It was a chilly November day in Jacksonville, and a day of disappointment for the Jaguars and coach Jack Del Rio.
The Minnesota Vikings rolled into town with every intent of dominating on both sides of the ball, and they did just that.
On defense they held the Jaguars to 35 yards rushing and forced four turnovers, with another coming on special teams when the Jaguars attempted to return a kick and return man Brian Witherspoon put the ball on the ground.
Jaguars quarterback David Garrard, who went 27/45 for 317 yards and a TD, had a decent game until late in the fourth quarter, when he threw two interceptions on consecutive possessions. The game was, however, already out of reach at that point.
The game got out of hand early when Jaguars center Brad Meester fumbled the snap on the first offensive play of the game. Napolean Harris grabbed the lose ball and scampered for a touchdown, making the score 7-0 with 10 seconds run off the clock.
One play later, Brian Witherspoon fumbled the ball on the twenty yard line and the Vikings put it in the endzone in three plays, all of them runs.
After the opening possessions, the Jaguars played pretty good defensive football, keeping Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor in check and the Viking offense honest.
The main problem was the lackluster play of the Jags' own offense. Right tackle Tony Pashos was flagged for holding three times, and on three consecutive drives the Jaguars came close but did not score a touchdown. One good field goal and two Josh Scobee misses ended three offensive possessions.
With just over two minutes left in the first half Gus Frerotte was picked off by safety Gerald Sesabaugh and the Jaguars had an opportunity to make it 14-17 going into the half. They drove the length of the field but were held up near the Vikings' thirty yard line. Scobee came out to attempt the kick, and it soared wide left.
This was about how the game went all day.
The final was 30-12, but it should have been much closer. The Jaguars repeatedly shot themselves in the foot, continually giving a very opportunistic Vikings offense chances to score, and the Vikings obliged.
By the end of the game the stadium was all but empty.
Which makes one wonder, will it be full next season?
The struggling Jaguars are now 4-7, and have fallen far below preseason expectations.
The Vikings are surging at 6-5 and are now tied with the Chicago Bears for first place in a tight NFC North.
Next Monday night the Jaguars will take on the Texans in Houston, while the Vikings will have the Chicago Bears at home on Sunday afternoon, with a chance to take first place in the NFC North.
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