The Jaguars have erased their 0-2 start and are back to even with their favorite team to beat, the Pittsburgh Steelers, heading to town. All the credit goes to the offense.
For the second consecutive week, the Jaguars offense overcame a late score allowed with the game on the line by the team's defense. This time, it took a sudden-death, overtime period for the Jaguars to notch a 30-27 victory over the visiting Houston Texans.
"It turned into an offensive battle. It's huge for David Garrard to lead us for the second week in a row," coach Jack Del Rio said.
Matt Schaub won the statistical battle but Garrard won the "war," the result of Garrard and the Jaguars winning the overtime coin toss. The Jags took the ball and drove it 53 yards to a 37-yard, game-winning field goal by Josh Scobee. Schaub, who was masterful in throwing three touchdown passes and leading the Texans down the field in two fourth-quarter scoring drives, never touched the ball in the overtime period.
"He's become more than a power kickoff guy," Del Rio said of Scobee, who booted the game-winner for the second consecutive week. "He's become a complete kicker."
Whereas defense was once the Jaguars' trademark, it is now offense. Through four games this season, the Jaguars have scored more points than in any previous season's first four games with Del Rio as coach.
Yeah, Garrard and Scobee were heroes, again, but what about Del Rio, who has a penchant for fourth-down gambles? On fourth and four at the Texans 41 in the first quarter, Del Rio took a major risk at an early-game turning point by using a fake-punt play.
The result? Montell Owens ran 41 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Houston coach Gary Kubiak will, no doubt, be harshly criticized for not calling time out when the Jaguars punter shifted into the tight end position.
"I'm glad they didn't (call time out)," Del Rio said.
Jaguars special teams continue to overwhelm opponents. Hey, without that little number in the first quarter, there is no overtime period.
"We're gonna look to be aggressive where we can to win games," Del Rio said.
What the Jaguars need most is a little more aggressiveness on defense. The pass-rush didn't rush and the pass-coverage didn't cover nearly well enough on Sunday, as Schaub shredded the Jaguars for 307 yards.
"If you're not (rushing) the quarterback, he can get pretty comfortable back there. He was pretty efficient," Del Rio said of Schaub.
The worst part for the defense is that for the fourth consecutive week, it collapsed at crunch time. It has yet to stop an opponent from scoring with the game on the line late in the game.
"I recognize it's something we need to address and it has to get better. I'm not sticking my head in the sand. I know we've got work to do," Del Rio said.
The Jaguars were playing without free safety Reggie Nelson (knee) and lost cornerback Rashean Mathis to a shin bruise early in the game. Del Rio downplayed both injuries in his postgame remarks.
Fortunately, the Jaguars offense has picked up the slack, and now the Jaguars are at 2-2, alone in second place in the AFC South and two games behind the Tennessee Titans.
"I just think we're finally coming together as an offense. We just needed that confidence to be able to drop back and throw the ball deep down the field and just make plays," Garrard said.
"We know we can be in a pressure situation. We know we can do this. We can't blink. We can't be scared. We just have to go do our job. That's the way I play and that's the way our offense plays," Garrard added.