LONDON, England – Wow. I mean, just wow.
Les from Jagsonville:
Much-needed win, John, but why does it seem that when we have the lead, we play not to lose instead of play to win? We had Buffalo on the ropes in the first half, but let them come back in the second. Am I wrong, or is killer instinct missing in our locker room?? I won't question Gus, but shouldn't the halftime message be: "We've got 'em, now let's humiliate them!"
John: That probably was the message – and no doubt the Jaguars lacked a killer instinct on Sunday. But not to be snide, this team hasn't exactly enjoyed a slew of 24-point leads in recent years. If killer instinct is a learned thing, this team hasn't had too many opportunities to learn it. There were a lot of things that went wrong in the second half, but the fact that the offense put together a clutch drive after allowing a huge fourth-quarter comeback … that's gutsy and that showed resilience. For tonight at least, maybe that shouldn't be forgotten.
Ben from Jacksonville:
Well, they just about blew that one, didn't they?
John: Yes, and honestly, as I watched it, I had the same bad feeling Jaguars fans had as the lead slipped away. Momentum shifted, and after Toby Gerhart couldn't score on four runs from the 1, the Jaguars went three-and-out on two consecutive possessions. Those were only two of many can't-do-that, oh-no moments in the second half. How did it happen? The offense stagnated and the defense couldn't get a pass rush again. And then at the end, you know what? Aaron Colvin made a play and all was forgiven – a lot of it anyway. It shouldn't have been that dicey, but it was. Whew.
Andre from Jacksonville:
Allen Hurns for Pride of the Jaguars
John: Whoa there, big fella – but yes, that catch by Allen Hurns in the front corner of the end zone was the play of the game and the play of his career to date. It also saved the Jaguars from an awful ride home.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
Travis from Boyton:
It's ALIVE, the defense is ALIVE!!! Telvin Smith is an animal.
John: This was a common theme in the in-box in the first half. Not unexpectedly. The Jaguars' defensive surge early in the second quarter was as spectacular as it was unexpected. It began with a fumble return for a touchdown by Chris Clemons after a sack by cornerback Aaron Colvin. It was significant that that play came on a blitz, something the team had hinted at doing more this past week. Smith and linebacker Paul Posluszny then got interceptions, with Smith returning his 26 yards for a touchdown and Posluszny setting up a 28-yard touchdown run by T.J. Yeldon. Defensive coordinator Bob Babich had said this past week that turnovers come in bunches when they come. Prophetic guy, that Bob Babich.
Jody from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba:
No real question, I just wanted to be the much anticipated first email. Did I make it?
John: Yes. Now, stop that.
MrPadre from Kingsland, GA:
I see we've figured out our second-half woes and learned how to put teams away with the lead! Sigh.
John: Well, they did, eventually. In a lot of ways, this was kind of a textbook example of a team with a lead letting in a few points and nearly giving it away. And there were a couple of series in the second half – the fourth consecutive stuffed runs from the 1-yard line and two consecutive three-and-outs – that felt like the last couple of years … but hey, a win's a win a win's a win …
Eric from New York City:
Zero pass rush. Wow this is a major issue.
John: Ya think?
Kyle from Clearwater, FL:
Shad Khan is a great owner. Not only is he concerned with his NFL franchise, but he also shows a great deal of concern for the city of Jacksonville and the people who live there. In his interview, he talked a lot about improvements for the city and ways to create jobs. I can see how season-ticket holders might be upset about losing a home game, but that seems kind of small in the scope of all the things that Khan has planned for Jacksonville. Are other owners as involved with their respective cities as Khan?
John: I'm sure there are, but I only know first-hand about Khan's commitment – and, as you indicate, it's sincere and striking. He's an outside-the-box thinker and has brought that to the organization with the London initiative that has gone a long way toward stabilizing the franchise in Jacksonville. The loss of a home game at EverBank indeed does bother people, but a strong argument can be made that it's a fair price for franchise stability.
Sid from Jacksonville:
How in the world did Allen Hurns slip through the cracks?
John: Good question, and considering Hurns' production it seems odd to many that he wasn't drafted. Basically, Hurns fell victim to being really good in a lot of areas and not perceived as great at any one thing coming out of college. He also wasn't prototypical in terms of size or speed. That led many to overlook him. That, as it turns out, was a mistake.
Ryan from Las Vegas, NV:
Just win, baby.
John: Good point.