Defensively, the Jaguars had to play “bend but don’t break” football as first-year starting quarterback Kevin Kolb looked as smooth and confident as Drew Brees as he drove his Eagles up and down the football field with ease.
“Both drives were successful as we put six points on the board,” Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb said.
The only positive that the Jaguars defensive starters could take was their red zone efficiency, as they held the Philadelphia starters to just a pair of field goals followed by a red zone turnover.
Offensively, the Jaguars picked up right where they left off last year when they lost four consecutive games to end the season. David Garrard and company managed just one first down (against the Eagles backups) in three drives as the Eagles refused to let the Jaguars run the football and forced the team into being a one-dimensional passing team, something that the Jaguars could not do effectively. Garrard completed just five of ten passes for 35 yards, most of the completions being check-downs.
One of the throws that wasn’t checked down was a fourth-down toss to Mike Sims-Walker in which the Jaguars receiver was “hung out to dry” in triple-coverage. Sims-Walker gave a valiant effort, but the ball fell incomplete and he headed to the locker room with a hurt shoulder. The Jaguars leading receiver from a season ago was seen on the sideline in a sling.
The game changed immediately when the Jaguars moved to their second-team offense led by quarterback Luke McCown. McCown’s first official pass from scrimmage landed in the arms of a streaking Troy Williamson for a 73-yard touchdown.
“We just wanted to get out and move the ball,” McCown said in a sideline interview.
McCown had no problem moving the ball as he torched the same Eagles backups that the Jaguars starters struggled with. McCown led the team to three touchdown drives as he completed 11 of his 15 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns. McCown was confident in the pocket and wasn’t afraid to throw down the football field. The exact opposite of the Jaguars current starter.
“Some things opened up for us, some guys ran great routes, and we had protection all night that was great,” McCown said. “When all of these components come together, all you have to do is make a throw.”
The Jaguars special teams units were stellar all evening as they averaged nearly 37 yards per kickoff return. Both Deji Karim and Scotty McGee showed great speed and vision, and the blocking up front was stellar. Punter Adam Podlesh landed four of his six punts inside the 20-yard line, including one that was downed inside the five by free agent acquisition Kassim Osgood.
The Jaguars will have plenty to work on this week in practice as they will take the field again on Saturday evening against the Miami Dolphins.