EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The competition continues.
And on Saturday night, the statistical edge not only went to Blaine Gabbert, it went there in pretty big way.
Gabbert, competing with Chad Henne throughout training camp and preseason for the Jaguars' starting quarterback position, turned in one of the strongest games of his career in the first quarter and a half of a 37-13 loss to the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium Saturday in the second game of the 2013 preseason.
Gabbert played three series, leading the Jaguars to a touchdown and a field goal while completing 13 of 16 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown.
He left after the third series, and trainers immediately wrapped and iced his right thumb.
"It was good," Gabbert said after leaving the game with the scored tied, 10-10, with 5:34 remaining in the second quarter. "We got into a rhythm early on and continued that through the second quarter when I left the game. It was nice to get out there and come away with some points. We would like to have a few more touchdowns and play a little bit smarter football.
"We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit with some penalties but all and all we had some good quality drives. We were able to get a lot of snaps together and that's important this time of year."
Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley addressed Gabbert's thumb at halftime.
"We'll take a look at it but I think he'll be okay," Bradley said.
Gabbert played one series with Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who played for the first time this preseason after missing the opener. The Jaguars drove for a touchdown on that series, with Gabbert completing 4 of 4 passes for 71 yards.
"We really were able to get into a nice rhythm and establish the tempo," Gabbert said.
Gabbert, who took 30 snaps Saturday after taking 17 in the preseason opener, capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown to tight end Allen Reisner. Jones-Drew rushed three times for nine yards.
"It felt good," Jones-Drew said. "It's good because a lot of guys are really stepping up. (Wide receiver) Mike Brown is stepping up and (rookie wide receiver) Ace Sanders is doing a good job. We just want to continue to keep working that way.
"It felt good to get out there. It was a lot of work being put in with various people. Good to finally get out there and put it to use. It felt great and now I just can't wait to build off this and see what happens next week."
Henne replaced Gabbert, giving the Jaguars a 13-10 lead by leading a second-quarter drive that ended with a 36-yard field goal by Josh Scobee. Henne took 25 snaps, finished the game 4 of 10 for 30 yards and threw an interception early in the third quarter.
Henne had had the statistical advantage last week, completing 8 of 11 passes for 87 yards with Gabbert completing 5 of 10 passes for 19 yards and an interception.
The Jets turned the three-point deficit into a 27-13 lead entering the fourth quarter with a pair of short touchdown runs by Khalil Bell and 54-yard field by Nick Folk.
"We know it's a process and there's some things we have to take a look at but I liked the way we moved the ball, the tempo of the offense and the guys were making plays," Bradley said.
In this game, it was the start of the third quarter. The Jaguars led 13-10 at halftime, but the Jets turned it into a 27-13 at the end of the third quarter. An interception by linebacker Danny Lansanah off Henne set up a 14-yard Jets touchdown drive and the Jets scored 17 points in the final 7:30 of the quarter.
- Jones-Drew played for the first time this preseason after rehabilitating a foot sprain during the offseason. He rushed for three times for nine yards while playing one series.
- Second-year wide receiver Justin Blackmon played for the first time this preseason after undergoing offseason groin surgery. He played in the first half and caught three passes for 37 yards, proving a reliable option and turning two short receptions into catch-and-run first downs.
- Safety Johnathan Cyprien played for the first time this preseason after sustaining a pre-training camp hamstring injury. He started and appeared to struggle at times, being penalized twice in the first quarter. He had three tackles, according to the unofficial statistics.
- Defensive end Jeremy Mincey ended a second-quarter Jets drive with a 6-yard sack on quarterback Mark Sanchez.
- Veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant ended a Jets drive with an interception in the end zone in the second quarter. Trufant had good coverage on tight end Kellen Winslow on the play, and made an athletic play for the interception.
- The Jaguars struggled with penalties and turnovers, committing two turnovers in the first three quarters and committing 11 penalties in the first three quarters for 95 yards.
LOOKING ON . . .
*The Jaguars' defense didn't match its performance in the preseason opener. The defense allowed the Jets scores on the first two possessions, with the pass rush unable to get much pressure on Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. Mincey had a sack in the second quarter, and the Jaguars affected him more in that quarter than the first.
*The offensive line had a second consecutive solid game in the first half, helping lead two extended drives on the first two possessions. Denard Robinson rushed for 22 yards on seven carries, and both Gabbert and Henne had time to throw most of the half.
Wide receiver Cecil Shorts III missed Saturday's game with a calf strain, and rookie right tackle Luke Joeckel missed with a hip flexor.
Also missing Saturday: Linebacker Russell Allen (ankle), running back Justin Forsett (toe), tight end Isaiah Stanback (groin), cornerback Jeremy Harris (back) and defensive tackle Brandon Deaderick (groin). Rookie LaRoy Reynolds started in place of Allen at strong-side linebacker and third-year veteran Cameron Bradfield started in place of Joeckel.
Tight end Marcedes Lewis did not dress because of tightness in his calf after warming up, and center Brad Meester – who did not play the opener – played the first quarter before being replaced by center Mike Brewster.