Just as we discussed last Wednesday, football is a game of matchups and Jacksonville took advantage of a favorable one this Sunday, outlasting Denver, 24-17. Denver’s usually stingy pass defense was solid through most of four quarters, but Jacksonville went successfully to the air when it mattered most, as David Garrard threw three beautiful red zone touchdown passes, including the game winner to Kassim Osgood with 7:59 remaining in the fourth. The other two went to tight end Marcedes Lewis, a great sign for Jaguar fans.
The Jaguars also took advantage of an average Denver rush defense, controlling the game clock with 134 yards on the ground. And though a notoriously porous Jaguar secondary allowed 295 yards to Daniel Orton and company, the unit did a great job limiting the damage, giving up just one touchdown pass while intercepting an Orton toss as well.
Here are some of my other notes, both good and bad, from Jacksonville’s Week 1 victory.
-Though Denver struggles a bit along both lines of scrimmage, Jacksonville’s lines controlled the game on both sides of the ball, and you can’t ask for more than that.
-At least in Week 1, the Aaron Kampan pickup seems like an awfully good one, as the first-year Jag had two nice sacks on big third-down plays.
-While the Jaguar secondary did a nice job keeping the Broncos out of the end zone, it still gave up nearly 300 passing yards to a mediocre Denver passing attack.
-Marcedes Lewis had a quiet game with only two catches, but both were nice ones that went for scores. In the end, not a bad day for the tight end.
-Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jacksonville ground attack had a nice day – with Drew rushing for 98 yards – but Garrard and the offensive coaching staff must do a better job getting Mike Sims-Walker involved in the game. He, by the way, finished with zero catches for zero yards.
-Speaking of receivers, Mike Thomas had a very impressive outing, hauling in six balls for 89 yards.
-I’ve mentioned already that both lines played very well, but I should emphasize again how well the Jaguar rush defense played. It was a very impressive performance from a unit that will dictate much of the team’s overall success this year.
-Receiver Tiquan Underwood was very impressive on kickoff returns, averaging 38.3 yards an attempt. I’m starting to think that unit is just really, really good, no matter who’s back there returning the football.
-My aunt – Holly the Super Fan – hasn’t missed a game in years and had one additional note to add: Greg Jones did yeoman’s work blocking for the Jaguar tailbacks today.
Overall, the Jags picked up a very nice win on a Sunday it had to have one; with San Diego, Philadelphia, and Indianapolis coming up in consecutive weeks, a Week 1 victory was a must for this Jacksonville squad. Better yet, the defensive line looked strong, the offensive line controlled the game, and David Garrard played just about as well as one could have hoped.
Again, all this comes before a huge road showdown with San Diego next Sunday at 4:15. Check back here next Wednesday for all the info one could need concerning the upcoming game.
Until then, be good and keep reading…
Janovitz can be reached Scott.Janovitz@gmail.com
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Written by Scott Janovitz