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Garrard, Jags hit bottom


It was David Garrard's worst performance since becoming the Jaguars' starting quarterback in 2007.

Here are the numbers: 13 completions in 30 pass attempts for 105 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, a half dozen or more near interceptions and a 38.9 passer rating. Even worse is that the stats don't begin to tell the tale of the 28-3 beating the Jaguars suffered at the hands of Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles.

What can be said of a performance that was unspeakably bad?

"I don't want to speak for David. I'll let him speak for himself, but he was largely ineffective today," Del Rio said. "There were a lot of attempts at passing and not much productivity. We weren't very good at passing today."

Those would normally be perceived as harsh comments by a coach. In this case, they were mild.

What happened to Garrard on Sunday? Was he suffering a week-long hangover from his four-interception day in San Diego? Is it possible the barrage of media and fan criticism finally got to him?

"I'm sure it's not helping, but we have to try to overcome everything. The backlash he's getting is not deserving. We're trying to do our best. It can't help the situation," cornerback Rashean Mathis said.

Garrard won't be the only Jaguars player who will be the target of criticism this week. Mathis will certainly be one of them, for having allowed Jeremy Maclin to make a 16-yard touchdown catch just before halftime. Vick, atypically, had several seconds to throw the ball, which allowed Maclin time to work open.

"I tried to push him out of bounds and missed," Mathis explained.

Maclin's touchdown grab was the big blow in the game. The Jaguars trailed 7-3 at the time and the defense was fighting valiantly to keep the game close, while the offense did its best imitation of the "Rockettes:" one, two, three, kick.

"We played real good football in the first half, but we were on the field a lot and when you're on the field too much, teams begin to scheme," Mathis added.

Vick wasn't real sharp, but he dropped the ball on the money on his deep throws, and he added a trademark 17-yard touchdown run that was icing on the proverbial cake. He'll be the toast of the town in Philadelphia this week. Garrard will continue to be toast in his town.

"We just didn't play well; plain and simple. We could never get anything going," Garrard said. "Our fans deserve more than that; this team, this organization deserves more than that. We definitely have to right the ship and right it fast."

Translation: The Jaguars better find a way to beat the visiting Colts next week, or they will risk falling to the wayside with the season just a month old. As it is, the Jaguars are in sole possession of last place in the AFC South with a 1-2 record.

"Not a real fun afternoon," Del Rio said in his postgame press conference's opening remarks. "The passing game was nonexistent.

"Despite the negativity that follows, it's imperative that we continue to bring the things that give us a chance. We have to circle the wagons because we do understand the climate. The last two games are not what we have in mind for the 2010 Jaguars," he added.

The Jaguars rushed for 130 yards, but never took control of the game with their rushing attack. The Jaguars held the ball for nearly six minutes more than the Eagles, but that's only because the Eagles' scoring drives were of six, seven, one and six plays.

"We have to eliminate the explosive plays," Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker said. "It was being close and not being able to finish. Success is measured in inches at this level. Instead of being close, we have to be there to make the play."

The Jaguars' best chance to make a game of it came late in the first half, after the Eagles failed on a fourth-and-one conversion attempt. The Jaguars moved to near midfield, but Uche Nwaneri was flagged for a personal foul, Garrard was sacked for a 12-yard loss and the Eagles began a drive at their 47-yard line.

On third and eight, Vick found tight end Brent Celek for 21 yards and a first down. Two plays later, Vick hit Maclin for 14 yards to the Jaguars' 16 and, following a spike to stop the clock, Vick pitched to Maclin for 16 yards and a touchdown that would be the kill shot.

"We had chances in the first half to make this a tremendous game. There are about 5-6 plays. They made plays and we didn't," Del Rio said.

The Jaguars used several defensive alignments, ranging from their base 4-3 defense to safety blitzes to "nickel" to "dime" to "dollar" defensive schemes. Vick found a way to burn them all.

"We took an aggressive posture into the game. I would do it again. I think it's the way to attack Vick. It's proven. You can't have plays over the top," Del Rio said.

You usually can't win without scoring more than three points, either. The Jaguars are facing a critical week of fix-it. They have to fix their offense and fix their pass-defense or their goals for the 2010 season will quickly fade.

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