Week 8 Game Recap: Jacksonville Jaguars 13, Philadelphia Eagles 6
What you need to know
With a steady wind at 24 miles per hour and gust over 57 MPH, the Jaguars had extra incentive to take the air out of the ball and go with a conservative gameplan. Regular starting quarterback Byron Leftwich was relegated to third string with his ankle issue, leaving David Garrard to fill in under center against the Eagles. Garrard helped implement a gameplan based on running the ball and minimizing mistakes in the passing game.
RBs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew did much of that work on the ground, rushing for 103 and 77 yards, respectively. Fred Taylor got the Jaguars on the scoreboard on their first drive, scoring from 15 yards and barely getting a finger laid upon him in the process. After falling on the ball on a run in the second half, Taylor was given time to rest while the bulk of the workload went to Jones-Drew. Despite a first quarter fumble and nearly losing the handle on the football multiple times afterward, Jones-Drew was able to hold on and rush 16 times for 68 yards in the second half. The running game kept Philadelphia’s offense on the sideline as Jacksonville controlled the game and the clock with more than twice as many rushing play calls as passing downs.
With the emphasis on running the ball, all Jacksonville receivers had minimal games. After Jones-Drew’s three catches, only WR Matt Jones and TE George Wrighster had more than one catch. Jones, returning from an injury that had cost him the previous two games, led all Jaguars with just 32 yards receiving.
Given the windy conditions, Jacksonville went for the first down on fourth down on three occasions in what normally would have been field goal range. PK Josh Scobee was able to make a 40 yard field goal, however, in addition to a 27 yarder despite adverse conditions.
After dealing with oppressive temperatures on the road in Tampa Bay in Week 7, the Eagles returned to Lincoln Financial Field only to be greeted by stiff winds. This was not good news for Philadelphia, a team that passes first to set up the ground attack.
The gale forces were not the only thing to slap the Eagles in the face, as the Jaguars limited the NFL’s best offense to well under their normal output of over 417 yards per game. QB Donovan McNabb’s first pass of the game was dropped by WR Reggie Brown, a sign of what was in store for the Eagles in Week 8. Philadelphia came into the game leading the league in dropped passes, and they added five more to that total against Jacksonville. The Eagles struggled for the entire first half, failing to not only score but not even getting a first down for the first 21 minutes of the game.
RB Brian Westbrook was the biggest contributor to the Eagles after McNabb, rushing 13 times and adding a team high eight catches. Unlike in Week 7 where Westbrook amassed over 200 yards on just 20 touches, he was limited to 38 yards rushing and only 68 more receiving and was held out of the end zone.
WR Donte’ Stallworth returned to the starting lineup for Philadelphia, and he was the leading receiver for the Eagles after Westbrook. WR Reggie Brown caught just one pass, as no Eagles’ receiver caught a ball until after halftime.
The biggest issue for the Eagles was their inability to stop Jacksonville’s rushing attack. The Jaguars seemed to run at will against them, racking up a gaudy 209 yards on 46 carries, including 13 rushing first downs and the lone touchdown of the game.
What you ought to know
|QB David Garrard, Pass: 10 - 17 - 87 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 8 - 36 - 0|
Garrard started in place of the injured QB Byron Leftwich, and he was able to manage the game just enough for Jacksonville to post the victory. Garrard was not asked to do too much as a passer, as he threw just 17 times for under 100 yards. He contributed much more as a rusher, gaining 36 yards and scrambling for four first downs. His longest run of 13 yards came on the opening drive, where he picked up a key first down on fourth down from the Eagles’ 28 yard line.
Garrard was limited as a passer not just by the gameplan but also due to very high winds. He was accurate with the ball, as nearly all of his passes were catchable (two were dropped) and one throw was purely to avoid a sack. Should Leftwich miss more time under center, Garrard has proven to be a viable and serviceable replacement quarterback.
Leftwich did not play in Week 8 due to a nagging ankle injury. He was relegated to the third string QB behind starter David Garrard and Quinn Gray.
Jones-Drew had just nine yards on five carries in the first half, but what was more telling was his fumble on his third carry of the game. The Eagles seemed to strip the ball rather easily from his grip, and with blood in the water the sharks circled Jones-Drew for the rest of the day. On many occasions, he was barely able to hold on to the ball and keep it from popping out for a second time.
Jones-Drew was used more as a receiver out of the backfield in the first half, catching three of five targets for a combined 20 yards. He was pressed into extra service as a runner when starting RB Fred Taylor left the game after falling hard on top of the ball in the third quarter. Jones-Drew, usually given a modest workload in most games anyway, delivered 68 yards on 16 carries for the second half.
|RB Fred Taylor, Rush: 15 - 103 - 1, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (2 targets)|
Taylor got things off to a strong start for Jacksonville, as he ran four times on their opening series for 34 yards. The culmination of the drive was a 15 yard touchdown for Taylor on which he was hardly touched due to such an incredible job of blocking by his offensive line and FB Derrick Wimbush. Taylor added five more official carries for 33 more yards before halftime, but he also had a 54 yard touchdown run that was called back due to a penalty. Taylor also lost a five yard catch on another penalty call. His 72 yards rushing and a touchdown for the first half proved to be more than enough offense for Jacksonville.
Taylor added 23 yards on just two carries in the third quarter, but he fell hard on top of the ball on the second carry and left the game until the final period. He added just two more carries for the game in the fourth quarter for eight more yards.
Pearman was given one carry in the fourth quarter, but he failed to gain any yardage. He was also the punt return specialist for Jacksonville in Week 8.
Jones returned from missing two games due to injury, and he led all wide receivers in receiving. Unfortunately for Jones, that did not take much, as the Jaguars were very conservative in their gameplanning. Jones caught an eight yard pass in the second quarter for a first down, and later added a 24 yard catch and run in the fourth quarter. The 24 yard catch was the longest pass play of the game for Jacksonville and was also good for another first down.
Williams caught his first target in Week 8 for a 13 yard gain and a first down. His next two targets came on consecutive plays in the second quarter, but he dropped both. Neither pass was for much yardage, but they were both catchable balls. Williams was not targeted the rest of the game, but he was given a chance on an end around on the first drive of the third quarter. He proceeded to fumble the handoff but was able to recover it for a seven yard loss.
Wilford was targeted twice in Week 8, first as a deep threat in the opening period. He later reeled in a 16 yard catch in the third quarter, but he was unable to pick up the extra yard that would have resulted in a first down.
Hankton was targeted once on a deep pass of about 30 yards in the first quarter, but he was unable to catch up to the ball.
Wrighster was targeted three times for short yardage. He snared two of the three for a combined four yards, with the third getting swatted away by a defender.
Scobee was successful on all of his kicks, which is noteworthy in that the weather was terrible for kicking. With gusts over 50 miles per hour, Jacksonville did not want to attempt any long field goals, but on a fourth and long Scobee nailed a kick from 40 yards. He later added a 27 yard field goal to compliment his extra point, giving him seven points for the day.
The Eagles ran for just 48 yards combined by their running backs, with RB Brian Westbrook gaining only 38 yards on 13 tries. QB Donovan McNabb added 37 more yards, but Jacksonville held the Eagles to 85 yards rushing and just four first downs.
Jacksonville held the Eagles to just 142 net yards passing, sacking QB Donovan McNabb four times and applying pressure all day. Assisted by high winds, the Eagles could not throw the ball deep accurately, so the Jaguars could play more aggressive on shorter passes.
|QB Donovan McNabb, Pass: 18 - 34 - 161 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 37 - 0|
McNabb struggled to move the Eagles for most of the game. Philadelphia failed to get a first down for over 21 minutes, going three and out for their first four possessions. McNabb put the ball in the hands of his receivers more often than not, but he was let down by his teammates as they dropped five balls in Week 8, a problem that has the Eagles leading the league in dropped passes.
McNabb attempted a few longer passes, including a great play action fake that had WR Reggie Brown open for what would have been a 44 yard touchdown in the second quarter. While it was not possible to tell by just watching the play, it is possible that the gusty winds had an effect on the throw. With winds gusting over 50 miles per hour, McNabb had to focus on short and medium routes. He attempted only one other long pass to WR Hank Baskett which also fell incomplete.
McNabb added yardage once again by scrambling, rushing for 37 yards on five attempts. At times he was forced to run, as he was pressured often and sacked four times. McNabb took the blame for the loss after the contest, labeling the performance as “embarrassing”, but his decisions and passes were not poor decisions. The entire offense seemed to not click in Week 8, which in part reflected poorly on McNabb.
Westbrook was the featured playmaker for the Eagles, which should come as no surprise to those who follow the Philadelphia offense. Westbrook touched the ball 21 times, 13 as a rusher, and again led the team in targets with eleven. Unlike his Week 7 performance against Tampa Bay, Westbrook struggled to gain yardage. He averaged under three yards per carry in gaining just 38 yards on the ground. Westbrook fared better as a receiver, catching 8 passes for 68 yards including a long of 26 in the second quarter. That lengthy catch and run was unimportant for the sake of the game, as it came on the final play before halftime with the Eagles well out of scoring range.
Westbrook dropped two passes in the waning minutes of the game as Philadelphia desperately tried to get back into the contest. Despite catching over 75% of his targets, those drops stood out in his performance.
Buckhalter was used once again to provide RB Brian Westbrook with some rest and also as a change of pace runner for the Eagles. Buckhalter ran the ball once in the second and another time in the third quarter for a total of 10 yards. He also caught three short passes interspersed throughout the game, gaining 11 yards on two plays and losing six more on a busted screen pass.
Stallworth was able to return to the starting lineup after missing three weeks with a hamstring injury. He was targeted five times for the game, once each in the first two quarters. While the first pass was too short to be caught, Stallworth was able to get his hands on the second ball. It would have been a very good catch, but it looked like he just dropped it. Stallworth did far better on his final three targets, all in the fourth quarter. He converted all three to gains of ten or more yards and a first down each time, racking up 56 total yards.
Lewis caught one short pass in the third quarter for a first down. It was his only target of the game.
Brown was targeted on the first pass of the game from QB Donovan McNabb, and he dropped the short slant pass that hit him squarely in the hands. His second target did not come until the second period, where McNabb did a great job selling play action and just overthrew Brown in the end zone for what would have been a 44 yard touchdown. It was not possible to determine if the winds were a factor on that play.
Brown had four more targets in the third quarter, and after another drop he finally caught one for 13 yards and a first down. The third ball that came his way was actually tipped at the line and never got close to Brown. The last target was in the end zone, but a Jaguars’ defender prevented a touchdown.
Avant was officially credited with two targets in Week 8, but only the first should count for anything. Avant was thrown towards on a short route over the middle that was tightly contested by Jacksonville, and some Eagles wanted a pass interference call. The second target was a throw out of bounds by QB Donovan McNabb, and Avant had no chance whatsoever to make a play.
Baskett had just one ball thrown to him in Week 8. He ran a deep route in the fourth quarter and QB Donovan McNabb tried to throw the ball about 45 yards in the air as the Eagles had the ball just beyond midfield, but Baskett could not run underneath the ball to make the catch.
Schobel caught one short pass for four yards in the fourth quarter. His lone target of the game gave the Eagles a first down.
Smith was targeted three times against the Jaguars, all across the middle of the field. The first two came in the second quarter, with the first sailing behind him on his route. Smith grabbed the second for an 11 yard gain and a first down. His third and final target was nearly intercepted by the Jaguars, and Smith did well to keep that from happening.
Akers connected on both short field goals, neither of which were too challenging despite the high winds. Akers used his strong leg to muscle two field goals of 25 and 28 yards through the uprights in the second half.
This is where Jacksonville won the game. The Jaguars set the tone early, running at will and scoring on their first drive. RB Fred Taylor had 103 yards and RB Maurice Jones-Drew added 77 as Jacksonville ran 46 times for 209 yards as a team. With 13 first downs on the ground, the Jaguars controlled the game and the clock.
With strong winds gusting to over 50 miles per hour, Jacksonville decided to take the air out of the ball as part of their conservative gameplan. Already without starting QB Byron Leftwich, backup starter David Garrard threw just 17 times for 87 yards. The Eagles did not put very much pressure on Garrard, but that is due in part to the Jacksonville play calling for short routes and fast releases. The Eagles recorded just one sack (Split between LB Dhani Jones and DL Trent Cole) and no interceptions.