It was arguably the ugliest game in Monday Night Football history, but the Jaguars found salvation in the form of a suffocating defense -- and Josh Scobee’s foot.
Despite a lackluster performance by the offense, Jacksonville kicked its way to a 12-7 upset win over the Baltimore Ravens, as Scobee hit all four field goal attempts and, combined with a defense that allowed fewer than 200 total yards, helped the Jaguars snap a five-game losing streak.
Let’s first get something straight -- this game was ugly. Actually, ugly might be a generous way to describe it. At times, the quality of play from both teams was horrid, but in the end it was the Jaguars who found enough timely offense to generate the points needed to come away with the win.
Defensively the Jaguars put together a performance to build off of. The unit didn’t allow a first down until the third quarter and forced two turnovers, including a game-sealing interception off Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in the final minutes.
Daryl Smith was outstanding, leading the way with six tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in the victory. Smith, along with Dawan Landry, Clint Session and Rashean Mathis, were instrumental in keeping Flacco and running back Ray Rice off the scoreboard, a task they accomplished for nearly 58 minutes. It’s clear this unit isn’t full of superstar names, but when firing on all cylinders, they’re among the best in the AFC.
* Of the Ravens’ first nine drives, the Jaguars allowed zero first downs and either a punt or a turnover on the initial 11. Two of Baltimore’s drives resulted in negative yardage including one for -33 yards.
On the flip side, things are still a ways from even being competitive. Blaine Gabbert has another start under his belt, and though he showed some maturity by staying longer in the pocket, his completion percentage needs to improve as does his ability to make reads down the field, both of which will likely get better with time.
There are some concerns with Maurice Jones-Drew. The tiny tailback did push past 100 yards, but fumbled the ball a career-high three times, a trend he’ll want to extinguish soon if the Jaguars are to progress.
It wasn’t pretty, but as the cliche goes, a win is a win. Jacksonville moves to 2-5 on the year and travels to Houston next weekend before its bye week.
As for the Ravens, they return home to host the Cardinals so we’ll have a look at them tomorrow.