Initial Impressions: Jaguars Play Steelers Close, Lose 17-13
Welp, turns out the wiley old Steelers still know how to put a good defense on the field. And a pretty solid running game/vertical passing game, too. The Jaguars fought back valiantly, holding the Steelers to no points and 55 total yards in the second half and giving themselves a chance for a last-minute win when they got the ball with about one minute left and down four points. Jacksonville fell short, however, and collected their fifth consecutive loss, putting the 2011 season into dire straights.
There were plenty of bright points today – Paul Posluszny played a hard fought game, John Chick continues to look like he could be a real contributor on the D-line, and Blaine Gabbert continues to make some snazzy throws. But it all feels pretty empty at this point, does it not? This season has quickly gone from hopefully being our breakout year as the Gene Smith draft picks begin to mature into watching Blaine Gabbert develop and take his lumps as he hopefully grows into a dominant starting quarterback that can lead the Jaguars to better days. I said it last week, but the David Garrard situation really took this season for a rough turn – hoping that he could give us one more year like 2007 and Blaine Gabbert could slowly learn the offense and get comfortable and win the starting job in the 2012 Training Camp. No doubt, if a 2007-level Garrard was playing with this running game and this defense, then we wouldn’t be sitting at 1-5 and already hoping things click for us next year. But he was not the same quarterback and he couldn’t even give us more than Luke McCown and a very green rookie. So that’s that.
The truth is we can find plenty of positives about today and I’ll probably try to hit some of those in tomorrow’s edition of “BOOK IT“, but without a win, all the positives are hard to get excited about. The Jaguars need a win and no one has to tell the players or the fans how badly they need one. I’ve got no doubt the players and coaches are still pushing hard, but without seeing some results that are punctuated with a victory, I’m afraid the bus may run out of gas. There would be no better injection of vitality than getting a big win against Baltimore next Monday Night, but the Jaguars are going to have to have an incredible week of practice and an incredible stroke of luck to have any chance of pulling that off. Hang on tight, folks.
– Andrew Hofheimer