After a day full of dropped passes and mental errors, the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) will fly home after letting out a sigh of relieve – having avoided an 0-3 start against the Indianapolis Colts.
Despite the victory, the game as a whole had many mistakes and miscues. But it is a learning lesson for a young team nonetheless.
Wide receiver Cecil Shorts III and quarterback Blain Gabbert again showed up when it mattered most Sunday, connecting for an 80 yard touchdown with less than a minute left in the game and trailing 16-17.
But before the late game heroics, Shorts was invisible and Gabbert was ineffective at best. Shorts had zero catches before he snagged the 80 yard touchdown by the back end of the ball and Gabbert had just nine completions for less than 100 yards.
The game was filled with penalties and miscues, and it nearly cost the Jaguars a win.
Gabbert, who was consistently throwing behind or above his receivers, was not aided by a receiving corp. that was riddled with the drops all day and the defensive secondary couldn’t contain the Colts receivers.
After looking abysmal against a dynamic Houston Texans offense a week before, the defense didn’t look much better against a talent deprived Colts offense that is led by a rookie quarterback. The defense could not contain or put any pressure on rookie quarterback Andrew Luck. But the defense was stout against the run and swarmed to the ball all day.
A bright spot for the Jaguars offense was running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who ran for 177 yards and had a 59-yard touchdown run to start the second half. Besides that play, the Jaguars offense was anemic at best.
Notes from Sunday’s game:
- The pass rush looked decent in the first series of the game, was largely nonexistent until the Colts’ final series.
- Gabbert’s passes were consistently thrown behind, above and below receivers.
- The offensive line provided solid protection, with minimal breakdowns.
- The defense was arm tackling at times.
- Defensive pass coverage was bad; Indianapolis receivers found the open gap far too often.
- Jones-Drew ran patiently throughout the day, showing no signs of a 38-day holdout.
- Wide receiver Justin Blackmon needs to work on run blocking down the field, he was largely out of position on many running plays. He did however have a key block on the 59-yard Jones-Drew touchdown.
- Punter Brian Anger looked solid, with good hangtime and distance.
- Defense played the run well.
- Offensive play calling was an improvement over the Houston game, with screen plays and runs designed for fullback Greg Jones and a reverse as well. But the team cannot run the ball 30 times every week.
- Gabbert took a few hits in the pocket, but largely stood tall in the face of defenders.
- Too many pre-snap penalties.
- Andrew Luck had too much time in the pocket to make his throws.
- Jaguars defense needs to create more turnovers. Linebacker Paul Posluszny had an interception but two others were dropped in and near the endzone.
- Colts receivers got behind the defense too often.