Cardiac Cats: Jacksonville Jaguars Down Oakland Raiders 38-31

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Cardiac Cats: Jacksonville Jaguars Down Oakland Raiders 38-31
Photos by Russell Griner

The Jaguars defeated the Raiders on a gloomy Sunday afternoon by the final score of 38-31. Jacksonville's win lifts them to 8-5, and keeps them one game ahead of the 7-6 Colts in the AFC South.

Both teams got after the opposing quarterback early, Jacksonville ended the second quarter with three sacks and eight hurries, while the Raiders were able to take down David Garrard twice, with seven hurries and six hits.

In the third quarter, the Jaguars hit their stride.

"We have some special players," said head coach Jack Del Rio. "We wanted some special plays from our special teams, and we got them today. We needed them."

The Jags' special teams made three game-altering plays during the game. Two big returns sandwiched around a forced fumble allowed Jacksonville to score quickly at the end of the third, capping off a 21-point third quarter, tying the team record for points in a single quarter.

It would not be the only franchise record to fall yesterday afternoon. Running backs Maurice Jones-Drew and Rashad Jennings both ran for over 100 yards and a touchdown apiece, making it the third game in a row to cap 200 rushing yards, a team record. After the game, Jones-Drew was very open about his team: "We make it happen. This is a good group of guys, and when we come together and play, good things happen."

Photos by Russell Griner

The rushing attack for the Jaguars was necessary to overcome stellar plays from the Raiders, who at one point were in position to put the game away early, before clumsy play and turnovers led to their demise. Campbell finished the day 21 of 30 for 324 yards and two touchdowns, and running back Darren McFadden had 209 all-purpose yards, including two huge breakaway plays, a 51-yard rush and 67-yard catch, both for touchdowns.

"Big losses always come down to mistakes," said McFadden after the game. "We played hard, but we lost, they were the better team today."

Paired with a San Diego win later in the afternoon, the loss drops Oakland to third in another tight AFC West division race, still only two games back of first.

Oakland has Denver at home next week, and Jacksonville will travel to Indianapolis in a huge AFC South division bout.

"Our preparations for Indy start tomorrow," added Del Rio. "But I would be lying if I said it wasn't in the back of my head already."

Notes:

—Jacksonville tied two franchise records on Sunday, most points in a quarter, most consecutive games with at least 200 yards rushing.

—David Garrard threw his 18th, 19th and 20th touchdown passes of the season, tying his career high for a season with three games left to play, and tying him with Mark Brunell for the franchise record in a season. Brunell reached 20 TDs twice, in 1998 and 2000.

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