- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Thoughts on the Jaguars' 26-23 overtime loss to the Vikings in Minnesota:
What it meant: The Jaguars have improved but were unable to finish off a team they will feel they should have beaten. The Jags had the ball for 37:49 and had 75 offensive plays to Minnesota’s 58, but couldn’t use that extra time with the ball to pull away or win. The Jaguars are one of three AFC South teams at 0-1, with only Houston at 1-0.
Important development: Quarterback Blaine Gabbert got the ball with 1:18 left in the game trailing by 5 and drove the Jaguars to a touchdown. He completed four of six passes and covered 76 yards in just 58 seconds, capped by a 39-yard touchdown to Cecil Shorts, who made a great adjustment to the pass. Gabbert hit rookie Justin Blackmon for the 2-point conversion and a 3-point lead, but Minnesota managed a field goal to force overtime. Gabbert carried over his preseason play and was largely effective.
Hard to figure: Statistically -- with that time of possession, the advantage in offensive plays and the Jaguars’ nine conversions on 18 third downs compared to the Vikings’ two conversions in 10 chances -- it’s hard to see exactly how Jacksonville failed to win. Typically such things are offset by turnovers or giant plays, but both teams lost one fumble and Minnesota didn’t have a play longer than 29 yards and only had four plays of 20 yards or more. Adrian Peterson's two touchdown runs certainly hurt.
Injuries of concern: The offensive line got beat up with guard Eben Britton leaving the game with an ankle injury and right tackle Cameron Bradfield leaving the game with a leg injury. The other guard, Uche Nwaneri, suffered an ankle injury but returned to action. Running back Rashad Jennings left the game early with a knee injury, meaning Maurice Jones-Drew was back in his full-time role in short order.
What’s next: The Jaguars host the Texans in the first home game for coach Mike Mularkey. Jacksonville lost both games to the Texans last season.