis hands. It was another game where the rookie quarterback looked like he was actually able to get a rhythm going in the passing game.