Jaguars: Inside the Numbers vs Houston

The scoreboard told us that the Jags won in a barn-burner. Upon further review of the game, we'll break down the team's play at each position.

Team Stat Comparison
1st Downs 24 23
Passing 1st downs
10 17
Rushing 1st downs
11 5
1st downs from Penalties
3 1
3rd down efficiency
5-11 4-10
4th down efficiency
1-1 1-1
Total Plays 61 59
Total Yards 398 397
Passing 214 286
18-30 26-35
Yards per pass
7.1 8.2
Rushing 184 111
Rushing Attempts
31 22
Yards per rush
5.9 5.0
Red Zone (Made-Att) 3-3 3-5
Penalties 5-40 5-60
Turnovers 1 2
Fumbles lost
1 1
Interceptions thrown
0 1
Defensive / Special Teams TDs 0 0
Possession 30:52 29:08

The Jaguars had by far their best offensive output of the season, which is something that should've happened against one of the worst secondaries in football in Houston. Let's see how each unit performed.

Quarterback: David Garrard wasn't sensational, but he resembled the quarterback that we saw in 2007 when the Jaguars had an explosive offense. The stats say Garrard went 18 of 30 for 214 yards, with no passing touchdowns (one rushing) or interceptions. Unlike last week, we believe Garrard outplayed his statistics as he made some big throws on third downs to keep Jaguars drives alive. Garrard's accuracy was less than stellar at many points in the game, but he stood tall in the pocket and was decisive. More performances like that will keep him as the Jags starting quarterback, but let's remember that he was playing against the Houston defense.

Running back:
Maurice Jones-Drew is stellar, nothing more to really say. 23 carries for 119 yards and three touchdowns rushing showed why the Jags were able to let Fred Taylor go and not skip a beat. MJD also caught four passes for 28 yards. Behind Jones-Drew, the backups were less than spectacular, as Rashad Jennings lacked burst.

Wide receivers:
Mike Sims-Walker was one late fumble away from having a perfect day. MSW led the team in receiving for the second consecutive game with six catches for 81 yards, and he is quickly becoming Garrard's favorite target. Rookie Mike Thomas received his first playing time and caught one pass for 10 yards. More importantly, Thomas took two reverses for 35 yards, and showed a suddenness that this team has lacked for years. Torry Holt caught three passes for 57 yards.

Tight ends:
Marcedes Lewis caught a pass over the middle for 18 yards, and Ernest Wilford caught a short pass and nearly turned it into a touchdown. Both Lewis and Wilford could be excellent weapons in the Jags passing game if used properly.

Offensive line:
The Jaguars offensive line came under fire after the team's opening day loss to Indianapolis, as first-round pick Eugene Monroe was spun like a top by Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney. Since that game, the line has played fantastic and on Sunday, David Garrard had as much time as he needed.

The Jaguars defense looked like two different units in each of the two halves, as they saved their best for last.

Defensive line:
The Jacksonville line isn't going to remind anyone of the New York Giants, but they are seemingly growing week by week. In the second half, Derrick Harvey was able to get some pressure, and John Henderson and Terrance Knighton continued their solid play. This group must certainly improve for the Jags to be a legit contender, but signs of improvement are evident.

The Jaguars linebackers showed an ability to make plays at the end of the game, but their problems in pass coverage are obvious. It doesn't appear as if any of the Jaguars three or four backers drop deep enough and on Sunday, the Texans made a living by running crosses with Kevin Walter and Andre Johnson. With a defensive line that's struggled to get consistent pressure, the linebackers must cover better or the team will continue to get picked apart.

Rashean Mathis grabbed a Matt Schaub pass on the game's opening drive and did a solid job on Andre Johnson. Rookie Derek Cox seems to stay with receivers, but he needs to improve his body positioning as Jacoby Jones caught a touchdown pass on him on a play where he was right with the receiver. He will learn that in time, and the Jaguars knew that these would be the growing pains the team would have to deal with by starting a rookie at corner.

The safety play was a little better on Sunday, but they still leave much to be desired. Reggie Nelson is still clueless at the safety position and Gerald Alexander allowed some plays as well. Sean Considine got hurt early and Alexander came in for him and there really wasn't any dropoff. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.

Special teams:
Josh Scobee booted a 52-yard field goal early, and the Jags coverage units were solid. Adam Podlesh was inconsistent and showed why he is average on a good day. The return game is in great need of Brian Witherspoon to return as the rookie return men were mediocre.

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