Under-the-radar Jaguars game balls to…

By Os Davis  |   Sunday, November 25, 2007  |  Comments( 0 )

Jacksonville Jaguars
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There's one every year: That team that finishes the season with double digits in the win column yet somehow undiscovered and undiscussed by the media at-large. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2007 Jacksonville Jaguars!

CBS' Kevin Harlan ticked one off the sportscaster cliché list with the first line of the national broadcast, stating the Jaguars-Buffalo Bills game on Sunday had "playoff implications." Perhaps with the definitive 36-14 drubbing administered by Jacksonville, folks are noticing that the implication the 8-3 Jags are making is that they're already in the playoffs and are looking for a comfy soft on the bracket.

No matter if they did this week; if the Indianapolis Colts don't bring their 'A' game next Sunday, lots will be paying prime attention to the AFC's potential No. 3 seed in small-market Florida.

Nice game, Jaguars. Enjoy your stint above the radar, and early wishes of "good luck in the playoffs."

This week, game balls go to...

Offense. Has it really been that long since Fred Taylor was the undisputed go-to guy in the Jaguars' offense? It seems like forever. No matter; Taylor ate up the Bills' defense early and often.

Taylor's 50-yard first-quarter dash for the TD to set Jacksonville's winning pace is the clip that'll make all the highlight reels, to be sure, but check out his work on the Cats' late first-half scoring drive: An 11-yard Taylor run takes the Jaguars into Buffalo territory and forces the Bills to burn a timeout. Two plays later, Taylor makes a nice grab for 9 yards; finally, with the playbook open on second-and-1, Taylor barrels through the gooey soft center of Buffalo for 10, into the red zone at the 15.

All in all, Taylor put in 105 of the Jags' 198 total yards in the first half. On a day when Maurice Jones-Drew goes for 10 yards on 10 carries with most tries amassing negative yardage, Jacksonville needed an effort like this out of Taylor. Game ball.

Incidentally, David Garrard looked pretty good, too. For the second straight week, Garrard turned in a stat line once in absolute opposition to Jaguaresque play, going 23 of 37 for 296 yards, one TD and no picks. Plus, his best effort came well before this one turned into a laugher: Garrard started the game 10 of 13 for 80 yards, and the Jaguars converted 7 of 9 third-down opportunities in the first half. The stat-padding 59-yarder in the fourth to Reggie Williams was just icing on the cake.

For the season, Garrard has improved on his 2006 accuracy by five percentage points and his QB rating has jumped from 80.5 last season to 103.1; most impressive of all, Garrard has thrown exactly zero picks this season. How long before the greater public notices the nice numbers and swell leadership qualities in Garrard? No matter; he'll just keeping leading the Jaguars to victories like this one. Game ball.

Defense. Like Taylor, Justin Durant came ready to play. Snap No. 1 for the Bills saw Durant smother Anthony Thomas for a 4-yard loss, a play that pretty much described the afternoon for Buffalo's offense. Play two had J.P. Losman go to Josh Reed on Durant's side for some hurting and just about 2 yards.

The rookie LB finished with eight tackles and an interception, turning in a nearly perfect game save getting posterized by Thomas on a spin move for the Bills' second-quarter touchdown. Game ball anyway.

Toss one Sammy Knight's direction for his early game interception, his fifth of the year. (His career high for a season is seven.) Jamaal Fudge gets one, too, for his heads-up takeaway "fumble recovery" which averted potential first-half disaster when Jones-Drew couldn't convert on the gutsy fourth-and-1 call.

Finally, how about big Paul Spicer's resurrection? When the behemoth DE picked his 300 pounds up off Losman, statisticians could record Spicer's first sack since his amazing Week 7 performance against Indianapolis, in which he was the only Jaguar who could find Peyton Manning. Where has this guy been? Game ball.

Special teams. The easy choice for the game ball is typically the place-kicker, especially if you're giving fantasy points. But consider the effect Josh Scobee had on the Jaguars on Sunday: His five field goals came on Jacksonville's first five trips inside the red zone. When the offense couldn't punch the ball in - It's slightly baffling why Taylor wasn't gone to more often when in scoring position, but hindsight is 20/20, eh? - Scobee got the job done. Game ball.

Next week, the game that pretty much determines the Jaguars' fate this season. Bring on the Colts!

Givin' 'em all a game ball year-round at RealFootball365.com
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About Os Davis

Os Davis has taken a twisted route to get to RealFootball365.com in his nearly 17 years in professional writing, working in any number of capacities in the sportswriting, news reporting and film criticism worlds. In print media, Os has served as editor at a few publications, including Albuquerque's...
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