Jaguars vs. Raiders Take 2: Jacksonville Comes Unglued in the 2nd Half
Cary Emondson-US PRESSWIRE
For a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars, there are only so many wins on the schedule.
Here's what the tape showed upon a second viewing.
The Real Story
Oakland desperately wanted the Jaguars to win this game.
The Raiders couldn't have done any more to help the Jaguars take home a victory if they had put it in a gift bag along with a gift card from Starbucks.
They committed nine penalties.
They fumbled four times and threw an interception.
Still, despite all the hometown generosity they could muster, Jacksonville simply refused to win the game.
The meme out there right after the game ended was that Blaine Gabbert was playing great and Chad Henne came in and blew it.
That's about half right. Gabbert had the one long pass to Cecil Shorts for a score, but aside from the random bomb (which we knew he could throw), the rest of his performance was fairly typical.
The Jaguars were bequeathed at least 13 points in this game via Raiders turnovers, and Gabbert was helped by the first seven of those points.
Despite losing Maurice Jones-Drew and Gabbert to injury, the Jaguars still could have won the game. They were one play away from stopping Oakland, but a pass interference call on fourth down crushed their hopes.
It was as maddening a loss as a team could have and an unfortunate sign of exactly where the Jaguars stand through seven games.
Paul Posluszny had an outstanding game at linebacker. He was active and in the backfield, regularly getting pressure. He finished the game with seven tackles.
The entire Jaguars front four played strong, with Jeremy Mincey and Terrance Knighton both picking up sacks.
Obviously, Henne reached new levels of bad in this game. With only 71 yards on 20 throws and repeated opportunities to score on short fields, his play was just so putrid that it's almost unfair to mention anyone else.
Aaron Ross picked up a bad pass-interference penalty in the end zone on fourth down late in the game. Had he been able to defend without grabbing, the Jaguars would have won.
Shorts gets the goat tag despite his big touchdown early. His fumble in overtime and back-breaking pass-interference call in regulation helped doom the Jaguars.
With just over 12 minutes to play in the game, the Jaguars had a 10-point lead. Oakland had the football on its own 8-yard line.
Pressure on Carson Palmer forced him to dump off to his tight end for a short gain on 3rd-and-long, theoretically giving the Jags the ball back with a chance to put the game way.
Instead, Andre Branch whapped Palmer on the top of the helmet.
The 15-yard personal foul call kept the drive alive, and Oakland eventually went in for a field goal to cut the Jags' lead to just a single touchdown.
Mike Mularkey deserves major credit for his fourth-down call early in the game, and his decision to onside kick in the first half was genius.
The fourth-down attempt failed in part because Henne just tossed the ball out of bounds, a ridiculous decision under the circumstances.
Mularkey erred later in the game, however.
With 36 seconds to play, Jacksonville had the ball at midfield. On 4th-and-3, he elected to punt to Oakland, playing for overtime.
A conversion there could have led to a win for the Jaguars. Given how terrible Henne had been all game, it was ridiculous to expect the Jaguars to ever penetrate so deeply into Raiders territory again.
The best chance to win the game was in front of him, and he punted.
As it was, the Raiders nearly won the game in regulation, just missing a long field goal, and even though the Jaguars won the toss, they turned it over on the first possession.
Punting was a mistake, but given the way Mularkey coached most of the day, it's hard to criticize him too much.
Keep An Eye On...
The Jaguars won't beat the Green Bay Packers in Week 8, but watch both of the next two home games.
Obviously, health will be an issue going forward for the Jaguars, and if Gabbert misses any time, there's little hope for the team to win another game.
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