Sunday, October 13, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Jacksonville Jaguars
By Michael DiRocco
DENVER -- A few thoughts on the Jacksonville Jaguars' 35-19 loss to the Denver Broncos:
What it means: If there are such things as moral victories in football, the Jaguars got one on Sunday. They came in as 28-point underdogs -- which tied the mark for the largest point spread in NFL history -- and ended up losing by 16 points. That still doesn’t change the fact that the Jaguars are one of only three winless teams. They are improving, especially on offense. The offensive line, until late in the third quarter when it gave up two sacks in three plays, did a solid job in pass protection. It’s odd to think the defense did a good job in giving up 35 points, but the Broncos had scored more than 50 points in back-to-back games and were averaging 46 per game. The Jaguars didn’t give up a lot of big plays and made the Broncos work. Plus, linebacker Paul Posluszny returned an interception for a touchdown late in the first half.
Stock watch: There can't be any remaining doubt regarding how important receiver Justin Blackmon is to the offense. The team’s two best offensive performances have come the past two weeks and that coincides with Blackmon’s return from his four-game suspension. What made his performance even more impressive on Sunday was that it came without leading receiver Cecil Shorts. He left the game after suffering a shoulder sprain on the third offensive snap and did not return. Blackmon finished with 14 catches for 190 yards.
Not-so-special teams: The Jaguars made three huge special-teams gaffes. Coach Gus Bradley called for a fake punt from his own 26-yard line on the first possession. The ball was snapped directly to fullback Will Ta’ufo’ou, who tried to run up the middle but gained only 1 yard. Denver scored six plays later. Long-snapper Carson Tinker bounced a snap on a failed field goal attempt. The Broncos also converted a fake punt of their own for a 35-yard gain.
What’s next: The Jaguars play host to San Diego on Sunday.