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It's all about sacks

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Forget about the score. Forget about the 24-10 difference in first downs, 379-199 in total yards, 143-38 in rushing yards and nearly 10-minute difference in time of possession. Look at one stat, the difference in sacks and their associated numbers, and you'll know everything you need to know to understand why the Jaguars suffered the second-worst loss in franchise history to the Seahawks on Sunday.

It's this simple: The Seahawks rushed the passer, the Jaguars didn't.

The Seahawks recorded five sacks for 29 yards. They also caused two David Garrard fumbles, one of which was returned 26 yards and led to a touchdown and another having been returned 79 yards for a touchdown. The Seahawks also added 13 quarterback hurries, which means nearly half of the Jaguars' pass attempts were in some way disrupted by the Seahawks' pass-rush.

Now look at the Jaguars' pass-rush stats, which show one harmless sack for a five-yard loss and four hurries, none of which seemed to adversely impact Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's excellent afternoon, which included 241 yards passing, four touchdowns and a 125.1 passer rating.

Oh, by the way, Hasselbeck was in his first game back to action since breaking ribs. Do you think a strong pass-rush might've caught his attention?

This is a game that'll be turned upside down and inside out by the analysts, both professional and amateur. They'll point to failures in every category and they'll be right. When you lose this badly, everything they say about you is right.

It is the Jaguars' massive failure at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball that speaks loudest. That's where the game was lost because, in today's NFL, teams that don't rush the passer and don't protect the quarterback don't win, ever.

Why was it this way? That's the question the Jaguars have to answer and resolve this week because every team they face will see the tape of this game and concentrate its efforts as the Seahawks did.

"I know it's not lack of effort," linebacker Clint Ingram said. "Guys are trying to get to the quarterback. Sometimes you just have to whip another guy's (butt)."

Here's what we know to be true:

  • Just because you play the 3-4 doesn't mean you're going to instantly become the Steelers. In fact, way too much attention has been paid to what the Jaguars are playing and not enough attention has been paid to how they're playing.
  • The players who were drafted to provide the pass-rush the Jaguars are lacking have yet to record one. Derrick Harvey was up against a stop-gap replacement at left tackle, then the guy went down early in the game and was replaced by someone who was activated from the practice squad on Saturday. Harvey's contribution for the day was a hurry and a tipped pass. That's not good enough.
  • The Jaguars began the day last in the league in pass-defense and last in sacks and that's not a formula for victory.
  • On the offensive side of the ball, the Jaguars experienced a meltdown that can largely be attributed to falling behind early, which allowed the Seahawks to pin their ears back and have their way with Garrard.

"It goes hand in hand," coach Jack Del Rio said of rushing the passer and covering receivers. The more time you give the quarterback to throw the ball, the more likely it is his receivers will get open. The longer those receivers stay covered, the more time the rush will have to get to the quarterback.

"Our pass-defense has not been very good to start the year," Del Rio added.

It's the number one issue confronting this team. It has to improve its pass-rush and its pass-coverage or there will be more games such as yesterday's in Seattle and the week-two loss to the Cardinals.

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