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Playing their best football

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Joey from Greenville, SC:
As I watched that opening drive, I thought to myself, man, Vic must be loving this. Just how much did you enjoy watching that opening drive?

Vic: I was stunned. I really couldn't believe what I was seeing. You just don't expect a Titans defense to get snowplowed like that on the opening drive of the game. Eleven runs in a 12-play drive? That's incredible. It says a lot about the state of the Jaguars offense, but I think it also says a lot about the state of the Titans. Something happened to that team shortly after it won in Jacksonville on Monday Night Football. I tend to believe the Vince Young thing divided that team. It's going to be the owner's job to pick sides in the offseason. In my opinion, it's either Jeff Fisher or Young, not both, and Fisher would be my pick.

Marc from Longwood, FL:
Your kind of football; temperatures in the 30's, a little snow falling and imposing your will on the opponent. Watching it on TV, it was hard to see how well each of the offensive linemen played. Who really dominated in the man-on-man battles?

Vic: I was sitting next to Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News in the postgame press conference and he asked me if Vince Manuwai is playing as well as it appeared. I said he is. Manuwai turned in another dominant run-blocking performance. Just as he was in the 2007 late-season rush, Manuwai is the engine that's driving the Jaguars' run-game.

John from Steubenville, OH:
Fedora or hard hat? No need for flash on this team.

Vic: I want the purple fedora. This season won't be complete until it makes its reappearance. I actually thought about getting one of those hats but they don't have a lot of them where I buy my khakis. I think the fedora should make the trip to Indianapolis, just in case.

Joel from Jacksonville:
Good game, good win. Who should I root for this Thursday?

Vic: Root for the Titans to beat the Colts on Thursday and the Ravens to beat the Texans on Sunday. Should those two results occur, a win over the Raiders would leave the Jaguars with a possible clinch scenario in Indianapolis, I believe. Don't hold me to it, but at first glance I think that possibility would exist.

Edward from Jacksonville:
Did the Jaguars play yesterday's game with FULL CONSISTENCY?

Vic: If that's not FULL CONSISTENCY, then it'll do until FULL CONSISTENCY gets here. Now, the question is: Will the FULL CONSISTENCY man finally break down and buy a ticket?

Chaz from Las Vegas, NV:
Going into January, who would you rather be facing at EverBank Field, New England or the Jets?

Vic: Anybody but Brady.

Olly from Oxford, England:
Perhaps the NFL's player-safety evaluators ought to have a look at the Jags-Titans game, a close, physical contest in which the run, not the pass, was dominant, and there were no personal fouls, no helmet-to-helmet hits and no hits on defenseless receivers.

Vic: The run game is the safe game. It's in the pass game that trouble begins. That's where we get hits on defenseless receivers, such as the one on Heath Miller that wasn't called in last night's game – the replay of that hit was frightening – and it's in the pass game that we get blows to the head on the quarterback, such as the one on Ben Roethlisberger in last night's game that resulted in a broken nose but no penalty. If player safety is as important as the league wants us to believe it is, then we need more run and less pass.

Howard from Homestead, FL:
Wow! Did you see the head slap on "Big Ben" last night? No flag. Do you think the league understands just how glaring the double standard is right now?

Vic: I think the league needs to understand how glaring it has become to the average fan, which isn't helping the credibility of the league right now.

Ric from Jacksonville:
There are two stats that impressed me after yesterday's game and I thought they perfectly summarized the improvements the team has made in the second half of the season. The Jaguars have not allowed a touchdown in the first quarter in the last five games, and they lead the NFL in the fewest three-and-outs, by a large margin. Are these statistics as impressive as they sound or are they just the type of stats that if you look hard enough you can find something that sounds good?

Vic: They are every bit as impressive as they sound. This is the best brand of football I have seen the Jaguars play since 2007, which was the best brand of football I had seen the Jaguars play since 1999.

Matt from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
17-6, 13-10, 13-10, 19-6, 10-6, 185 yards rushing, 210 yards, 197 yards, 251 yards, 258 yards: I wonder what the ratings were like this past weekend.

Vic: That's December football. That's my kind of football. I'll let you know what the ratings were like later in the week when I get them.

Kevin from Dunkirk, MD:
Maurice Jones-Drew now has five straight 100-yard games. In 2007, Fred Taylor finished the regular season with five consecutive 100-yard games.

Vic: The similarities are eerie. This is the Jaguars' identity. This is how they play under Jack Del Rio, when they are playing at their best. They need one more ingredient: improvement in the pass-defense. You can't win in Indianapolis without playing well in the secondary.

Tom from Jacksonville:
It was embarrassing how much love the Jaguars were getting on TV Sunday.

Vic: The we-don't-get-no-respect days are over. All of a sudden, the Jags are a media darling and expectations have been heightened. With a larger national profile and heightened expectations comes the need to fill your stadium. Winning teams are expected to draw. Jacksonville has long said give us a winner and we'll buy the tickets. OK, here's your winner. I expect sellouts, not just avoiding blackouts.

Daniel from Jacksonville:
I was at the game and that was exactly what December football should be: cold, snow, a stellar run game and a stout run-defense. Nashville is a fun town and I had nothing but good experiences with Titans fans at the game. Staring up at the press box, all I could think about was how much you were enjoying the game.

Vic: I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. Nashville people are super friendly and they're good fans. I didn't understand why they quit on the Titans – there were massive no-shows – but now I understand.

Jonathan from Sanford, FL:
Is it just me or does it seem exceptionally difficult to get into the playoffs this year? Why is that?

Vic: Yes, it's especially difficult to get into the postseason this year in the AFC because there are four power teams in two divisions that are eating up the two wild-card spots. If you're in the AFC South or West, you must win the division title to make it into the playoffs.

David from Orangedale, FL:
Granted, the Titans are in disarray, but I saw a team take what it wanted, not what was given.

Vic: You're absolutely right. I saw nine in the box from time to time. At no time were the Titans giving the run. The Jaguars took what they wanted and that's the mark of a power offense. We shouldn't, however, overlook the performance of David Garrard. He was sharp in the short-passing game. He converted on third down. He was the perfect complement to a team determined to run the ball.

Connell from Jacksonville:
After watching the Colts lose to the Cowboys, would you agree that we got the Cowboys at the right time?

Vic: I would agree. A lot has gone the Jaguars' way this season, which is often the case for teams on a roll. They got a 59-yard field goal from a kicker who's now struggling at much shorter distances. They got a "Hail Mary" touchdown that should've never happened. They caught the Cowboys at the height of their malaise. I'll give you another team the Jaguars caught at the right time: the Bills. I wouldn't wanna go up there and play them again. Dame fortune finds its way to your sideline from time to time. You have to take advantage of it and the Jaguars are doing that.

Marion from Jacksonville:
Pretty good coaching, huh, and I am not just talking about today's beat-down of the Titans?

Vic: This is an outstanding coaching job by this staff, and I'm not getting questions anymore asking me if Jack Del Rio is on the hot seat. This staff weathered the early storm of lopsided losses. That's the key. Del Rio and his staff were able to hold this team together against a firestorm of criticism for the lopsided losses against the Chargers, Eagles and Titans. Last week, they held it together against a firestorm of senseless criticism for the play-calling late in the game against the Giants. So how was the play-calling in Nashville? Was that good enough for you? It was masterful. Dirk Koetter was brilliant in stretching the Titans defense side to side with those Zach Miller end-around plays and wide receiver screens. That's what teams that want to run the ball do: They get a defense thinking laterally and then they pound it right at them. You can't dictate how many players are in the box, but you can dictate how wide they play. Koetter saw something on the left side of the Titans defense and he pounded at it with sweeps to the right. You know what bothers me: I didn't get one e-mail this morning, that I've read so far, praising the job Koetter did. That's very disappointing.

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