JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser's five takeaways from the day after the Jaguars' victory over the Baltimore Ravens Sunday …
1)Crazy, crazy, crazy …We begin Monday takeaways with a look back at the Ravens, because while the Jaguars have a short week to prepare for Tennessee Thursday, finishes such as Sunday's are rare. The end was wild and memorable, with Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil grabbing Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles' face mask on a play that snapped with :01 remaining. The penalty gave the Jaguars 15 yards and an untimed down, that kicker Jason Myers turned into a 53-yard game-winning field goal. "That was crazy," center Stefen Wisniewski said. How crazy? Bortles not only slipped after receiving the snap, several Jaguars and Ravens lineman stopped on the play, unsure if the clock had hit :00. There was also confusion, with some players – including tight end Julius Thomas, who caught an 11-yard pass on third-and-15 on the previous play – unsure of the down. "Usually, it's a kill, but I didn't know if it was fourth down," Thomas said. "I didn't know if we'd have time to kill it and get a play off … I was just staring at Blake hoping he would snap it in time to get one last chance at it. Everybody kind of panicked a little bit. I just remember seeing Dumervil grabbing the face mask and saying, 'It's great for us, because the game can't end on a defensive penalty. That will give us a great opportunity to have a last field goal and try to win the game.' It was a crazy finish, probably the craziest finish I've ever been a part of."
2)True hero.If anyone deserves credit for Sunday, it may be Wisniewski. With the Jaguars lining up with the clock ticking from :03 to :02 to :01, Jaguars players were either just getting set for the snap or unsure if the offense was going to run a play or spike to stop the clock. As Wisniewski recalled it, guard Zane Beadles looked into the backfield for Bortles to raise his leg, which is the normal cue for a snap in a no-huddle situation. "We didn't really have time for that," Wisniewski said, laughing. Rather than wait for Bortles to call for the ball, Wisniewski snapped just before the clock hit zero, enabling the play to be run. "I had no idea if we were ready or not or what was going on," Wisniewski said. "I saw the clock ticking down, saw it around two (seconds) … I knew I better snap it or we were going to lose. We all weren't ready, but Blake was ready enough and that's all it took. … A lot of us I don't think were ready, but Blake made a heck of a play and Myers capitalized on it."
3)Tough blow.The locker room wasn't all smiles Monday. While optimism reigned at the prospect of being a game out of the AFC South chase, there was also sadness at the news of defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks sustaining a torn right triceps Sunday. Marks, who spent the offseason rehabilitating after January reconstructive knee surgery, had begun to play with the quickness and disruption that made him perhaps the Jaguars' best defensive player the past two seasons. He was seeking a second opinion as of Monday, but a triceps tear typically is a season-ending injury. "That's tough, especially because he's worked so hard and fought so hard to get back to where he is," middle linebacker Paul Posluszny said. "He was starting to look right on film, and he's making plays … to have this happen, you feel terrible for him because he just went through this. He went through missing time with a tough recovery. You feel awful for him."
4)Efficiency needed.Make no mistake: Sunday's game was far from the best for the Jaguars' offense or for Bortles. He completed just 22 of 45 passes and while he passed for two touchdowns, his 3.4 yards per attempt was well below the 6.0 or above the Jaguars want in that category. "That's not the efficiency we're looking for," Bradley said. "We have 188 yards (passing) and that's not what we're capable of doing." Bradley said there is a positive to winning when Bortles played as he did. "My message to him after the game was, 'Were you at your best? Were you at your best yesterday?''' Bradley said. "He said he wasn't and I said 'How was the outcome? We still won.' I think that's a valuable lesson for him." The Jaguars had moved effectively much of the last month, producing 436 yards against the Jets the week before with Bortles throwing for a career-high 381 yards. "I don't think there's any team that's played the game of football that hasn't had a couple of tough games," Thomas said. "Offensively, we understand what we're building toward. We can't look at a game where we didn't perform the way we wanted to and say, 'OK, that's where we're at right now.' We need to continue to build."
5)Homeward bound.The Jaguars on Monday sounded like a team excited about the next few weeks. With reason: at what seems like long last they will be playing at home. The Jaguars this season opened with two consecutive games at EverBank Field, but since a September 20 victory over Miami their only game at EverBank Field was a 31-20 loss to Houston on October 18. They played their annual home game at Wembley Stadium in London against the Buffalo Bills on October 25. "We didn't mention much about being on the road the amount of time we were," Bradley said. "It was just 'This is the next opportunity. Let's go to work.' But you do sense that feeling of excitement of being back home and playing in front of our fans.''