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Jaguars defeat Chargers: Defining Moment and Final Thought

Here at SB Nation we're working with Samsung and their "Defining Moments" campaign.  They asked me to provide my "defining moment" for the game.  You can read it here.  If you'd really like to make me happy, you'd click the link and vote for my post, but that's neither here nor there.

For the Jaguars, this weeks Defining Moment came early in the first quarter.  The Jaguars were only up by a field goal, however thanks to some backfield tackling of LaDainian Tomlinson by Rob Meier and John Henderson, the Chargers were forced to punt and give the ball to a fired up Jaguars offense.

Sometimes games can be defined by one drive.  In this case, it's a punt return and 11 plays over 5 minutes that simply broke the will of the Chargers.  It began with the Punt itself, Dennis Northcutt made his first significant return of the season with a 2 yard run to the Jaguars 48 yard line.  After this punt, we saw for the first time the return of the Jaguars "Grindhouse" offense, an offense that was ran perfectly by David Garrard before his injury.  The "Grindhouse" is what we call the Jaguars strategy of simply wearing out opponents through long physical drives of primarily runs and well timed passes.  It's an offense that works best when the passing threat is legitimate, and with David's three game absence, just wasn't working.

That would all change on this drive.  First play started with a 13 yard run by Fred Taylor, followed two plays later by a 15 yard run by Maurice Jones-Drew.  Now the Jaguars were on the Chargers 20 yard line, already showing serious momentum with their running game only ten minutes into the first quarter.  The best, however, was yet to come.

The Jaguars after an incomplete pass on first down, 3 yard Fred Taylor run on 2nd, and a 6 yard Dennis Northcutt pass on 3rd down faced a 4th down and 1 yard to go  on the Chargers 10 yard line. Kicker Josh Scobee was perfectly capable of making the field goal and putting the Jaguars up 6-0, but after a time out, Jack Del Rio decided to make this drive a defining moment.

You see, the Jaguars had a problem in previous weeks because their primary Field Goal kicker (Scobee) was injured.  His replacement, John Carney was very good, but did not have the range for long field goals.  So when the Jaguars were inside enemy territory, but outside the 30 yard line, they would have to go for it on 4th and anything because they were too close to punt and too far to kick.
Thankfully for the Jaguars, they were very good at converting.  In the Chargers game, however, the Jaguars had their big leg kicker and could have simply taken the points.

After the timeout, the Jaguars offense came back onto the field and decided to impose their will over the Chargers defense.  Anyone who watches the Jaguars knows exactly what's coming, a run straight up the middle by either Garrard, Full Back Greg Jones, or Maurice Jones-Drew.  One yard later, David Garrard showed that he's recovered from his high ankle sprain with a push that gets the Jaguars the first down, keep's the Chargers defense on the field, and tells the world that the Jaguars offense is not going to play by the rules of conservative football.  This wasn't the 4th quarter, the Jaguars weren't trailing on the scoreboard, they were simply trying to make a statement to the Chargers and the NFL that they are a force to be reckoned with.

That wasn't the only statement on that drive, not a chance.  After a 9 yard run by Fred Taylor on first down, Maurice Jones-Drew would try on 2nd and 3rd down to punch the ball the final yard into the
end zone.  Jacksonville faced another 4th and 1 situation, this time on the Chargers 1 yard line.  Jack didn't hesitate this time and sent Jones-Drew right back in on the 4th down try.  It would prove to be a fantastic decision, as Jones-Drew scored the touchdown, the extra point was good, and the Jaguars took what could have been a 6 point lead with a field goal attempt on either 4th and 1 situation and instead took the initiative and put the Chargers in a 10 point hole as the first quarter expired. Jacksonville improved it's 4th down conversions to 13 of 25, and set the tone for the rest of the Game.  The Chargers would eventually get going, but never enough to effect the final outcome.

So there you go, from here on out it's all eyes on Buffalo.  

Though, it was good that the Broncos beat the Titans.  We add to our Wild Card lead over the Titans as well as pick up a tie breaker due to our defeat of the Broncos.  It looks like it's the Jaguars and the Browns that have the inside track to the wild card.  

Of course, this is not to say that we have to settle on the wild card, just that as of now we're on that course.