After two early turnovers, the Jaguars' offense hit its stride in a 36-26 victory over the Bills Sunday. David Garrard was very efficient for the second week in a row, completing 16-of-20 passes for 178 yards with three TDs and one interception, the Jaguars' ground game exploded for 216 yards on 40 carries and Josh Scobee tied his own franchise record with five field goals, including a pair of 49-yarders, making him a perfect 10-for-10 on the season.
The PFW spin
All offseason, the Jaguars talked about getting more explosive on offense. Don't look now, but they're starting to fire on all cylinders. When the run game is popping, and Garrard is making good decisions, coordinator Dirk Koetter's unit is capable of putting a lot of points on the board.
In the past two games against the Colts and Bills respectively, Garrard has completed 33-of-42 for 341 yards with five TDs and only one interception, plus a 25-yard rushing touchdown. He has looked increasingly comfortable after the worst two-week stretch of his career. This is the guy the Jaguars gave a megacontract to after he posted a 102.2 passer rating and led his team into the postseason into 2007. He is getting rid of the ball quickly, which is of the utmost importance for a guy that has a tendency to hold on to it for too long, making the right reads and using his legs when the opportunity presents itself. His only interception during this stretch — against the Bills Sunday — was on a ball that was tipped at the line of scrimmage, with his offensive line being more to blame than Garrard.
A potent rushing attack is Garrard's best friend. After fumbling the opening punt return, Mike Thomas ripped off a 16-yard run on an end-around on the Jaguars' first offensive play of the game. Thomas gained another 33 on an identical play in the second quarter that set up a Garrard TD pass to TE Marcedes Lewis. He ended up carrying the ball three times for 53 yards, showing his great versatility on gadget running plays.
Maurice Jones-Drew gained 84 yards on 19 carries. Rookie Deji Karim, in his first NFL game, piled up 70 yards on 15 carries, giving the Jaguars another bona fide weapon. It's worth mentioning that second-year back Rashad Jennings, a bigger rusher who the Jaguars think has a very bright future, was inactive (shoulder). With Jones-Drew, a healthy Jennings and Karim, the Jags could boast one of the most talented backfields in football.
In the passing game, Lewis is making the argument that he is one of the league's best all-around tight ends. In his first four seasons, Lewis caught a total of seven TD passes. He now has five in five games this season, and has consistently been Garrard's favorite target whenever the QB is in a pinch. Mike Sims-Walker, who had been featured more on the back of a milk carton than he had been in the Jaguars' offense in the first four weeks, caught four balls for 46 yards and a score. The aforementioned Thomas added 51 receiving yards.
Special-teams also continued to shine. In addition to his terrific debut on offense, Karim averaged 36.3 yards on four kickoff returns, adding a dimension in the return game that the Jags haven't had in years. Last week's hero, Scobee, like Lewis, is making an argument that he is one of the best young players in the league at his position. Of his 10 field goals this season, Scobee has only one less than 40 yards. He has a remarkably strong leg to go along with his pinpoint accuracy.
Next on the slate for the Jags is a Monday-night showdown against the AFC South-rival Titans. This is the only prime-time game for the Jaguars this season, and it will be the fourth sellout in a row at EverBank Field.
If they keep playing the way they have the past two weeks, the Jaguars have a chance to make a statement that they are a force to be reckoned with in a wide-open division.