I'd like to think that the reason I woke up this morning with a headache was the crushing defeat our team took yesterday, but it probably has something to do with this.
Anyhow, let's take a look at the game and figure out what to make of it.
This feature is tentatively called "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly".
Maurice Jones-Drew: I've said it before (but not on this blog, strangely) that this kid would be a star. Yesterday was his coming out party. 103 Rushing Yards, 32 Receiving (with a TD), 104 kick-return yards. Even Jabba the Hutt was impressed enough to take his nose out of his latte and say some kind words. He was stellar in the draw play and turned plays that were going nowhere into gains. He's damn hard to tackle and finds a way to wiggle out of piles. You don't draft kick returnees in the 2nd round, so be prepared to see a lot more out of this kid.
Run Game: 191 yards. 99% of the time you'll win games if you rush for two hundred (or so) yards. Offensive line made holes (especially in the first half) and the game looked good. It wasn't till we were behind that it got harder. That's how we held the ball for 39:24. You win 85% of your games when you keep the worlds richest quarterback on the sidelines.
* Defensive Line and Linebackers*: Peyton Manning's line 14/31, 219 yards, 1 pass TD, 1 Rush TD. Ok, the Rushing TD was cute (who prepares for a naked manning bootleg...did I just say Naked Manning...what horrific imagery...). We held him to less than 50% of his passes and only one passing TD. He was good, but we kept him from being his usual greatness (honestly, it's harder for me to acknowledge Manning being great than it is for me to type naked manning) Good pressure on the QB, though again we had the problem of getting right up to the quarterback but not quite knocking him down. Oh yeah, the Colts only ran the ball for 63 yards. You win 65% of your games when you keep the other guy below a hundred yards.
Byron Leftwich I'll discount the second INT cause it was in garbage time and we had to go deep. But Byron needs to make throws when the team needs him. We had them committing everything to the run AND the Colts have a short secondary (with injuries to boot) and we couldn't do ANYTHING in the air. Nothing, not a damn thing. 107 yards in the air with our leading receiver a rookie RB/KR (props to J-D). Hopefully this whole situation has something to do with Matt Jones being limited due to injury
Our Secondary: Usually pretty stout, but completely and utterly dropped the ball on a Manning TD to Dallas Clark. Credit where Credit is due, Dungy had a hell of a play designed to exploit Harrison's tendency to draw a lot of coverage, but how in the Hell can a guy get so open. Deon Grant was 15 yards away when he realized what was happening. Funny thing about that play is how if we had gotten to manning 1 second earler, I'd be praising the secondary. Football, as they say, is a game of inches.
Special Teams Big Blue Shoe called this one all week. Special teams would be the difference. We gave up 13 points on special teams. The TD Return was exceedingly well blocked by the Colts. Missing Two Field goals put us in a deep hole after long drives. Going all the way deep into the red-zone and leaving with nothing is how you lose games. You lose 100% of the games you don't get into the end-zone. We should be able to look at a 29 yard field goal situation and be able to get more chips, not pray that we make a chip-shot field goal.
Composure We've lost twice in Indy in large part to the fact that we can't keep our cool. Sure, Cato June is quite the actor and milked his way into some penalties against the Jags, but we cannot go backwards against Indy. More credit where it's due, my Colts Counterpart nailed this point
Not to call Del Rio out but in this one case BE MORE LIKE TONY. We gave up the Punt Return TD after we went backwards 15 yards on a personal foul. Whether we deserved it or not might be debatable, but the fact is every time we go to Indy we look like amateur hour at the RCA dome, not highly trained players. I hear Jags fans and players wining about respect this and respect that, but nobody gets it. Respected teams and feared teams are completely different things. Sure, teams don't like playing the Jags, but it's not entirely because of hour ferocious we are, it's cause of our late hits, our personal fouls and the fact that you just don't know what's gonna happen after the whistle blows. You want to be a feared AND respected team.
I tell you this, the day the Jaguars figure out how to maintain their composure against the Colts is the moment that they become a better team than the Colts.
Allright, we got a normal week here at Big Cat Country. I'll do a media wrap-up later today and some more insight into the play by play. After that it's all about getting ready for Sunday against the Redskins. I'm pleased that for the 3rd week in a row we get to cross blog with another SB nation writer. This week it'll be Skin Patrolat Hogs Haven. Always nice to see Mark Brunell back in the house he helped create, a shame to have to knock him down after his nice game yesterday.
Keep your head up fans, we're 2-1, almost done with a rough stretch of teams (some said we'd go 1-3) and then we get to play some easier games (Jets, Houston, Tennessee, and Houston again) toss in a 50/50 shot with Philly and we're looking at 6-2 or 7-1 by our next Monday Night game against the Giants. I can live with that. Besides, we get to whack around Manning again on December 10th (day after I graduate, what a treat!)