Jaguars Fall to Colts in Dramatic Season Opener
The Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) lost 12-14 to the Indianapolis Colts (1-0) Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Jacksonville had a difficult time generating any offensive firepower against the Colts’ pass rush. Even without Marvin Harrison, Peyton Manning still looked brilliant.
Jacksonville had multiple chances to push the ball downfield, but the Colts’ secondary covered every Jaguar receiver. Considering this loss is to Indy, an AFC South foe, it’s a tough one for Jacksonville. But, if quarterback David Garrard can get a little more protection, Jacksonville will have a greater chance of longer offensive drives.
Next week, Jacksonville is at home against the Arizona Cardinals.
From here, Jacksonville has to take the positives from the Colts’ game and apply them to the Cardinals’ game.
Now, on to the Awards…
Best Play of the Game: In the first quarter, rookie cornerback Derek Cox intercepted a pass from Peyton Manning. Cox snagged what would have been a touchdown to Reggie Wayne. And, Cox was focused enough not to run it out of the end zone. If the Colts had scored then, the game might have never been close. Cox has obvious potential.
Best Director (goes to Jaguar coach or coordinator): Mark Duffner, Linebackers Coach – His group of starting linebackers (Justin Durant, Clint Ingram and Daryl Smith) accounted for 22 total tackles. They played well-disciplined football against an offensive-charged Colts team. Durant had two bone-crushing tackles in the first half. For a portion of the second quarter, Ingram was out with a knee sprain. He returned shortly in the third quarter. So far, Jacksonville’s linebackers look to be the team’s strongest unit.
Best Jaguar in a Leading Role: Maurice Jones-Drew, starting running back – He compiled 21 rushes for 97 rushing yards and one touchdown behind notable interior blocking. Jones-Drew also caught five balls for 26 yards. His shin injury did not seem to hinder his performance at all. However, I’m still not fully sold on Jones-Drew as a full-time back. Some of the shots he took Sunday are felt until Wednesday.
Best Jaguar in a Supporting Role: Torry Holt, wide receiver – Holt had three catches for 47 receiving yards. He seemed to be the only Jaguars’ wide receiver on the field. Holt did have two passes that were broken up, but he was tightly covered. Among Nate Hughes, Mike Sims-Walker and Troy Williamson, they had two receptions for 17 yards. David Garrard needs more than Jones-Drew and Holt as reliable weapons.
Worst Jaguar: Eugene Monroe, starting left offensive tackle – He played very poorly. Even though Monroe went against Dwight Freeney, one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers, Monroe was worked most of the game. He was a constant victim of Freeney’s spin move. Also, Monroe had a crucial false start penalty in the third quarter. In my opinion, starting Monroe this early is too risky. I would have gone with veteran Tra Thomas at left tackle. David Garrard’s bumps and bruises will be the end result. Of course, Garrard will never talk badly about his offensive line.
Best Colt in a Leading Role: Reggie Wayne, wide receiver – He had one of the best receiving outings the Jaguars have experienced in quite some time. Wayne’s ten receptions for 162 yards and one touchdown were the reasons Indianapolis could move the ball consistently. Jacksonville played the game with five and six defensive backs. There was a looming fear that Wayne would be wide open; a number of times that was the case. With games like these, Wayne will make Indy fans quickly forget about Marvin Harrison.
Best Colt in a Supporting Role: Peyton Manning, starting quarterback – The certain Hall of Famer was 28/38 for 301 passing yards and one touchdown. Manning recovered from his only interception by picking apart the Jaguars’ secondary. Primarily, it was because Jacksonville had little push up front with its 3-4 defense. I don’t think Jacksonville has the manpower to succeed with three men on the line of scrimmage. But, Manning looks like the same composed field general as in past years.
Best Sound Editing: “That’s Obama talk!” – Pete Banaszak, one-half of 1010XL’s Jaguars Gameday Postgame Show alongside Cole Pepper, on head coach Jack Del Rio’s coach speak throughout the week.
Best Animated Short (goes to the player with the most passion on the field): Sean Considine, starting safety – He had two chances at interceptions. Considine was around the ball much like he was early in the preseason. His four tackles were hard-earned. But, most importantly, I believe Considine can make Reggie Nelson a better player. Opposing teams will be circling Considine’s No. 37 on game film.
Tweet of the Week (Twitter post): “Excited for my 1st NFL Game!!! Gee I feel like a lil kid!” – Rashad Jennings on Saturday, September 12.
Eight Jaguar Inactives:
Offensive tackle Jordan Black
Wide receiver Jarett Dillard
Guard Kynan Forney
Tight end Zach Miller (knee)
Linebacker Adam Seward
Wide receiver Mike Thomas
Defensive end Julius Williams
Defensive end James Wyche
Other Jaguar notes:
Five Jaguars were captains for the game. They were Maurice Jones-Drew, David Garrard, Reggie Hayward, Rashean Mathis and Montell Owens. Those are solid captain selections.
Rookie Derek Cox had an impressive first half. He intercepted a potential Peyton Manning touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne and recovered a Colts’ fumble. However, Cox allowed a 39-yard pass play to Wayne in the second quarter.
Rookie offensive tackle Eben Britton started on the right side. Britton had some issues with pass rusher Robert Mathis, but impressively held his own.
Quarterback David Garrard was 14/28 for 122 passing yards.
Second-year player Brian Witherspoon is the starting kickoff and punt returner on the unofficial depth chart. He had two kickoff returns for a 27.0 average. Witherspoon fielded one punt for a fair catch.
After its fourth quarter touchdown, Jacksonville failed to get a two-point conversion. Jones-Drew took a direct snap from the shotgun. It’s the first regular-season look at a Jaguars’ Wildcat formation.
Punter Adam Podlesh punted five times for a 37.8-yard average.
Kicker Josh Scobee was 2/3 (24, 46 and missed from 63) on field goals.
Jacksonville forced two turnovers (one interception, one fumble recovery). Both were recovered by Derek Cox.
Jacksonville’s offensive numbers:
12 first downs
228 total yards
26:04 time of possession