The Jaguars' season would seem to have reached the point of desperation, and after only week two of the season.
"We never imagined we'd be 0-2. That was never in the plan, but that's what it is," defensive end Paul Spicer said following the Jaguars' 20-16 loss to the visiting Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
"It's going to be hard not to think about it, but it's real. Now we have to go to Indianapolis and play our best game," Spicer added.
Yeah, that's about the size of it. At 0-2, the Jaguars are two games behind division-leading Tennessee and headed for what they thought would be one of the two biggest games of the season. Little did they know it would be the biggest game of their season.
The Jaguars allowed Buffalo to rally for the win in a nine-play, 74-yard drive in the fourth quarter. The big play of the drive was a 37-yard pass completion from quarterback Trent Edwards to wide receiver Lee Evans. One play later, Edwards threw the game-winner, a seven-yard touchdown toss to rookie James Hardy.
Coach Jack Del Rio blamed his offense for not putting the game away when they had a chance in the third quarter. Following a touchdown drive that tied the game at 10-10, the Jaguars successfully executed an onside kick attempt and quickly moved into scoring territory. The drive stalled, however, and the Jaguars had to settle for a field goal and a 13-10 lead.
They moved the lead to 16-10 following a Bills fumble, and the Jaguars had a chance to execute a clock-killing, fourth-quarter drive a possession later, but a failure to convert on third down was the Jaguars' eventual downfall.
Buffalo converted two third downs in their game-winning drive. Del Rio challenged the Hardy touchdown, claiming Hardy didn't get two feet down in bounds in the back right corner of the end zone. The call was upheld, however, and the Jaguars lost a time out that would eventually cost them 40 valuable seconds of clock.
"Two weeks in a row we exerted a great deal of energy and came up short," Del Rio said. "Not doing enough, not converting enough on third down; we're paying the price."
Quarterback David Garrard committed an unforgettable sin late in the first half. He forced a pass for wide receiver Mike Walker and cornerback Terrence McGee intercepted it. It was a first-down pass with 14 seconds to play. Had Garrard thrown the ball away, the Jaguars would've gotten at least one more shot at the end zone before attempting a field goal.
"Can't throw it; just can't throw that pick. Knock the beer can out of the (fan's) hand," Del Rio said of the pass.
Garrard has now thrown eight interceptions in the last six games and for the first time since late in the 2004 season, the Jaguars have failed to rush for 100 yards in consecutive weeks.
"We're not getting enough opportunities for Fred (Taylor) and Maurice (Jones-Drew) to carry the ball," Del Rio added.
Taylor and Jones-Drew have now combined for just 240 yards rushing in the four games since and including the playoff win in Pittsburgh.
Garrard said he was attempting to throw the pass at the end of the first half in a spot where Williams would catch it or it would be out of bounds, but the ball was deflected by former Jaguars defensive lineman Marcus Stroud.
"It definitely wasn't my intention to throw into coverage. I've got to take responsibility for that one," Garrard said.
There was enough blame to be passed around.