The once slowly ascending Jaguars took a fast tumble in front of the nation on Monday night, as the visiting Titans embarrassed the home team, 30-3. It started bad, and quickly got much worse, as Tennessee began the game scoring 20 unanswered points. Both teams played nearly three full quarters of football without their starting quarterbacks – both were loss to minor injury – and the teams threw for just 344 yards combined for the entire game. Of course, Monday’s loss comes on the heels of two consecutive Jaguar victories, and things won’t get easier anytime soon, as Jacksonville hits the road next Sunday to take on the surprisingly good Kansas City Chiefs. Before even going there, though, below I’ve recorded some of my other thoughts from tonight’s misfortune.
-For as long as he was in the game, Vince Young was pretty impressive passing the football, especially on the game’s first drive, and even more so on first down. In fact, the first score of the game came on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Vince Young to Kenny Britt on first down.
-The Jacksonville pass defense was again terrible, and Jacksonville corner David Jones was picked on in a big way all night. Both Young and Kerry Collins, Young’s replacement, had their way with the Jacksonville secondary.
-The injury to Jacksonville backup quarterback Cade McCown just a few weeks ago didn’t seem quite so big then (or maybe it did, because Garrard’s starting job was definitely in question at that point), but it became huge tonight when Garrard when down. Once both quarterbacks were removed from action early on, the game quickly became a battle of backup quarterbacks, and, in no surprise, Tennessee’s Collins won that baby in a landslide (Trent Edwards will never be as good as Kollins is even now in the twilight of his career, but having played in Jacksonville for only three weeks couldn’t have helped).
-Edwards actually looked really good on his first drive, avoiding rushers, extending drives with his legs and making some really nice throws.
-Trailing 17-0 with 35 second left in the fist half, Marcedes Lewis fumbled on the Titan 10. Edwards had looked great up until that point and even a field goal there would have been huge.
-Unfortunately, Edwards started the second half with an interception on Jacksonville’s opening drive. He rebounded pretty nicely, though, and led the Jaguars to a field goal (their first points of the game) on the next drive.
-If you’re wondering what Edwards did next, you should know he led the team back down the field only to throw an interception on 4th and goal from the Tennessee three. The interception, however, really was his receiver, Tiquan Underwood’s fault.
-The interception Garrard threw early in the game was about as ugly as they come. Just a terrible, terrible pass. It, by the way, gave the Titans the ball at midfield and led to them taking a 14-0 lead.
-Of course, when Collins entered the game, Tennessee’s offensive game plan changed dramatically. With Young, the Titans are clearly a more run-oriented football team. Now the threat to run makes Young and Tennessee a legitimate passing outfit as well, but still not nearly as dynamic through the air as a Collins-led Titans squad. Unfortunately, then, the change in signal callers did Jacksonville no favors, as its defense is far more adept at stopping the run than the pass.
-For a Monday night football game, or really any game for that matter, this one was horribly attended. Those in attendance were loud and animated – so we’ve at least got that – but it is literally pathetic to see so few interested in a team that had actually started to turn things around.
-Again, much like it’s been for most of the season, if Jacksonville did anything well tonight it was battle against the run. Chris Johnson managed to get 111 yards in the end, but much of that came late.
-I say it every week, but man does Maurice Jones-Drew run hard. It’s not a good thought, but how bad would Jacksonville be without the all-pro?
After that loss, I find myself quickly out of steam. And as you well know by now, I will have a complete preview of next week’s contest with the Chiefs published by some time on Wednesday, so be sure to check back then. Until that time, be good and keep reading.
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Written by Scott Janovitz