The importance of* *Maurice Jones-Drew to the Jaguars offense can't be overstated. The sixth-year pro leads the AFC and ranks second in the NFL with 1,040 rushing yards, trailing leader LeSean McCoy by only 10 yards heading into Week 13. Jones-Drew has accounted for 45.3 percent of the Jaguars offense through 11 games, the highest percentage in the NFL (1,246 of 2,750 yards). Chicago's Matt Forte is second at 39.5 percent (1,475 of 3,729 yards).
In the previous 16 seasons, the Jaguars have never had a player finish in the top three in the NFL in rushing yards. Jones-Drew finished fourth in 2009 with a career-high 1,391 yards. Jones-Drew is on pace for the most productive season of his career and is looking to become the first player in franchise history to rush for 1,300 yards in three consecutive seasons. Here are some other items of note:
- He is the only player in the NFL with at least 63 rushing yards in every game this season.
- Among the top 15 rushers in the NFL, he has the lowest percentage of rushes for negative yards (7.8 pct.)
- Ranks second in the NFL in yards after contact (564), sixth in yards from scrimmage (1,246) and second in total first downs (60).
- Leads the NFL in rushes (230) and offensive touches (253).
- His 26 rushes of 10-plus yards are the fourth-most in the NFL and the third-most of his career with five games remaining (2010, 34; 2006, 28).
- Enters the last five games with 68 career touchdowns (59 rushing, 7 receiving, 2 returns) in 88 games. He needs one touchdown to tie Jimmy Smith (69) for the second-most in team history. Fred Taylor owns the franchise record with 70.
- Has 20-plus carries in six of 11 games and is averaging 103.5 rushing yards in those six games.
- The Jaguars are 16-6 when he rushes for 100-plus yards and 3-0 when he has 30-plus rushes in his career.
Pro Bowl voting
In the latest Pro Bowl fan voting, running back Maurice Jones-Drew ranks third among running backs and kicker Josh Scobee is fourth among AFC kickers. Jones-Drew and Scobee are the only Jaguars ranked among the top five at their respective positions.
Jones-Drew, with 387,402 votes, trails Houston's Arian Foster (520, 528) and Oakland's Darren McFadden (404,533) among AFC running backs.
2012 Pro Bowl voting will continue online and on web-enabled mobile phones by going to www.jaguars.com/pro-bowl through Monday, December 19. The teams will be announced on Tuesday, December 27. The 2012 Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, January 29 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Shutting down the run game
The Texans entered last Sunday's game with the NFL's second-ranked rushing attack (158.1 avg.) led by Arian Foster and Ben Tate. In the four games prior to Sunday, the Texans produced rushing totals of 222, 156, 161 and 185 yards. The Jaguars held the Houston rushing attack to 88 yards on 31 carries (2.8 avg.). Foster finished with 65 yards on 22 carries (3.0) while Tate rushed five times for 26 yards (5.2 avg.).
Points don't come easy
The Jaguars rank fifth in the NFL with only 189 offensive points allowed through 11 games (17.2 avg.). Only four teams have eclipsed 20 points and the defense has allowed an average of only 14.2 points in the last six games. The Jaguars held the Colts to three points on Nov. 13, their lowest scoring output since September 14, 1997 against Seattle.
Facing the best
The Jaguars have faced the top six defenses in the NFL through 11 games including a stretch of four straight games against defenses ranked in the top five. Blaine Gabbert's first career win as a starter came against the Baltimore Ravens, the third-ranked defense in the NFL. Gabbert will battle a Chargers defense on Monday that is ranked 13th in the NFL (337.2).
The Jaguars are 3-8 after 11 games and there are several similarities in each of the three wins. Here's a look at some statistics from the Jaguars' three wins:
- Averaged 145.3 rushing yards and 43.3 rushing attempts in the wins. In each of the three wins, the Jaguars have at least 132 rushing yards and 40-plus attempts and have outrushed their opponents in all three wins (163 vs. Tennessee; 132 vs. Baltimore; 141 at Indianapolis).
- The Jaguars have been even or won the turnover differential in each of the three wins. The Jaguars have won the sack differential in two of the three wins.
- In 36 possessions, the defense has allowed only four scoring drives, forced 22 punts and 23 three-and-outs which includes two interceptions and two fumbles.
- Have held opponents under 84 rushing yards in all three wins (43, Tennessee; 34 Baltimore; 84 Indianapolis). Opponents have been held to only 216.6 total yards with Tennessee's 292 yards in the opener the most.
- Controlled the ball for at least 35:21 in all three wins (39:38 vs. Tennessee; 36:15 vs. Baltimore; 35:21 at Indianapolis).
- Maurice Jones-Drew has at least 24 carries and 97 rushing yards in all three wins including two 100-yard rushing games. Jones-Drew averaged 26.3 carries and 105.3 rushing yards in the wins.
- Josh Scobee connected on eight of nine field goals in the wins including six of seven from 40-plus yards.
Under the lights
The Jaguars are hosting their second Monday Night Football game of the season and the 11th in franchise history. The Jaguars earned a 12-7 win over Baltimore in week seven and improved to 8-6 on Monday night. Monday's game will be the Jaguars' 30th nationally televised prime time game in their 17 seasons with at least one each season and a record of 14-15.
This will be the fifth meeting between the Jaguars and Chargers with each team winning two games at home. The teams are meeting for the second consecutive season as the Chargers earned a 38-13 win in week two of the 2010 season.
A look at Meester's career
Center Brad Meester set a franchise record last Sunday by playing in his 172nd career game, surpassing Jimmy Smith (171). By playing in 2011, Meester became the first player in team history to play 12 seasons, breaking the tie he shared with Smith and Fred Taylor (11). Meester also owns the franchise record for career starts (172) and most consecutive starts (92, Sept. 3, 2000 through Dec. 4, 2005).
Meester was one of 255 players selected in the 2000 draft, and is one of only 20 players left in the class currently on an NFL roster. His 172 career starts are the most of any player selected in the 2000 draft. Other players selected in the 2000 NFL Draft still on an NFL roster include Tom Brady, Thomas Jones, Fred Robbins, Brian Urlacher, Neil Rackers, John Abraham, Sebastian Janikowski and Plaxico Burress. Mark Brunell is the only player remaining on an NFL roster who played for the Jaguars in Meester's first regular season game on Sept. 3, 2000 at Cleveland.
How things have changed since 2000, Meester's rookie year
- 10 new NFL stadiums have been constructed.
- U.S. census in 2000 was 281,421,906. As of Nov. 22, 2011, census was 312,651,144.
- The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville and the St. Johns Town Center were not built yet.
- The President of the United States of America was Bill Clinton.
- Average cost of a gallon of gas was $1.26.
- Dial-up was the most convenient way to connect to the Internet.
- The top selling movie was How the Grinch Stole Christmas - ($260,044,825).
- Dora the Explorer, one of Nickelodeon's hottest shows, made its debut in August of 2000.
- U.S. Postage stamp costs 33 cents.
- Microsoft released Windows 2000
- More than 50 million viewers watched the first season finale of the reality show "Survivor."
The Jaguars lead the NFL with 18 players on injured reserve including four regular starters in Eben Britton, Derek Cox, Clint Session and Rashean Mathis.
Nine players have started all 11 games this season for the Jaguars:
Defensively (5):DT Tyson Alualu, S Dawan Landry, DE Jeremy Mincey, LB Paul Posluszny, LB Daryl Smith
Offensively (4): RB Maurice Jones-Drew, C Brad Meester, G Uche Nwaneri, RT Guy Whimper
20 players have played in all 11 games this season for the Jaguars:
Defensively (10):LB Russell Allen,DT Tyson Alualu, CB Drew Coleman, DT Leger Douzable, S Dawan Landry, DB Dwight Lowery, DB William Middleton, DE Jeremy Mincey, LB Paul Posluszny, LB Daryl Smith
Offensively (8): FB Greg Jones, RB Maurice Jones-Drew, RB Deji Karim, C Brad Meester, G Uche Nwaneri, TE Zach Potter, WR Mike Thomas, RT Guy Whimper
Special teams (2): LS Jeremy Cain, K Josh Scobee
- The Jaguars defense leads the NFL by allowing only 10 points on their opponents' first possession of the second half. In 11 games, the defense has forced seven punts and allowed one touchdown and one field goal. On the flip side, the Jaguars have given up a league-high 35 points on their opponents' first possession.
- Opposing offenses have punted 68 times in 11 games, the second-most in the NFL.
- The Jaguars defense has done a commendable job of getting off the field on third down. The club ranks 12th in the NFL in third down defense (57 of 156, 36.5 pct.). Opponents have converted only 13 of 79 plays (16.5 pct.) on third-and-six or more yards, the third-lowest percentage in the NFL. On fourth-and-10-plus plays, the Jaguars defense ranks fifth in the NFL by allowing only a 13.7 percent conversion.
- The Jaguars are one of 10 teams without an illegal contact penalty and one of seven teams without a roughing the passer penalty.
- Opposing quarterbacks are averaging only 10.29 yards per completion, the third-lowest average in the NFL, and 6.40 yards per attempt, the fourth-lowest average in the NFL.
Next man up
The Jaguars defense lost its two starting cornerbacks (Rashean Mathis, Derek Cox) and a starting linebacker (Clint Session) in consecutive weeks to season-ending injuries. In addition, the Jaguars have been without the services of defensive tackle Terrance Knighton for the last three games as he deals with an ankle injury. Defensive end Matt Roth suffered a head injury at Cleveland on Nov. 20 and was inactive last week.
With five starters out against Houston, the Jaguars limited the Texans to 215 total yards (88 rushing, 127 passing) and held them scoreless in the second half.
Here's a look at the five players that have been inserted into the starting lineup in recent weeks:
■ CB William Middleton - Has started the last two games after Rashean Mathis went down with a season-ending knee injury and has made six starts this season. The third-year pro has played in 39 games with nine starts for the Jaguars since joining the club as a rookie in 2009. He was originally a fifth-round draft pick of Atlanta and also spent time with Tampa Bay as a rookie. Has 33 tackles, three passes defensed and one interception in 11 games.
■ CB Ashton Youboty - Signed with the Jaguars on Nov. 15 after being waived by Tampa Bay in the preseason. Saw action for 23 snaps in his Jaguars debut at Cleveland on Nov. 20 and was inserted into the starting lineup last Sunday against Houston after Derek Cox was placed on injured reserve. The sixth-year pro recovered an Arian Foster fumble on the Texans' third play from scrimmage and raced 38 yards to the end zone for his first career score.
■ DL C.J. Mosley - Seventh-year pro has started the last three games with Terrance Knighton inactive. He has totaled 18 tackles in the three-game stretch including three tackles for loss last Sunday against Houston. He has played in 78 career games with nine starts with Minnesota, the New York Jets and Cleveland.
■ DT Leger Douzable - Made his first start as a Jaguar last Sunday against Houston at DE for Matt Roth. Has played in 38 career games including 26 over the past two seasons for the Jaguars.
■ LB Russell Allen - Totaled 13 tackles including two for loss last Sunday against Houston. Has made 11 career starts for the Jaguars since earning a roster spot as an undrafted rookie in 2009.