What started less than favorably ended on the highest of notes, as Jacksonville came from behind to defeat Buffalo on the road Sunday, 36-26. Thanks to two early turnovers in their own territory, the Jaguars spotted the Bills an early 10-0 lead, but Jacksonville dominated the second quarter and tied the score at 13 by the half. Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jacksonville rush attack controlled the second quarter, while David Garrard and the pass attack too over in the third. Specifically, Mike Sims-Walker and Marcedes Lewis were the guys, as both scored big third-quarter touchdowns and helped the Jaguars seize control of the game. The Jacksonville defense dominated the fourth, and Mr. Automatic, Josh Scobee, connected on three field goals to keep JVille out in front for good. Below are my thoughts from Jacksonville’s big win, its second in a row.
-The Jacksonville defense was pretty solid Sunday, especially the defensive line and linebackers. Remember, the offense – on a fumbled punt and a Garrard interception – spotted the Bills their first 10 points, not the defense. Aaron Kampman was extremely active with 1.5 sacks, and the secondary did a pretty good job limiting the Buffalo passing attack after getting burned deep for a score on a blown coverage early.
-Playing good defense is very much about tackling well and limiting run-after-catch yards. Buffalo’s passing offense consisted mostly of intermediate passes and the Jaguar defense did a tremendous job making the first tackle and limiting Buffalo’s yards after the catch, which was huge overall.
-Garrard had a totally unacceptable interception early – not only was it a horrible throw on a relatively easy pass, but the Jags can’t afford early turnovers like that on the road – but he rebounded nicely and had a very good game. His ability to extend plays with his feet was featured today and he hit Lewis and Walker at some big moments with beautifully thrown balls.
-Jones-Drew was incredible again today, though he did get shaken up late. He had 84 yards rushing and no touchdowns. But with Jones-Drew, it’s about more than the yards. It’s about all the big plays he makes and the tough yards he gets when there isn’t much there. Despite being slowed by injuries, he’s been the ultimate workhorse of late.
-Jones-Drew was injured late, and I don’t think it was serious, but Deji Karim was impressive in his time on the field, especially in the fourth quarter. Karim is quick to the hole and plays aggressive football. He finished the game rushing the ball 15 times for 70 yards.
-Not only is Scobee Jacksonville’s Player of the Year thus far, but it is going to be hard for anyone to catch him. He was five-for-five on field goals today with a long of 49 yards. He’s now 10-of-10 on field goals for the year, and perfect on extra points as well.
-Lewis had his second-ever two-touchdown game Sunday, as he was quite economical with his four catches on the day. He finished the game with just 54 yards, but both of his touchdowns came at big moments and on great plays.
-Sims-Walker finished with just four catches and I’d like to see him be more active, but he showed up when the team needed him most on Sunday. His touchdown late was huge – it gave Jacksonville a 27-20 lead – and he had a few other big catches for first downs late in the game.
Enjoy the huge win, as Jacksonville is now 3-2 and tied for the lead in the AFC South. Things get a bit tougher next week, though, when the Jaguars take on the Tennessee Titans in a huge divisional matchup. As if the game wasn’t big enough, kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. on MONDAY night. Be sure to check back here on Wednesday for a complete preview of the upcoming showdown. Until then, be good and keep reading.
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Written by Scott Janovitz