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Jags scratch real hard


Jack Del Rio talked about "finding a way to scratch out a win," and when the Jaguars were all done scratching, they had bloodied the Jets into one of the worst losses in franchise history.

The Jaguars were expecting a hard-fought battle. What they got was a 41-0 win that wasn't as close as the final score would indicate. The Jaguars scored touchdowns in four of their first five possessions, intercepted Chad Pennington three times and left what had been the fourth-rated passer in the league with a 28.9 passer rating.

Want some more numbers? How about 45 net yards passing for the Jets, six sacks by the Jaguars and a 1.9 average gain per pass play by the visitors at Alltel Stadium on Sunday? How about the worst loss by the Jets in 20 years?

It's not that the Jaguars were all that great on offense. They didn't have to be. The Jaguars' average drive starting position was their 40-yard line. They started drives at the Jets' eight, 23 and 24-yard lines.

There's more. The Jaguars' first six running plays went for five, seven, six, nine, 14 and 13 yards. The Jaguars ran the ball up the gut as though they were running behind a snow plow.

"It showed what all three phases (can do) when they come together," Del Rio said, referring to offense, defense and special teams. "It's nice to go into the bye week with a little positive momentum."

Positive momentum? The Jaguars' momentum is so positive that the only concern is the team might get a big head. Paul Spicer said that won't happen.

"We have to take care of business. We have our work cut out for us. After this week, we got Houston," Spicer said.

The Jaguars and Colts each head into their bye weeks with the 5-0 Colts holding a two-game lead over the 3-2 Jaguars in the AFC South Division title race. Can the Jaguars close the gap? It's the question on the lips of every Jaguars fan.

"There's no can we? We have to. I feel like we're in it. They're 5-0 and we're 3-2. When we meet with those boys in December, we have to take care of business," Spicer said.

Taking care of business was an obvious theme among the Jaguars following the previous Sunday's overtime loss in Washington. It was a game that left the Jaguars' proud defense embarrassed to have allowed 36 points. So what did the defense do on this Sunday? Score the first back-to-back home shutouts in team history.

"We've got a proud defensive unit. We got stung last week. We had a renewed commitment that made us good on defense," Del Rio said.

"Execute the scheme," Rashean Mathis said of what the Jaguars did against the Jets that they didn't do in Washington. "We played poorly last week. This week we played Jaguars football.

"We were bashing ourselves," Mathis added. "We know we can play. The resolve is already there."

The next order of business for the Jaguars is to heal. Marcus Stroud's consecutive games-played streak ended at 84, as he got a head start on a full recovery from the ankle sprain that's dogged him since the start of the season. Matt Jones also sat this one out. On the down side, Mike Peterson sustained a pectoral muscle strain that forced him to leave the game in the first half and not return.

"We want to get healed up. That's the biggest thing," Del Rio said.

"They got a pretty good stretch coming up that'll test them," Del Rio added of the Colts' schedule following the bye week. "We'll play it out. Right now, they're in front."

So this is the bye week. The Jaguars will take a break, then resume the season with an 11-game dash to what they hope will be a playoffs berth. Are they good enough to go all the way?

"If you don't think that, you don't need to be playing football," Deon Grant said. "I feel this is definitely the kind of group that can go deep into the playoffs."

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