Like a boxer battered and beaten, the Jaguars answered the bell in a huge way on Sunday, outlasting the Colts at home, 31-28. The two teams traded touchdowns through most of four quarters until a 59-yard field goal from Josh Scobee as time expired gave Jacksonville the lead for good. And, at the end of a week when the jobs of both head coach Jack Del Rio and starting quarterback David Garrard were in question, the last-second victory over Indy couldn’t have come at a better time. Below are all my thoughts from a Jaguar victory that was every bit as exciting as it was shocking.
-Though David Garrard has struggled in big ways over the last few weeks, he was tremendous today, managing the game and making big-time plays in big-time moments. Specifically, his 25-yard touchdown run in the first quarter set the tone for the rest of the game.
-In a season of ups and downs, perhaps the most steady aspect of the 2010 Jaguars has been the Jacksonville run defense, which was again great today. Against the vaunted Jaguar front seven, Indy managed just 58 yards on the ground.
-In addition to stopping the run, the Jacksonville defense was incredibly opportunistic today, playing the bend-but-don’t-break defense we called for last Wednesday. Specifically, the Jags turned Manning and the Colts over twice late in the fourth quarter, and both times on their own side of the field.
-Since the pre-season, I’ve said Anthony Smith is Jacksonville’s best player in the secondary and, today, there was no question about it. In addition to picking off a huge second-half pass and returning it 42 yards, he also forced a fourth-quarter fumble on what may have been the game’s biggest play.
-Overall, the Jacksonville secondary did a nice job limiting the Indy offense through the air. Manning passed for 352 yards and Reggie Wayne had 15 catches for 196 yards, but Peyton only had two touchdown passes overall and also threw an interception.
-Despite injury, Maurice Jones-Drew had a warrior-like outing Sunday, fighting for a tough 105 yards on 26 carries, including an eight-yard touchdown reception and a one-yard touchdown run.
-There’s no doubt about it, this year, Josh Scobee has been Jacksonville’s best player. He’s 5-for-5 on field goals, including today’s game winner, and 8-for-8 on extra points. His 59-yard game winner today was just incredible; it is the play of the season for Jacksonville thus far. After the game, Scobee said this was the most exciting kick of his career, and it showed, as he enjoyed a lengthy victory lap following the miracle boot.
-Tiquan Underwood may have had only three catches today, but two of them were huge and came on Jacksonville’s game-winning drive.
-The Jags were 9-of-13 on third down Sunday, which may have been the game’s biggest stat.
That’s all I’ve got for tonight, but check back here on Wednesday for a complete breakdown of Jacksonville’s upcoming game with the Buffalo Bills. Until then, Go Jags and Keep Reading.
Janovitz can be reached at Scott.Janovitz@gmail.com
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Written by Scott Janovitz