Sunday, November 10, 2013
Finally a fast start for the Jaguars
By Michael DiRocco
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Sometimes it really is about how you start.
The Jacksonville Jaguars finally got a good one on Sunday and it played a critical role in the team’s 29-27 victory against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field.
Linebacker Paul Posluszny knocked the ball out of running back Chris Johnson's hands and recovered it at the Tennessee 19 on the game’s first offensive snap. Three plays later, the Jaguars had a 7-0 lead.
It was the first time the Jaguars were ahead in a game since they held a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter against St. Louis in Week 5.
"It was great, wasn’t it?" coach Gus Bradley said. "We talked about the importance of finishing and that’s critical. I told you last week it would be nice to start faster once in a while. To have that come into play this week was great. It was a great confidence-builder."
The Jaguars added a 32-yard Josh Scobee field goal later in the first quarter, and Scobee hit a 44-yarder early in the second quarter for a 13-0 lead. Like the touchdown, Scobee’s second field goal was set up by a turnover: rookie cornerback Dwayne Gratz's interception and 17-yard return.
"To start the game off like that, it doesn’t get any better," Posluszny said. "It doesn’t get any better than that, so to come out, play fast from the start, [and get] three turnovers in the first half, to do that it, was an enormous jump for our defense."
The Jaguars had been pretty awful early in the first quarter through the first eight games, getting outscored 70-15. Until Sunday they hadn’t scored a touchdown in the first quarter since the St. Louis game, and had been outscored 35-0 combined in the first quarter of the past three games.
The Jaguars desperately needed something good to happen early on Sunday, and they got it when Posluszny ripped the ball out of Johnson’s hands. The defense, which entered the game worst in the NFL against the run (161.8 yards per game allowed), held the Titans to just one first down and 46 total yards in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, the offense churned out 93 yards, nearly half of its final total of 214.
"We needed a positive feeling," Posluszny said.
They got one, and it led to an even bigger one after the game.