By: Rob Johnson@RJ1452
Last week, I wrote that Sunday's game against the Packers was huge for Blaine Gabbert. He was injured. He's been underperforming. He needed to begin making fans believe in him.
Gabbert's career-best 303 yard passing performance was almost everything I've been expecting from the second-year signal caller. His 27 of 49 passing (9 of which were drops) and 1 touchdown day wasn't perfect, and there were still too many bad throws, especially on the two-point conversion attempt. Nevertheless, Gabbert looked like the quarterback that could lead the Jaguars back to respectability.
The rest of the Jags also played probably their best game as a group. The defensive line only had two sacks, but they forced a fumble deep in Green Bay territory that led to a touchdown on one of those sacks. They looked hungry and played as if they had a lot to prove, which they still do. It seemed like a different unit.
Speaking of looking different, kudos to the defensive backs. It was great to see them hold their own against Aaron Rodgers. I watched him shred the Rams last week en route to 334 yards, 3 touchdowns and a 81% completion percentage. He could have done that to the Jaguars, but he didn't. Mike Harris, Aaron Ross and crew played a good game. In fact, Harris and Ross made back-to-back tackles, early in the third quarter, that were two of the most memorable plays of the season from the defensive backfield.
Sunday was also a big day for the receiving corps. Finally, we saw production, despite those nine drops, from multiple players. Cecil Shorts continued to show his potential with 116 yards on 8 catches, and Justin Blackmon also had a career yardage game with 67 on 4 catches. Blackmon could have been a lot more effective, if he would have held on to the ball more. Perhaps, Sunday is the beginning of Blackmon being a consistent offensive threat.
It was also good to see Marcedes Lewis being involved, and Mike Thomas had a season-high 4 receptions. In all, Gabbert threw to eight different players, including Guy Whimper. The touchdown catch from Whimper shouldn't be overlooked for two reasons.
One, he had to make a diving catch, so the rest of the offensive line should buy him a framed photograph of that grab. Maybe, a picture should hang on a wall of the Jags' facility. Two, that play was set up on the Jaguars' first full drive of the second quarter. Whimper reported as an eligible receiver then, so the formation at the goal line wasn't an obvious red flag for the Packers.
Despite all of the fluff I've written to this point, the final score of 21-15 in favor of the Packers shouldn't be overlooked. The only thing that truly matters are victories, and the Jaguars have now let three wins slip away from them this season.
Did the Packers take the Jaguars lightly and that is what led to the win opportunity on Sunday? Probably. That doesn’t matter.
The Jags had a legitimate chance to beat the Packers, but they didn't seize the moment. However, if they continue to play like that and make improvements, being at EverBank for the remaining games will be worthwhile.
• The low hit that Clay Matthews put on Gabbert should result in a fine.
• A punter drafted in the third round should never have a punt blocked...
• The 60 Minutessegment on Shahid Khan was very good. As I've written previously, I hope he re-emerges and remains public to speak about team and management problems and perceptions.
• Watching the St. Louis Rams get shellacked in London and seeing multiple team jerseys worn by fans highlighted that the Jaguars must be a winning franchise to make a foothold in Europe and have the multi-level success Mr. Khan desires.
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