Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio will be facing a firestorm of disappointment following a 41-0 loss to the Seattle Seahawks that is the franchise's worst defeat since its inaugural season.
"Not much to like there," Del Rio said in opening his postgame press conference.
Just when the Jaguars appeared ready to take a step above .500, they fell flat. Just when everybody was patting the Jags on the back and pointing their arrow skyward, the team now has to brace against an almost-certain avalanche of criticism, and not just for its performance on the field.
During pregame on Sunday, jaguars.com learned and reported that leading receiver Mike Sims-Walker was being deactivated for the game after having committed a violation of team rules. It remained unknown what Sims-Walker did to warrant the deactivation.
Del Rio also finds himself having to deal with a report in Jacksonville linking linebacker Quentin Groves to an alleged auto accident on Friday.
These, clearly, are the worst of times for a team that was reveling in the best of times as it made its way to the West Coast. What's next?
"You go on to the next one. Whether it's good or bad, that's what we do," Del Rio said in the most somber of postgame press conferences.
There was little more Del Rio could do but acknowledge that his team was dominated in every facet of the game.
"We did not execute well in all three phases and it snowballed and got out of control. It's one ugly loss but it only counts one," Del Rio said. "They did a better job of playing good, clean football."
These are the important details of the game:
- Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, in his first game back from broken ribs, threw for 241 yards, four touchdowns and a 125.1 passer rating. Hasselbeck was well-protected by his makeshift line, which included a left tackle that was activated from the practice squad on Saturday.
- Jaguars quarterback David Garrard was battered and abused by the Seattle pass-rush, which sacked Garrard four times and caused two fumbles, one of which was returned 79 yards for a touchdown.
- The game turned on a failed fourth-and-one play at the Seattle two-yard line in the first quarter, with the Seahawks holding a 3-0 lead. Garrard rolled out to his right, looking for tight end Ernest Wilford. No one was open and Garrard was unable to do anything more than throw the ball out of the back of the end zone.
- Maurice Jones-Drew gained only 34 yards in 12 rushing attempts. The Seahawks, a pass-first offense, rushed 40 times for 143 yards.
- The final score marked the third time in franchise history the Jaguars were shut out, the first time since a 21-0 loss at the hands of the Houston Texans in 2004.
The Jaguars got off to a respectable start, but their play deteriorated in the second quarter. Even cornerback Rashean Mathis, who was having another strong game, experienced a meltdown.
Mathis bit on a Hasselbeck pump fake and wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh blew past Mathis to catch a 34-yard touchdown pass that staked the Seahawks to a 13-0 lead.
"I was looking at the quarterback the whole way. I should've been looking at the receiver," Mathis said. "I don't feel like I helped my team today. That's something I pride myself in and I didn't do a very good job of that today."
Following a three-and-out possession by the Jaguars, Hasselbeck found wide receiver Nate Burleson over the middle – Mathis was victimized again – and Burleson broke an attempted tackle by Gerald Alexander and raced to the end zone to complete a 44-yard catch-and-run touchdown. At that point, the rout was on.
"We still should've been able to do a better job out there," Garrard said when asked what Sims-Walker's absence meant to the team. "They did have a good pass-rush and we didn't see that so much on film. That's life in the NFL. You never know week to week."
"Great practices, great meetings; I don't know what to tell you," Jones-Drew said when asked to explain the defeat.
"They beat us soundly. It's an ugly loss. That's what it is," said Del Rio, who admitted concern for the off-the-field problems and how they might affect public perception of the team's commitment to improved behavior by its players.
"It certainly tarnishes those kinds of feelings and statements," Del Rio said.