The gods kept trying, but not even they could move the ball down the field on this day.
They gave the Jaguars two fumbles that crushed Miami scoring drives. The gods blew to the right a short field goal attempt; bounced it off the right upright and laughed at the visitors from the southern tip of the state.
The gods steered one of Chad Henne's passes, shortly after he had completed 17 straight, into the hands of Jaguars cornerback Derek Cox at one of the most critical moments of the game, when it appeared the Dolphins were about to deliver the kill shot.
Penalty flags were yanked from the officials' back pockets at critical times, with a pass-interference penalty in the end zone on a third-down incompletion leading to the Jaguars' only touchdown of the game. Oh, how the gods were trying.
As hard as they tried, not even the gods could overcome an overwhelming time of possession advantage by Miami and six three-and-out possessions by the Jaguars. Yeah, they tried, putting the ball in primo position for the Jaguars to rally for the win with 3:30 to play and the playoffs on the line, but the gods and David Garrard were unable to get it done in Sunday's 14-10 loss.
"I've got to do something to make a play. I had Mike Thomas on a key third down. That's a chance to make a play," said Garrard, who also lamented a poor pass for tight end Zach Miller.
What was with all the three-and-outs, the gods would like to know?
"I don't know," said Garrard. "They did a good job defensively and we didn't do a good job offensively. I definitely take the blame. The defense did a good job getting us the ball so many times."
It was as though an unknown spirit was attempting to lift the franchise to hopeful heights. Saturday's day-long downpour ended during the night and the thunderstorms that were forecast for Sunday afternoon were canceled by sunshine. Everything seemed to be shining down on Jacksonville, on a day when more fans would make their way into "The Jack" than at any time previous in this season.
This had to be the Jaguars' day. The gods were demanding it, so it seemed.
So what went wrong?
Well, third down went wrong. Miami converted eight of its 15 tries; the Jags converted only three of 14. Twenty-two first downs allowed to 10 first downs gained is not a formula for victory, nor is 354 yards allowed to 217 gained.
Jack Del Rio might have sensed the gods' favor when he elected to go for it on fourth and one at his 35-yard line, trailing by four points with 10 minutes to play in the game. Maurice Jones-Drew was helped down the field for 13 yards, which can only mean the gods like Del Rio more than Bill Belichick.
Willing to tempt fate again, Del Rio went for it on fourth and three four plays later. This time, Garrard threw incomplete, but the gods got the ball right back for the Jags on the Henne interception. Hopefully, the gods are not angry that the Jaguars squandered so many opportunities.