Ouch: West Coast Woes Continue for Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars (6-5) dropped another game on the West Coast by losing 20-3 to the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on Sunday. The 49ers (5-6) snapped the Jaguars’ three-game winning streak with solid play from quarterback Alex Smith, the No. 1 overall pick in 2005.
Mistakes were the story of the day for Jacksonville. The Jaguars struggled mightily on third down efficiency (3-for-12) and in the red zone (0-for-4). In addition to those, the Jaguars committed six penalties for a total of 60 yards.
Quarterback David Garrard passed for 307 yards, but fumbled twice in key situations. Plus, running back Maurice Jones-Drew was held in check and was unable to break any explosive runs because of the 49ers’ stout run defense.
The Jaguars return home this Sunday, December 6th, to play the Houston Texans (5-6) at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. It’s the first game in a three-game homestretch for Jacksonville.
Now, on to the Awards…
Final Play of the Game: Kicker Josh Scobee missed a 21-yard field goal off the left upright in the fourth quarter. After the miss, the game was all but over. It was Jacksonville’s third failed attempt at scoring in the red zone. Scobee was one for three on field goals – making from 32, missing the 21-yarder and a 40-yarder wide left. For the season, he is 12/20 on field goals. Scobee’s 60 percent field goal percentage this year is the worst so far out of his career. Another weak performance such as this and Jacksonville will have to interview other potential kickers.
Best Director (goes to Jaguar coach or coordinator): No one will be awarded Best Director this week. I did not see anything that warranted me giving this award to someone. It will sit on my mantel instead.
Best Jaguar in a Leading Role: Daryl Smith, starting middle linebacker – I could have passed on giving this award to anyone, too. But, Smith played hard-nosed football all day. He never let up, and that’s been his style all season. Smith made six tackles for a defense that contained running back Frank Gore (23 touches, 47 total yards, one receiving touchdown), one of the league’s best. Smith is the Jaguars’ leader on defense. He makes that well-known when he puts a wallop on opponents. They “feel” his leadership skills on Monday morning.
Best Jaguar in a Supporting Role: Maurice Jones-Drew, starting running back – What a game to notch one’s first 1,000-yard rushing season. Fortunately, for Jones-Drew, he did it in front of tons of friends and family. Jones-Drew touched the ball 20 times for 110 total yards. Avoiding statistics, the one attribute of Jones-Drew’s that I never truly noticed until this year is his never-say-die attitude. He made numerous down-field blocks when I thought he was out of the picture. Jones-Drew could possibly be the most complete back in the NFL. His blocks are almost as entertaining as his touchdown celebrations.
Mediocre Jaguar: David Garrard, starting quarterback – His two fumbles will be mentioned well before his third 300-yard passing game of the season is. Against the 49ers, Garrard was throwing the sharpest ball I’ve seen him throw. His passes were right on target. He found eight different receivers on Sunday. More importantly, Garrard has to throw the ball out of bounds when the pocket is closing and defenders are nearby. And, his taking so many hits can only hurt the Jaguars. If Garrard goes down, the season is over.
Best 49er in a Leading Role: Alex Smith, starting quarterback – Jacksonville’s defense made Smith look like an actual No. 1 overall draft pick. He was 27/41 for 232 yards and two passing touchdowns. Smith utilized tight ends Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker and rookie wide receiver Michael Crabtree. The 49ers should stick with elements of the spread offense if it makes it easier on Smith, which I think it does. But, to be fair, no quarterback could succeed if he went through five different offensive coordinators in five straight years – like Smith has.
Best 49er in a Supporting Role: Patrick Willis, starting inside linebacker – He contributed on 11 tackles and rattled David Garrard numerous times. Although Willis contributed half a sack out of the 49ers’ six, his presence was more dominant. Willis was the main reason Maurice Jones-Drew had a somewhat quiet day. According to 49ers’ head coach Mike Singletary, Willis has Hall-of-Fame potential. At 24 and having already been to two Pro Bowls, I believe Singletary is correct about Willis. Willis, an Ole Miss product, makes watching football fun.
Best Sound Editing: “I gotta, you know, do a better job of taking care of the ball, knowing when people are around me, tucking away or getting the ball out faster.” – quarterback David Garrard on his play against the 49ers.
Best Animated Short (goes to the player with the most passion on the field): Sean Considine, starting safety – There were multiple defensive players who caught my eye on Sunday. In my opinion, it is a unit that’s improving weekly. But, Considine brings a presence in the secondary that reminds me of a mix between Sammy Knight and Donovin Darius. Considine landed a shot on Vernon Davis in the second quarter that I’m sure was heard in Oakland. Just to make it clear – Considine is a better free agent acquisition than both Drayton Florence and Jerry Porter combined.
Tweet of the Week (Twitter post): “Happy late Thanksgiving! How time with family was good along with the food just landed in San Fran! 1st over here.” – running back Rashad Jennings on Friday, November 27th. His Thanksgiving meal must have empowered him to get four touches for 36 total yards.
Cornerback Michael Coe
Wide receiver Nate Hughes
Defensive tackle Derek Landri
Cornerback Rashean Mathis (groin)
Offensive tackle Paul McQuistan
Defensive tackle Greg Peterson
Offensive tackle Tra Thomas
Offensive tackle Maurice Williams
Other Jaguar notes:
For the second straight week, cornerback Tyron Brackenridge started in place of the injured Rashean Mathis. Brackenridge had three solo tackles and two pass deflections. Minus the 98-yard touchdown last week to Terrell Owens, Brackenridge has been a very good replacement for Mathis.
Center Brad Meester tied former running back Fred Taylor for second all-time with 140 starts as a Jacksonville Jaguar. Meester is the top lead-by-example Jaguar. His work ethic, drive and leadership skills are not emphasized enough.
Defensive end Julius Williams recorded his first career NFL start Sunday. He did not make it on the stat sheet. However, Williams will be remembered for getting stuck in between coverage as tight end Vernon Davis caught a 3-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.
After a four-catch, 50-yard day, wide receiver Torry Holt is now 10th all-time in the NFL for receiving yards (13,226) and receptions (911).
Wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker had a below average day – finishing with four receptions for 46 yards although he was targeted nine times. On Sunday, he was flagged twice for a false start and offensive pass interference. At least he played this time on the West Coast.
The Jaguars’ defense did not record a sack against the 49ers. San Francisco’s offensive line had allowed at least one sack in 17 consecutive regular-season games – an NFL record. Jacksonville helped end that streak.
Rookie wide receiver Mike Thomas caught four balls for a career-high 62 yards. If special teams wasn’t so dangerous, I would start Thomas as both the kick and punt returner. However, he is too valuable. Thomas is a spark plug for the offense.
Tight end Marcedes Lewis made three catches for 40 yards. He is slowly turning into the pass-catching tight end the Jaguars drafted under Shack Harris.