I must say, it's never a bad feeling waking up on a Monday morning knowing that your team won in a dominating performance. It's enough to make me forget about the literal hangover off too many beers and the metaphorical hangover of a too easy victory.
Before going into legitimate analysis, let's go over the personal lessions I've learned.
- Arrowhead Stadium is a very nice place, unless you're wearing the wrong color shirt. And anything not Red or Yellow is the wrong color.
- 7 year olds are the meanest to visiting team fans. I was surrounded by a pretty nasty group of em on my way to pick up my tickets. One of them might have tried to kick me in the shins.
- The problem with drinking many 7.25 beers is that eventually you have to go to the bathroom. Wearing my Jags Jersey while attempting to releive my bladder allowed me to get grabbed by the collar by what I assume is a drunk fan, who was easialy 100 pounds bigger than me, that raised his fist and gave me the look of death. Then going to the bathroom felt like taking a shower in Prison, as I rode through the taunts and boos. That five minute stretch was the only negative in the whole weekend.
- Hotel Bars are great places to meet people. I had a fantastic hour long conversation with a player on the Chiefs Practice Squad. He asked me to keep his name anonymous, but I verified who he was, and learned a lot about wide receivers and corner backs. This player says that Dennis Northcutt is the real deal (my bar mate played with the Browns), the Jaguars wide receivers under perform (errr, yeah) and that "you can't make the club sitting in the tub". The most interesting part of the conversation were about coverage strategies and how you play based on situation. I'm hoping to do a full interview with him, as I'm a junkie for anything that deals with the x's and o's.
- Arrowhead is loud. There were some 3rd down situations that were absolutely unreal in just how loud that crowd can be. Of course, I suspect that the architecture of the stadium gives a little boost, but the KC fans act like they're a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, that noise was non existent in the 2nd half. They could only take so many 3rd and long plays where the chiefs ran short pass plays before they shut up and left.
Not much to complain about here, David had a fantastic day, making precision passes, not making any mistakes, and spreading the ball around. Vic Ketchman makes some observations on the emergence of David Garrard over the last nine months:
Accuracy? The guy threw balls into jail cell-sized windows on Sunday. He hit Dennis Northcutt with a game-clinching 40-yard completion that was made while on a dead run to his right.
Interceptions? He hasn't thrown a one through four games, marking the first time in team history the Jaguars have started the season without throwing at least one interception in the first four games.
David Garrard and Jeff Garcia are the only quarterbacks in the NFL, with enough attempts to qualify, to go through 5 weeks without throwing an interception. This sort of careful football allows the Jaguars to put together very long drives. We had our second 18 play drive of the season yesterday. That drive consumed 10:55 off the clock in the first quarter in what looked just like the first possession we had against Denver last week. Back to back road drives like that in very hostile fields says a lot about the type of team we're going to develop into this season. Just imagine what that drive looks like in the RCA dome, keeping Peyton Manning on the sideline while we grind away for 10,12 minutes at a time.
The most obvious stat here is simply the sheer number of targets. David threw to nine different targets, four wide receivers, a full back, two tight ends and two running backs. No one receiver had any "huge" day, but Northcutt made some great plays and would get the "receiver game ball", if I had one to give. John Broussard got some action too, but he was blanketed each time he got deep.
Something I observed this week that I had not caught watching the game on TV is the rotation of Jones-Drew or Greg Estandia lined up wide as a receiver. I don't have the film to break down in order to show what happened each time, but there were some plays where you saw Estandia or Jones-Drew lined up wide. Give credit to Koetter for finding ways to use Jones-Drew.
Matt Jones was in the game, rotating in on 3rd down. I'm no expert on body language, but he seemed to be a little more active, though I'm sure he was glad to be on the field and out of the dog house.
Unlike Larry Johnson, the Jaguars had an effective ground attack. Jones-Drew had a Jones-Drew game, making people miss and dragging tacklers. You have to see the way he gets covered up by the defense and keeps on moving forward. It's unreal. Fred Taylor is getting closer and closer to 10,000, needing only 280 more to go. I'd love for him to have a stupid huge rushing game next Sunday against the Texans so that I could see him pass 10k on Monday Night against the Colts, but it looks like it'll be at least three weeks before Fred gets the milestone.
David ran a little less effectively today, but considering how well he spread the ball around, we could get away with David converting downs with his head, not his feet. Jacksonville is converting 45% of their 3rd downs, which while not good enough, is an improvement over last season.
Offensive Play of the Game
First quarter, long drive. Jacksonville gets in the dreaded 3rd and 15 situation. David drops back, and makes a fantastic 16 yard completion to Dennis Northcutt. This play kept our nearly 11 min drive alive and began the process of slowly breaking the strength and will of the Chiefs. The crowd was never as loud as it was during that play, and it would never return that loudness again.
Special Teams Player of the Game: This is a clear two way tie between Punter Adam Podlish and CB Scott Starks. The two of them did a fantastic job of pinning the Chiefs deep in their own territory. Adam averaged 45 yards per punt, with 3 of his 4 downed inside the 20. Starks did a good job, along with backup FB Montell Owens in covering the kicks and downing them deep, at the 5 and 3 yard lines respectively.
The Running game is coming to life, we're not making mistakes, and we've got a punter with enough leg that we can kick it away if we have to knowing that our defense has a good shot of getting the ball back. We can eat entire quarters on one drive and we can spread the ball around to a bunch of weapons. While we still don't have a dominating receiver, Northcutt is making big plays, but we're not dropping the balls either.
A fantastic performance, if we can just protect David a little better, it'll make us very hard to beat.
Defensive breakdown coming later!