by Cole Pepper
October 6, 2013
The Jaguars dropped to 0-5 for the first time in team history with a two touchdown loss to the Rams in St. Louis. Here are my takeaways from the game:
Luke Joeckel’s first start at left tackle was less than memorable. With 3:35 left in the first quarter, Joeckel, the 2nd overall pick in the 2013 draft, went down with a right leg injury. The Jaguars say that it is an broken ankle and that he’s out for the season. Cam Bradfield, who had been splitting time with Austen Pasztor at right tackle, moved to left tackle. On the next play, Robert Quinn rushed around Bradfield, disrupted Gabbert, who threw an interception which was returned for a touchdown by Matt Giordano.
Justin Blackmon Makes an Impact in Return. After sitting out the first four games of the season due to a league suspension, Blackmon caught a pass over the middle and went 67 yards for the game’s first touchdown. Blackmon finished with five catches for 136 yards and the one touchdown.
Gabbert’s Return to St. Louis. The television broadcast ran with this storyline, but frankly, this didn’t mean anyting. It’s not like Gabbert is an accomplished quarterback looking for revenge playing against his hometown team that spurned him. It’s one of those story lines that almost has to be covered, but rarely amounts to anything meaningful during the game.
Sanders Shows his Hand. Ace Sanders had an 88 yard punt return for a touchdown called back on a questionable block in the back call.
Play of the Game: You can make the case that it’s the play on which Joeckel’s season came to an end. You can make the case that the penalty on the punt return may have changed the game, but I think you have to go with the pick-six. After that, Gabbert didn’t look like he was into the game. He left the game for a couple of injuries, including a hamstring and a left hand injury.
Player of the Game (Jaguars): Blackmon, who made an immediate and sustained impact on the game for the Jaguars.
What’s next? Now at 0-5, the Jaguars don’t know who their quarterback or left tackle will be at the end of the season. The Jaguars travel to Denver to face the undefeated Broncos and they figure to be the biggest underdogs in NFL history. The Jaguars are an example of how parity can be brushed aside by a team in a rebuilding mode.