As a fan, week one against the Eagles started out as the highest of highs and ended at the lowest of lows. No one in the league, no one in the country and probably only 10 people in Jacksonville expected the Jaguars to start off the way they did. With 14:14 left in the 2nd Quarter, the Jaguars were up 17-0 and the home crowd in Philadelphia was serenading the team with a magical chorus of boos. Ahhh, that sound was great! And then it was gone.
Just over three minutes later, Scobee missed a 50 yard field goal just wide left and after a huge end zone interception by Allen Ball, the Jags marched down the field only to have a 36 yard field goal blocked. That was one of two key plays that really changed the momentum of the game. With that second missed field goal, the score stayed 17-0 at halftime.
The play that truly changed the momentum of the game is the now infamous 4th & 1 play with 11:46 left in the 3rd quarter. After an 8 yard pass to Darren Sproles leaving it at 4th & 1, Nick Foles raced the Eagles up to the line of scrimmage. The Jaguars were noticeably running around confused and obviously not ready. You could make two choices here — (1) call timeout and set the play up or (2) get to the line quickly. Jaguars chose the second option and on the snap of the ball, the red seas parted and Sproles went up the middle for a 49 yard touchdown. From that point on, the game was in the hands of the hometown Eagles and it looked like the Jaguars had no chance. Eagles win 34-17.
When the Jaguars roll into Fedex Field this Sunday, it will be the second home opener they will experience in as many weeks. The fanfare will be crazy and the home crowd is going to be charged up….just like in Philadelphia. The idea of momentum can start as soon as you walk out of those tunnels during team introductions. Teams and players prepare in different ways and, with the upbeat personality of Coach Gus Bradley, the Jags should be coming out of that locker room pumped and prepared.
Robert Griffin III (RG3) can be the king of momentum. No matter what the national critics say, the Redskins live and die by what he does while he is on the field. He can turn a broken play into a 50 yard scamper thus allowing the crowd into the game. He has the arm to throw it deep to his new weapon DeSean Jackson and any big plays give them the momentum.
The Jaguars need to avoid allowing the big play. They need to have another first half like they did in the Eagles game. Jump on the Redskins early and take them out of the their game plan and take the crowd out. This time, they need to do it for four quarters. That has been the common theme in this weeks press conferences — 60 minute football and you need to do it for 4 quarters.
Momentum swings at the drop of a hat. Let’s keep the momentum on our side this week and the Jags should come home 1-1 to their third home opener, OUR home opener.
This will be the 6th meeting between the Jaguars and Redskins and the Jags have a record of 1-4 in that time. The last meeting was in 2010 and was a 20-17 Redskins win in Jacksonville. The Jaguars last, and only, win against Washington came in 2002.
Washington may not have the services of Tight End Jordan Reed (Doubtful — hamstring) and Nose Tackle Barry Cofield (short term injured reserve — ankle). Also, Brandon Meriweather is serving his 2 game suspension and will not be on the field.
Jacksonville will be without Austin Pasztor (hand). Jonathan Cyprien (concussion) is doubtful and we will see this weekend what is going on with Cecil Shorts III (hamstring).
Coming back to the state of Florida — A number of Redskins on the 53-man roster played college ball in the state of Florida: Jordan Reed (Florida), Alfred Morris (Florida Atlantic) and Santana Moss (Miami)
WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN
- Jaguars Defense containing RG3 — To be successful in this game, they can not let him use his legs.
- Henne being consistent — The first half of the Eagle game was awesome. Let’s see if he can do it this week and live by his new creed of “huck ’em and chuck ’em”
- Jaguars running game vs. Redskins front 7 — Jaguars finished last weeks game with 64 yards on 25 carries. Washington gave up 115 yards on 35 carries. Gerhart and Co. need to find the same holes the Texans found last week and they need to find them early and often
- Jags defensive back field — Cyprien is probably not available and Gratz suffered an injury in practice this week. This young group needs to step up and keep the Redskins from making those big plays.
- MOMENTUM — Start fast and start strong. Start out the way you did last week and keep your “foot on the pedal!” Take the crowd out of the game early and keep them out.