Jaguars fans, I feel your pain. I understand your frustration and even your anger. Your team lost a game to the Vikings it should have won.
Still, there were more positives from the 26-23 overtime lost at Minnesota than I’ve seen from the Jaguars in a long time.
First and foremost, quarterback Blaine Gabbert looked the best, by far, he’s ever looked. He looked like an NFL quarterback who could win.
Despite three drops, the receivers as a group looked better than they have in years. Tight end Marcedes Lewis caught every pass, including one for a TD, thrown his way. Maurice Jones-Drew, seven days removed from his couch, was used more than expected and responded with a solid game. The coaching wasn’t perfect, but it clearly was an improvement from what you’ve seen. Left tackle Eugene Monroe, after a shaky start, shined against the Vikes’ sack master, Jared Allen.
The Jaguars should have won even though they had those drops; even though Gabbert missed a wide open Justin Blackmon for a sure fire touchdown and fumbled a center snap; even though there was a blocked extra point kick.
I’m not ready to put the Jaguars in the playoffs – I haven’t lost my mind – but I’m more encouraged about their season than I was Sunday morning.
The pass rush was anemic and unless it improves the Jaguars are going to make every quarterback they face look like an All Pro. If injuries continue to beset the offensive line there will gloomy days ahead.
I hear you screaming, fans. Why’d the Jaguars go to a “prevent defense” in those final 14 seconds? (This is one of those rare times I agreed with using the “prevent” even though it didn’t work.) Why’d they throw the ball on 3rd-and-2 on their final two plays in overtime? (Hindsight always wins play-calling debates.)
The Vikings, by the way, deserve some credit. Rookie Blair Walsh’s game-tying 55-yard field goal was impressive. Quarterback Christian Ponder played well. Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin burn a lot of defenses.
Yeah, the loss hurts, but based on the first game the Jaguars are headed in the right direction. There’s a saying you are what your record says you are. That’s not necessarily true – particularly after one game.