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Jaguars defeat Bills: Post-game media wrap up

While I sit here and stall for a bit before posting my thoughts on the game, let's take a look at what the traditional media has to say about the win.

Michael Silver of Yahoo.com, who is no friend of Jacksonville by any stretch of the imagination, decides to do a piece on David Garrard.

Personally, I think that Silver is a Call Slurping Hack.  His annual NFL Owners Rankings is easily described as media hack garbage.  His rankings are simply "Biggest Market first, Small Market last".  Then, when Jags fans get pissy with him about calling Wayne Weaver "Whine Weaver", and even the Mayor of Jacksonville steps up and defends him, Mike pulls the classic "google Jacksonville News, find article about something "more important", and then go all holier than thou on the Mayor" approach.  Except he picked something irrelevant and old news, but whatever.

I'm digressing here.

Anyhow, so Silver has some conversation with Garrard about what happened as he found out that Leftwich was out as the starting quarterback.  It's a nice story, even if it's written by a hack.

After Leftwich struggled in the preseason while Garrard thrived against second-team defenses, the coach successfully persuaded ownership to make a stunning move: On Aug. 31, the day after the Jags' final preseason game and nine days before their season opener, the team announced that Garrard would be promoted while Leftwich would be traded or released. (He was waived the following day and signed with the Falcons on Sept. 18.)

Learning of the move, Garrard said, "felt like a dream" - an analogy bolstered by the fact that he was snoozing in the players' lounge next to the team's locker room as the drama unfolded. "It was right before a team meeting, and I had just seen on the ticker on TV that 'Byron Leftwich will start the Jaguars' season opener,'" Garrard remembered. "Then one of my teammates, Bobby McCray, came in and said, 'Well, congratulations.' I said, 'For what?' and he said, 'Come on, you know what's going on. They cut B-Left and you're the starting quarterback.'

"I said, 'Yeah, whatever.' Players mess with each other like that all the time, and I was sure it was a joke. I mean, who cuts your starting quarterback right before the season and says the backup is the starter?"

A few minutes later Garrard was in Del Rio's office, and later that day he slipped into his black Mercedes S550 and made perhaps the most surreal drive of his life. Talking to his wife, Mary, through his cell-phone earpiece, Garrard slogged through traffic on I-95 and let out a career's worth of emotion. "I was screaming, crying, just going crazy," he recalled. "A lot of prayers had gone out for that moment to happen, and I almost had to pull off the road because I was starting to lose my focus. My phone was ringing every five seconds. By the end of the day I had 130 missed calls."

Good stuff, good stuff.

Friend of Big Cat Country and fantastic writer Charlie Bernstein of JagNation has probably the best "recap" of anyone out there.  What I like most is his even handed way of talking about the good and the bad.

The Good :

Offensively, the Jaguars were led by their emerging star quarterback David Garrard, as he completed 23 of 37 passes for a career high 296 yards, and one touchdown. Garrard continued his interception free play as he remains the only quarterback in the NFL not to have thrown a pick this season. Garrard finished with a 96.2 quarterback rating.

The Bad:

It was an uneven performance from the Jaguars defense, as they forced three turnovers and held Buffalo to just two scoring drives, both coming on short fields. Jacksonville's defense held Buffalo to under 100 yards rushing, but allowed a third-down conversion rate of 56%, and failed to generate much pressure on the Bills J.P. Losman. Losman was sacked just once, and had time to throw for the most part.

I'd assume that anyone who reads this site is familiar with JagNation, but if not, be sure to check it out.  It's fan powered media at it's finest.

Everyone's favorite SI.com writer Peter King puts us behind the Pats, Colts, Cowboys, Packers, and Steelers in his "fine fifteen":

6. Jacksonville (8-3). A good sign of the Jags' depth: Late in the first half, Maurice Jones-Drew had rushed five times for minus-15 yards ... and Jacksonville went into halftime with a nine-point lead.

Vic Ketchman of Jaguars.com is starting to temper expectations for a possible division title for the Jaguars.  I very much enjoy Vic's "long view" perspective when it comes to the Jaguars, and when he starts being a downer, it's usually for a good reason.

Some examples:

Bill from Woodbury, MN: I can't find the old "Ask Vic" where you talked about the first game of the year being one of the biggest, but I know you said it. How big does that loss look right now, not only in terms of record but also in tiebreakers?
Vic: If the Jaguars win in Indianapolis, that loss to Tennessee will have been huge. It could be the difference between playing on the road as a wild card or having a bye and playing at home the second week of the playoffs. If the Jaguars don't win in Indianapolis, it may not be that big.

And:

Justin from Jacksonville: If the Jaguars win next week, what tiebreakers do they have against the Colts?
Vic: The Colts own the tiebreaker right now. Should the Jaguars win in Indianapolis, the Jaguars would have a 3-2 record in the division and the Colts would be 3-1. Should the Jaguars win in Indy and finish in a tie with the Colts, division record would be the tiebreaker used, provided that one of the teams has a better division record than the other. There's a lot of misinformation going around right now about what needs to happen for the Jaguars to win the division. I can tell you this: It's not as simple as win-out. The Jaguars will not matter of factly win the division title by winning all of their remaining games. If the Colts lose to the Jaguars but win their last four games, they would win the division title based on a better division record. I can't go into all of the variables because it would take up too much space and you'd get disinterested after the third or fourth "but if." You may ask me about a specific scenario, if you wish.

So yeah, as is everything else in the NFL, a win against the Colts is not quite enough to do the trick.  We'll need help

Mike Sando of ESPN.com puts us at the top of his "Observations" :

1. Jags deserve respect
While New England's dominance makes it easy to dismiss the rest of the AFC, Jacksonville deserves better.

This could be the season the Jaguars finally win a playoff game under Jack Del Rio. Their dominating performance against Buffalo was their third victory in a row since QB David Garrard's injury briefly derailed them.

Garrard won't set any passing records on a team determined to pound the ball, but he's the AFC's third-rated passer behind Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. Garrard has nine touchdowns and zero interceptions in the seven games he has started and finished.

Error-free play from Garrard makes the Jaguars a favorite to emerge as the second seed in the AFC. They probably can't score enough points to threaten the Patriots in a head-to-head matchup, but Jacksonville can overtake Indianapolis in the AFC South by beating the Colts in Week 13.

Both teams would have 9-3 records after splitting the season series, but the Jaguars would have the better conference mark (7-2 to 5-3).

I don't know who's right, but there is something pretty exciting to see the possibility of as high as a 2nd seed in the Jaguars future.

Of course, all we have to do is go into a very hostile stadium, win a game against a very good team, and then win out with a road trip to Pittsburgh and Houston.  Piece of Cake.

I'm having slight nightmares of a late season game against the Texans having a deciding effect on having a playoff home game or being a wild card team.

So there you go, that's what the "real media" has to say.  The much more interesting "what I have to say" is coming up later!

-Chris

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