The Jacksonville Jaguars entered Friday night's matchup with the New Orleans Saints with some intrigue in their offense after a good first showing in their first preseason game. Second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert opened up the game just like he did the previous week, with a long touchdown drive.
Running back Rashad Jennings picked up chunks of yardage on the ground, while Gabbert added 14 yards on a pass to tight end Colin Cloherty. A few plays later Gabbert hooked up with the Jaguars first-round pick Justin Blackmon on a 16-yard touchdown pass for his
first second catch in his debut.
"It felt really good. I'm just glad to be back out there competing and I'm having a good time doing it," Blackmon said at halftime. "It was a good start."
Unlike last week however, the Jaguars kept rolling on offense on the next few drives.
Gabbert led the Jaguars on a second touchdown drive in the second quarter, capped off by a 15-yard touchdown pass to Cloherty. Blackmon as well made a few impressive catches on the drive, including a vicious stiff arm of Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton.
The most impressive thing in the game was the way the offense just seemed in rhythm and in synch, something we haven't seen from the Jaguars in quite some time. Not only did the offense do well, but for the most part the defense held one of the NFL's best offense in check, including forcing a turnover when Jeremy Mincey sacked Drew Brews and stripped the football.
Brees still ended up with a nice night, but at halftime the Jaguars held a 17-10 lead and even left some points on the board going for it on fourth down.
All in all, it was an encouraging and exciting effort from the Jaguars, especially seeing Blaine Gabbert take multiple shots and getting the football out. As always, you don't want to see the quarterback hit, but for someone who's had their toughness questioned so much it was good to see Gabbert stand in there and take hits.