Friday, December 16, 2011
Wrap-up: Falcons 41, Jaguars 14
By Paul Kuharsky
Thoughts on the Jaguars’ 41-14 loss to the Falcons at the Georgia Dome:
What it means:The Jaguars fell to 4-10 as they were completely handled in Atlanta. Sunday they’d broken through with a 41-14 home win over the Buccaneers. Four days later they lost by the same score to a team that looks to be heading into the NFC playoff field. In receivers Roddy White (10 catches, 135 yards, two touchdowns) and Julio Jones (five, 85, one) the Falcons and quarterback Matt Ryan have just the sort of weapons the Jaguars need but lack. Shahid Khan, just approved by NFL owners to purchase the Jaguars and take over Jan. 4, was in attendance and saw in person just how far off his new team is.
What I didn’t like: The Jaguars plan and play-calling looked to have no confidence in Blaine Gabbert and he showed why. Five sacks were partly on him and partly on his pass protection. But the pocket presence that’s been an issue all season wasn’t any better, and he lost two fumbles while throwing a pick (on a ball bobbled by Marcedes Lewis) and a touchdown (to Chastin West well after the game was out of reach).
Knocked out: Right tackle Guy Whimper struggled again, this time with defensive end John Abraham. Abraham knocked Whimper from the game with a knee sprain when he sacked Gabbert and forced a fumble that defensive tackle Corey Peters recovered and returned 13 yards for a third-quarter touchdown that made it 34-0. Abraham finished with 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. I don't know why the Jags wouldn't try Cameron Bradfield the rest of the season even if Whimper is healthy.
What I want to know: How Maurice Jones-Drew can gain yards when a defense has no fear of getting beat by the pass. He carried 17 times for 112 yards.
Something on special teams: For the second game in a row, special teams provided something big. Kassim Osgood blocked a punt that Zach Potter recovered and returned for a 46-yard touchdown that ensured Jacksonville wouldn’t be shutout. It was one of a handful of good moments on an ugly night.
What’s next: The Jaguars have a long break before they return to action with a trip to Nashville for a rematch with the Titans. Jacksonville beat the Titans 16-14 at EverBank Field on opening day.