Saints March All Over Jaguars

The Jaguars completed their week of distractions with a 41-24 thrashing at the hands of the New Orleans Saints. The Jaguars as a whole, looked poorly prepared as the Saints offense marched down the football field at will, and the Jaguars inexperienced backup quarterback Quinn Gray, made a few key mistakes which allowed the Saints to keep the game in their control.

The New Orleans Saints looked completely unstoppable on this day as they racked up 539 yards of total offense, mostly through the air. Drew Brees completed 35 of 49 passes for 435 yards and 3 touchdowns, and finished with a passer rating of 119.9. Brees found nine different receivers, led by Pro Bowler Marques Colston who finished with 10 receptions for 159 yards. Reggie Bush caught seven balls for 43 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 72 yards and another touchdown on 17 carries. The 539 total yards of offense was the most allowed in Jaguars history, surpassing the previous high of 533 yards allowed to the Indianapolis Colts in September of 2000.

The Jaguars defense looked like boys playing against men as they weren't able to sustain any pressure at all against Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Brees was sacked just once, and that came on a play in which he simply lost control of the football without being touched. The Jaguars also had trouble tackling, as seemingly Saints offensive player with the football failed to go down on the first contact.

Offensively, the Jaguars were forced to throw the football as the Saints tenth-ranked rushing defense held Jacksonville to just 88 yards rushing on 23 attempts. Jaguars quarterback Quinn Gray played better than he did a week earlier, as he completed 20 of 33 passes for 354 yards, including 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, with a passer rating of 79.6. Gray's second interception of the day proved to be a killer as Saints cornerback Mike Mackenzie took the pass and returned it 75 yards to put the Saints up by 14 points, and the Jaguars were never closer than that for the rest of the afternoon.

Jaguars running back Fred Taylor had 54 yards on 13 carries, and fell 13 yards short of the career milestone of 10,000 rushing yards. The lone bright spot for the Jaguars was wide receiver Reggie Williams who caught six passes for a career high 128 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown came on an 80-yard bomb from Quinn Gray, the second-longest touchdown pass in Jaguars history.

This defeat at the hands of the Saints ends a week of distractions for the Jaguars, in which their three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcus Stroud faced reports of a failed performance enhancing drug test, and two of their reserves were arrested. This loss also leaves the Jaguars at 5-3 through the first half of the season, third place in their division. The good news for Jaguars fans is that if the playoffs were to begin today, Jacksonville would be in with the final wildcard spot. Unfortunately, the playoffs do not begin today, and the team has plenty of work to do if they're going to make their second trip to the postseason in the last three years.

Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Jagnation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, and Sportsillustated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer.

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