For 59 minutes, Blaine Gabbert could not find a rhythm, hit an open receiver or give us any indication he was an NFL quarterback. And in one shining moment, he looked like the second coming of Dan Fouts.
While the Jacksonville Jaguars' 22-17 win over Indianapolis was needed, it still exposed the team’s weaknesses on both offense and defense.
But as most ball coaches would say, a win is a win. Only this one took the entire game to develop.
Gabbert, who hit Cecil Shorts on an 80-yard pass play with 45 seconds remaining in the contest, may have something to build on heading into next week’s home game with Cincinnati.
They call it momentum.
Add to the fact the Jaguars rode the legs of their star, Maurice Jones-Drew and his 177 yards on the ground, and this team may in fact be able to ride the crest of victory in hopes of adding to their win total.
First, they must correct a few things like a sluggish offensive output through the air and a porous defense that allowed rookie quarterback Andrew Luck to pick his shots at times, run from the pocket for important first downs and make rookies like T.Y. Hilton look like Wes Welker.
Think what could have happened if the Colts still had No. 18 behind center?
In all fairness to the Jaguars, injuries have beleaguered them this season so far, and they are still on the mend while also still learning to play in head coach Mike Mularkey's offensive system. They are certainly not the Atlanta Falcons of the AFC and while Gabbert did take a step forward today, fans and coaches have to hope he can take another step forward against the Bengals again this coming week.
More than baby steps, but not giant leaps. Somewhere in the middle at least, please. The Jaguars offense showed life in the second half, relying on a running game that was aided by better blocking up front. But when it came right down to it, there were more of the same problems that existed on defense last week, when poor tackling or open space created holes for the Colts to move the ball down the field.
Still a win is a win, right? Another week of preparation helps, and starters like Eben Britton, Daryl Smith and key reserve Rashad Jennings will return to the lineup. Strength in numbers is always a good thing.
We also need to see some other changes if we want to keep the momentum going. This team definitely has a chance to be better on the offensive side. Cecil Shorts needs to become more involved in the passing game.
If the offensive line can show more blocking in pass protection and they can find a way to get Laurent Robinson and Justin Blackmon (who looked good as a blocker) more catches for each of them, then Gabbert could be developing into something better than fodder for jokes and inept pass routes.
Now, if we could just figure out how to improve the defense, which has lots of potential, but is inconsistent, then maybe we could talk about a winning season rather than just how the Jaguars escaped with a win and how they can keep themselves above water.
Then again, a few weeks from now, all the fans will remember is this was a win against a division rival and a road win at that. Hopefully this team will have progressed enough that the amnesia from this game and win will never wear off.