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Jaguars must make opponents pay


If the idea of running the ball is to open up the field for the pass, then it would seem the field is as open as it's going to get.

"They can't load (the box) any more than they've loaded it, unless they start putting coaches or the mascot in there. We'll have opportunities. We just have to make them pay," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said at Monday's press conference.

Del Rio was referring to his team's 236 yards rushing that caused the Colts to focus their full attention on committing defenders to the line of scrimmage and defending against the run. The Jaguars were still, however, able to mow down the Colts like high grass, as Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew each topped the 100-yard rushing mark.

"When the box is loaded, you have to make people pay. The less you're able to do that, the more you're going to see that box loaded," Del Rio added.

As loaded as it was in the Jaguars' come-from-behind, 23-21 win in Indianapolis on Sunday, Jaguars wide receivers weren't able to make the Colts pay beyond an 11-yard pass completion from David Garrard to Matt Jones in the third quarter.

The failure of the Jaguars' passing game to do anything more than convert on third down, at which it was very successful on Sunday, remains the number one failure of the offense. As well as the Jaguars rushed the ball on Sunday, it's important to remember the Colts were last in the league in run-defense heading into the game. In other words, there aren't many teams left on the Jaguars' schedule that are likely to be mowed down as easily.

"We want to run the football. It allows us to possess the ball. It allows us to get the ball in our playmakers' hands. I also understand you're not going to be able to run for 200-some yards every week. You have to be more balanced," Del Rio said.

What are the solutions? There are none currently, other than to continue working on the problem and seeking a fix.

"We have a desire to be explosive but most of all we have a desire to win," Del Rio said.

Translation: Until the Jaguars find a way to throw the ball downfield successfully, they will continue to lean on their running game.

Why not? It worked for them against the Colts, in a win that resurrected the Jaguars' division title hopes.

"Beating Indy on the road ought to give you a little confidence. That's something you can build on," Del Rio said.

On the bright side, the Jaguars can even their record at 2-2 (2-1 in the AFC South) with a win over visiting Houston this Sunday. The Texans are 27th in the league in run-defense.

Taylor and Jones-Drew got game balls on offense for Sunday's win. Cornerback Rashean Mathis, who intercepted a pass and returned it 61 yards for a touchdown, got the defense's game ball and Josh Scobee got the special teams ball for his 51-yard, game-winning field goal.

On the injury front, cornerback Scott Starks sustained a knee injury that will undergo an MRI exam. Starks' injury is of concern.

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