THE RIGHT CALL
It could have changed the game's momentum. At the least, it didn't help the Jaguars.
But Head Coach Mike Mularkey said while the reversal of a second-quarter touchdown by safety Dwight Lowery hurt the Jaguars, he didn't disagree with the official's decision.
"I thought it was the correct call," Mularkey said after the Jaguars' 17-10 loss to the New York Jets Sunday at EverBank Field.
The Jaguars led 3-0 when Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez threw to his left on 2nd-and-9 from the Jaguars 49 with 4:21 remaining in the first half. Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley caught the pass, and Jaguars cornerback Derek Cox stripped away the ball.
Lowery recovered near the sidelines, got up and ran for a 62-yard touchdown. Officials reviewed the play and determined Kerley had made contact while Lowery had possession still on the ground.
"I keep using that as a gauge of how close we are of making some of these plays that we need to happen for our team," Mularkey said. "We haven't had a turnover for a score on special teams or defense yet. We need things like that to happen for our team to help us win and help us with momentum. We're coming up short with them in one way or another."
PLAY OF THE GAME
Montell Owens got his first start at running back for the Jaguars Sunday, not only turning in a career-high 91 rushing yards, but also registering the Jaguars' play of the game. This came in the fourth quarter, with the Jaguars trailing 17-3. On the play, Owens took a handoff and cut toward the left side of the line. First, he leaped over a Jets defender, then he outran the defense for a career-best 32-yard touchdown run. "I saw something, and sure enough it opened up like I thought it would," Owens said. The play was the highlight of the game for the Jaguars' offense and the team's only touchdown of the game. Mularkey said for now Owens is the Jaguars' "go-to guy" at running back. "I think Montell has run well," Mularkey said. "I am including every chance he has had, and I'm including preseason and last week when he was called into play for us." Owens is the fourth player to start at running back for the Jaguars this season. Three-time Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew has been out since late October with a foot sprain.
The Jaguars outgained the Jets, 76-29, but the quarter ended in a scoreless tie. The Jaguars drove from their 33 to the Jets 11 on their first possession, but Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne was hit as he threw on 3rd-and-1 and Jets linebacker Bart Scott intercepted to end the threat.
The Jaguars continued to move effectively, but stalled in the red zone much of the first half. Jacksonville took a 3-0 lead on a 31-yard field goal by Josh Scobee, and appeared to take a 10-0 lead when Lowery returned a fumble 62 yards for a touchdown. Lowery was ruled down on the play and Scobee missed a 55-yard field goal to end the half with the Jaguars ahead, 3-0.
The Jets took control, outgaining the Jaguars 99-6 and putting up seven first downs while the Jaguars went three-and-out on four possessions. Shonn Greene gave the Jets a 7-3 lead with a 1-yard run with 9:11 remaining in the quarter and Nick Folk made it 10-3 with a 44-yard field goal with 2:53 remaining in the period.
The Jets extended the lead to 17-3 with a 4-yard run by Bilal Powell on the first series of the quarter, but Owens' 32-yard run with 7:06 remaining cut the lead to a touchdown. The Jaguars held the Jets to one first down on their final two drives, but the Jets sealed it with cornerback Ellis Lankster's interception at the 4-yard line with 15 seconds remaining.
"We weren't effective on third down all day. We were really not there with the three-and-outs and that put our defense in a situation with a short field. They (the Jets) did a good job adjusting their run game. They came out there and we had a hard time stopping it."
QB CHAD HENNE SAYS
"They did a good job covering us. There wasn't a lot open. We were trying to make some things happen down the field and they did a good job in their scheme and covering our routes and it just kind of looked like we had to check the ball down most the times. Half the time those were covered in the flats so it was a lot of things that we just didn't do well. Again it comes down to one-on-one matchups and if we can win those."
C BRAD MEESTER SAYS
"We've got to keep doing the stuff we're doing. It's going to come along. We just have to find a way to be able to finish those drives and we will. I know we're going to get that done soon."
STAT OF THE GAME
The Jaguars were 2 of 16 on third downs, and were 0-for-4 on third down in the third quarter as they went three-and-out on four series. They entered the game last in the NFL in third-down conversions, having converted 45 of 154. The Jaguars converted 1 of 10 third downs a week ago in a loss to Buffalo, but converted two fourth-down opportunities on their final drive Sunday.
In this game, it was halftime. The Jaguars led 3-0, had played well defensively and were moving well between the 20s on offense. The Jaguars had outgained the Jets 143-94 and had eight first downs to six for the Jets. The Jets dominated the third quarter and their 99-6 yardage advantage helped them turn a three-point deficit into a seven-point lead. The Jets also used the momentum from the quarter to score on the first possession of the fourth quarter and extend the lead to 14.
The Jaguars sustained no major injuries that were initially reported. Owens left with cramps, and cornerback Derek Cox and tight end Marcedes Lewis each left briefly, but all returned to the game.
The Jaguars visit the Miami Dolphins Sunday.
Another week, another disappointing loss. This was also another game in which the defense struggled in the second half. A week ago, the Jaguars were still very much in a game against the Bills, trailing 17-10 at halftime, but the Bills controlled the third quarter and pushed the lead to 34-10 early in the fourth quarter. On Sunday, the Jaguars had controlled the game in the first half before the Jets decided to focus on the run in the third quarter. The decision proved wise as three of the Jets' drives that began in the third quarter resulted in scores. That has been a trend this season, and it's difficult to win if you can't keep the opposing team from running at will in the final two quarters.