3 Up 3 Down
An initial look at three players or units whose performance were up and three who were down in the Jaguars 26-23 loss to the Vikings.
1. Eugene Monroe
He has a very good game against the NFL's reigning sack leader. Gabbert only goes down twice and none by Jared Allen. Monroe held Allen at bay all game long and needed very little help in doing so. He was also solid in run blocking, moving his man off his mark at the point attack. On a 3rd and 1 late in the game Monroe had the extra push that allowed Gabbert to convert a sneak for a first down.
The linebackers, led by Paul Posluszny, showed up all over the field making plays. The unit was a little short without Daryl Smith but Russell Allen and Kyle Bosworth played well. Allen and Posluszny played a 2nd quarter pass to Kyle Rudolph beautifully by covering the deep man and short man on the bootleg. All three were aggressive in run support and made the most of their opportunities to bring the ball carrier down. The unit finished with 14 tackles on the afternoon.
3. Terrance Knighton
Knighton creates a fumble on a 3rd quarter sack of Christian Ponder that is recovered by C.J. Moseley. Turnover leads to a Josh Scobee field goal.
1. Blaine Gabbert
Plays better then at any point last year and shows hope for a bright future. But had too many incomplete passes at critical moments. In the 1st quarter missed Justin Blackmon in the end zone and ultimately settle for a field goal. In the 3rd quarter fumbles a snap from Brad Meester that leads to an Adrian Peterson touchdown. On the final play of the game he badly overthrows Laurent Robinson. If the defense holds in the final 20 seconds, this would have been an up. Gabbert finishes 23 of 39 for 260 yards and 2 touchdowns.
We'll start with this stat: Christian Ponder did not throw an incomplete pass in the 3rd quarter and only two in the 4th. The secondary was gutted by Ponder for 270 yards on 20 of 27 passing. Chris Prosinsky dropped a sure interception in the 1st quarter that could have been an early difference maker and a way to rattle a young quarterback. Aaron Ross was constantly beat whether playing on the outside in the base defense or on the inside in the nickel defense. Ross also missed quite a few tackles when in position to make a play. Percy Harvin had his way against any matchup the Jaguars threw his way and finished with 84 yards on 6 receptions, luckily the Vikings used him sparingly in the first half or this could have been worse for the secondary.
3. Special Teams
The most obvious error was a blocked extra point after the first touchdown but that ultimately did not hurt. The biggest issue came in kick coverage and returns as the Vikings had 128 yards on 4 kick returns and had 22 yards on 2 punt returns. Scobee and Anger did their jobs, but the coverage was poor and the middle of the line got pushed back to allow Matt Kalil to jump up for the block. The returners did not fair well either for the Jaguars as they only managed 63 yards on 3 kick returns and only 20 yards on 4 punt returns, including a muffed punt return out-of-bounds by Maurice Jones-Drew.