Jacksonville debuted their black jerseys yesterday. The visiting Chicago Bears were so nice that at the end of the game, they gave the Jaguars matching black eyes to go with it.
To say the game was a tale of two halves would be understatement. It was more a tale of two games.
In game one, the Jaguars were a gritty, feisty team that made Chicago earn every yard and stayed with the Bears step for step, ending in a tie game. The fans were into it, the team was into it and most of all, it looked like the Jaguars were turning the proverbial corner, turning into a team that would show some heart and determination in front of its home crowd. With the way the home team performed in the first two home games, it felt like a victory.
Then game two happened. Well, it played out like a montage from a war movie when the protagonists get ambushed. No way out and no way of making it stop. And this time, there is no cavalry to ride in like the big heroes, saving the day. Nope, this cavalry was supposed to be on the sidelines, waiting to come in and avenge their comrades.
But, the Bears were not in the mood to play the role of the gloating villains who get their comeuppance in the climax of the film. They were the natural disaster that passed through and kept moving, leaving the victims to pick up the pieces and try to recover.
Chicago threw, ran, intercepted and sacked their way in the second half at will. Wherever Brandon Marshall wanted to go and catch the ball, he did. Wherever Jay Cutler wanted to put the ball, he did, and without fail a Bears receiver was there. The Jaguars defense looked like a shell shocked team and looked in need of smelling salts. But, with the way the game was going, they were better off staying in that state until the game was over. The Jaguars offense looked overwhelmed, like a Pop Warner squad playing a college team.
The play that summed up the game best was Lance Briggs pick 6. Not just the play, but the aftermath. Mike Thomas was right next to him and instead of ignoring the Jaguars wide receiver, he patted him on the helmet and then members of the Bears defense ran over and celebrated, almost including Thomas. At that moment, I’m pretty sure Thomas would have celebrated, since the Jaguars had nothing else to hang their hats on that day.
There are very few positives to take away from Sunday. Maurice Jones-Drew joined Fred Taylor and Jimmy Smith as players that gained 12,000 all-purpose yards as a Jaguar. Josh Scobee also tied Mike Hollis for the most field goals in franchise history at 175. But in terms of the actual game, the Jags had fewer penalties and their black jersey are pretty spiffy looking.
In a league that favors passing and gaudy stats, this Jaguars team just looks like they are stuck in the past. Their QB still looked overwhelmed at times, as if the old self from last season was making an appearance. MJD looks like an overworked player who knows the Jaguars success hinges on him. Basically his role ever since Fred Taylor left. The defense, which was a stout one, looks like it wants off the field as soon as the opposition gets a few first downs. Injuries are a part of the game, but this defense looks like it took a few steps back from the squad that was ranked fifth last season.
Maybe it’s the tougher home schedule, maybe it’s the new coaching, maybe it’s just indifference, but this Jaguars team does not look or seem all in. They look more like a team that wants a way out of the fight they’ve gotten themselves into.
Hopefully, that pesky Bye Week won’t put up as much of a fight next Sunday.
They’re undefeated you know.
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Written by Michael Reid