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Del Rio saw it coming


LANDOVER, MD—They didn't follow the script. Who would've thought the Jaguars could score 30 points and lose?

It was something they hadn't done since their infamous, 39-36 loss in Baltimore in week two of the 2000 season. That was a different era. That was from a time when the Jaguars were all offense, no defense.

This is the Jack Del Rio era, which has been all about defense; 9-0 over the Steelers, for example. The Jaguars haven't always been productive on offense, but powerhouse defense has been their weekly calling card. Ask the Steelers. Ask the Colts.

Don't, however, ask the Redskins, who ravaged the Jaguars for 481 total net yards, including 112 yards rushing by Clinton Portis and an unconscionable 329 yards passing by Mark Brunell.

Unthinkable, right? Wrong.

In fact, Del Rio went into Sunday's game at FedEx Field with a distinct feeling the Redskins were the kind of offense that could wreak this kind of havoc on the Jaguars' defense.

Why? Because, as Del Rio has often said, the NFL is all about matchups, and the matchups on this day favored the Redskins.

"I basically thought it was going to be like this. I thought there would be an opportunity to score a lot of points. I was afraid coming in we couldn't slow them up," Del Rio said following the Jaguars' 36-30, overtime loss.

The Redskins' big-play receivers, especially Santana Moss, had Del Rio's attention. Del Rio may have secretly worried that his defense was coming off a rugged three-game stretch and was banged up.

"I thought they had the right combinations and circumstances to be explosive against our team. I had a feeling if we weren't on top of things, this was a team with enough explosive players to hurt you. They did a nice job creating space and we didn't tackle well enough," Del Rio said.

The Redskins had a good game plan. They stretched the Jaguars sideline to sideline with Portis, then threw the ball over the middle to Moss on his first two touchdown catches.

"They executed their game plan better than we executed ours. Whatever it was, it worked," middle linebacker Mike Peterson said.

This was the harshest of pills for a proud defense to swallow.

"I'm surprised we didn't play well enough to get off the field on third down. If you're going to play great defense in this league, you have to get off the field on third down," Del Rio said.

The Redskins were seven of 14 in third-down conversions. It allowed them to stick with their running game, which churned out 152 yards on 40 rushing attempts.

"From watching film on these guys, I could see a wounded dog. It shows (the Redskins) are very talented and Mark is still a great quarterback," safety Donovin Darius said. "We gave up explosive plays and didn't get off the field on third down."

Maybe we should've seen it coming, but why?

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