JACKSONVILLE – They played with energy, and there was fight. A lot of it.
In the end, it wasn’t quite enough.
The Jaguars took two first-half leads and showed life defensively throughout the second half. But throughout that same half, the Jaguars’ offense struggled and the Arizona Cardinals pulled away for a 27-14 victory in front of 59,862 at EverBank Field.
Quarterback Carson Palmer completed 30 of 42 passes for 419 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions for Arizona (6-4), which stayed very much alive in the NFC playoff chase with a third consecutive victory.
The Jaguars are now 1-9.
The key play Sunday came midway through the third period. With the Cardinals leading 17-14, but with the Jaguars still very much in the game, Palmer passed deep to wide receiver Michael Floyd, who caught the pass and broke at least two tackles en route to a 91-yard touchdown.
That was the second-longest pass play against the Jaguars in their 19-year history.
The play also gave the Cardinals a 24-14 lead they never relinquished, holding it through a third-quarter in which the Jaguars twice appeared to have chances to get opportunities to pull closer.
On the series after Floyd’s touchdown, Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson muffed a punt by Jaguars punter
With the crowd booing and the energy high, the Jaguars’ defense stopped the Cardinals on that series, but the Jaguars’ offense – which struggled much of the second half after a productive first quarter – did not produce a first down on the ensuing series.
The Jaguars had just two third-quarter first downs, and did not score after the second series of the game – that after turning in one of their strongest starts of the season.
The Jaguars took the early lead, and gained the early momentum, with a touchdown on the game’s opening drive. On 4th-and-1 from their 38, Henne threw to tight end
The Cardinals immediately tied it at 7-7, with Palmer capping a 80-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald. Jones-Drew’s 1-yard run on the ensuing drive made it 14-7, Jaguars.
Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall’s 5-yard run was the only scoring of the second quarter. He tied the game at 14-14 with 2:00 remaining in the half.
The Cardinals controlled the game from pretty much the middle of the first quarter, but the Jaguars were still in, it trailing 17-14 early in the third quarter. On 3rd-and-10 from the Cardinals 9 – one play after a sack by Jaguars defensive end
1. Noble’s touchdown reception came on the first reception of his career.
2. The Jaguars got a big break in the fourth quarter when Cardinals safety Yeremiah Bell was called for taunting following a third-down incompletion in the end zone. On the play, Jaguars tight end
3. The Jaguars’ rushing offense continued to struggle. After managing just 1.8 yards a carry in a victory over the Titans last week, they averaged exactly 2.0 yards a carry Sunday. Jones-Drew rushed for 23 yards on 14 carries.
LOOKING ON . . .
1. Running back
2. Jaguars rookie wide receiver/punt returner