Jags Finish First Half on a High Note

The question for the Jaguars is whether they'll be better in the second half of the season than they were in the first half.



The Jaguars evened their record at 4-4 going into their bye week as they stunned the struggling Cowboys 35-17 to end a two-game losing streak.

David Garrard, returning from a concussion, tied the franchise record with four touchdown passes in the rout. Mark Brunell had four in 1998, and Quinn Gray did it in 2007.

Garrard played well in four games in the first half of the season and poorly in the other three, so the Jaguars need him to be more consistent in the second half of the season. Since the start of the 2008 season, he has had a passer rating of 100-plus 12 times and a rating under 65 11 times.

If Jacksonville duplicated its 4-4 record of the first half in the second half, that probably wouldn't be good enough to make the playoffs.

After the bye, the Jaguars have three of their next five games at home, facing the Texans and Browns next and the Raiders in the fifth game. They play at the Giants and at the Titans in the third and fourth games.

They also need an improved showing by their defense, which was among the league's worst in the first seven games but held the Cowboys and backup quarterback Jon Kitna to just a field goal for three quarters.

They also had a goal-line stand at the end of the first half that turned the game in their favor.

After Kitna scrambled 8 yards to the Jaguars 1 with 15 seconds left, Dallas faced third down.

The Jaguars stopped Marion Barber on third down, so the Cowboys called timeout and ran him again. And the Jaguars stopped him again. The booth looked at it on replay and ruled he didn't make it.

So the Cowboys went to the dressing room trailing 14-3 instead of 14-10. After the Jaguars added two touchdowns in the second half, the rout was on.

On the Jaguars' first drive of the third quarter, Garrard moved the team 83 yards in six plays with the touchdown coming on a 15-yard screen pass to Mike Thomas.

On their second drive, he directed a 33-yard drive in five plays after a Derek Cox interception. Marcedes Lewis, who had a 42-yard touchdown catch in the first half, ended it with a 9-yard touchdown catch


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