Week 12 Game Recap: Jacksonville Jaguars 24, Arizona Cardinals 17
What you need to know
The Jaguars lost starting quarterback Byron Leftwich during their first series in this game to a broken ankle, but rode a strong defense, excellent special teams play and a solid performance by his replacement, David Garrard, to come out victorious. Leftwich left the game and the Jaguars tweaked their play calling to include running plays by Garrard, to take advantage of his athleticism. They did not abandon the passing game, as Garrard threw the ball 26 times, but though he showed a strong arm, he missed several open receivers. Garrard ended with 12 completions for 115 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions. He was a threat in the running game, scoring on a 16 yard running play that was called. He eluded some Arizona defenders, and showed impressive speed to beat another one to the end zone. Garrard 61 yards rushing on six attempts, and though he was not the passing threat Leftwich is, was good enough to help the Jaguars win.
Receiver Jimmy Smith was targeted the most by far in this game. He was targeted 14 times in the game, and caught half of them for 70 yards. Smith was open on a few other occasions, but Garrard missed him. He also was open for a pass thrown to him in the end zone that he dropped. However, he was called for offensive pass interference, so even if he had caught the pass, it would not have counted. None of the other Jaguars receivers distinguished themselves in this game, which could be attributed to the change in quarterback.
Fred Taylor did not play, and Greg Jones assumed the bulk of the running game load. Jones ran hard on every carry, but despite requiring multiple defenders to stop him, he did not gain many yards. He finished the day with 78 yards rushing and one touchdown on 23 carries, but gained 25 of those yards on his touchdown run. Despite his relative ineffectiveness, Jacksonville did not abandon the running game, and kept feeding Jones the ball.
This win was a team effort. Jacksonville did enough on offense to move the ball and eat up the clock, and their special teams came through with a touchdown on a kick off return by Derrick Wimbush. Garrard made good decisions in terms of which receiver to throw to, and looked for Smith a lot, but he did not connect on most of his passes. This led the Jaguars to rely on their running game, and although they were not able to generate much of one, they still attempted to vary their attack the two times they were in the red zone. One was the designed run by Garrard, which resulted in a 16 yard touchdown. On the other, Garrard attempted to pass, was flushed from the packet and threw the ball away. The next play was a run by Jones up the middle for four yards. The last play was an incomplete pass to Smith in the end zone.
The Cardinals did not play well at the beginning, in large part to Jacksonville’s excellent defense. Kurt Warner was under duress for most of the game, and as a result had to make shorter throws or throw the ball away. Warner was sacked three times, and knocked down many other times, but he kept standing in there, trying to wait for one of his receivers to get open. Whenever his offensive line gave him time, Warner would throw deep and was able to convert on several long passes. He showed he could make whatever throws were asked of him, from a precise timing one yard touchdown pass to a well covered receiver, to several strikes of over 20 yards to various receivers. Most of his passing yards came in the latter part of the game, when the Cardinals had to pass in an attempt to catch up, but to his credit, Warner took advantage of what the defense gave him. Warner ended with 315 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on 29 of 46 passing attempts.
Anquan Boldin was the most productive wide receiver, turning a whopping 18 targets into ten receptions for 115 yards. He was used mostly on intermediate or short routes, but was targeted deep on several passes. He showed excellent concentration, and would have caught more if not for some excellent plays by Jacksonville’s secondary. Boldin lost his composure late in the game, as he argued with referees and Jaguars’ defenders and incurred an unsportsmanlike penalty for his efforts on one occasion.
Both of Arizona’s running backs, J.J. Arrington and Marcel Shipp, ran for over ten yards on their first attempts, but were ineffective afterwards. They did not provide much of a running threat, and both players had just six rushing attempts apiece.
The Cardinals abandoned their running game early, and tried to remain in the game on the strength of their passing game. However, on their two trips inside the red zone, they attempted to run Arrington up the middle. On their first red zone trip, penalties forced them out of the red zone after Arrington gained a few yards on two attempts. On their second trip, after Arrington’s first down run from the two yard line gained one yard, Warner threw a touchdown pass.
What you ought to know
|QB David Garrard, Pass: 12 - 26 - 115 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 61 - 1|
Garrard spelled Leftwich for the remainder of the game and did a credible job of managing the game. He displayed strong rushing skills, and showed he can throw the ball where asked. He tended to lock on to Jimmy Smith a lot, targeting him on more than half of his attempts. Garrard missed some open receivers, which would have improved his passing numbers.
Leftwich was hurt on his first pass attempt, but despite limping, stayed in to complete a pass to Smith, and then left for the remainder of the game with an ankle injury. X rays have revealed Leftwich has a broken ankle and will be out indefinitely.
Jones ran hard and with power, but other than his 25 yard touchdown run, was held to minimal gains on his other rushing attempts. He appeared to be close to breaking several tackles for bigger gains, but was unable to do so.
Pearman had one carry in the game, and converted both of his targets for completions. He did convert one of the passes thrown to him on a third down play for a first down, but did not have a large role in the game.
Toefield did not play much, and as a result was not a factor in the game.
Wimbush’s biggest contribution was returning a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown that turned out to be the difference in the game.
Smith had another solid game, and benefited from Garrard apparently being most comfortable with him, by being targeted the most of all Jacksonville’s receivers. He was up to the challenge, and would have probably caught more passes, as several passes intended for him were out of his grasp. Smith ran any route asked of him, and was able to get open throughout the game thanks to his precise route running, quickness and speed.
Wilford did not have a productive game, in some part to being targeted just once in the second half. As a result, his impact on the game was minimal.
|WR Matt Jones, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (2 targets)|
Jones did not have many passes thrown his way, as Garrard did not look his way often. His first target did not come until there was less than a minute remaining in the first half, as Garrard focused on Jimmy Smith when he threw the ball. Jones did not have many opportunities to have an impact in the game.
Williams was involved as a receiver twice in the game, but did not catch either pass. He did however; break up one of the passes intended for him to prevent a possible interception.
Brady was asked to contribute more as a blocker than a receiver in this game.
Wrighster was not a factor in this game.
Scobee made all three of his extra point attempts, and made one field goal from 30 yards. He had one miss, which was from 38 yards.
The Jaguars rush defense was outstanding throughout the game. They removed the running game as a factor early, and forced the Cardinals to focus almost exclusively on their passing game. Both of the starting running backs for the Cardinals gained over ten yards on their first rushing attempts, but were held to a combined 24 yards on ten attempts afterwards. The Jaguars’ defensive line was stout, and had good support from the linebackers on the rare occasions when they needed help to stop a running play.
Jacksonville’s pass defense was very aggressive and made several big plays. The front four was assisted by blitzing teammates, and they were able to record three sacks on Warner and bat down some of his passes at the line of scrimmage. Although Warner ended with over 300 yards passing, most of these numbers came in the fourth quarter, when he had to pass and Jacksonville was protecting a 14 point lead. The Jaguars forced Warner to hurry a lot of his throws, and in addition to sacking him three times, knocked him down seven other times. One of Jacksonville’s defenders dropped an interception, but the defense stiffened on Arizona’s last drive. With less than a minute remaining, a Jaguars’ defender sacked Warner, causing him to fumble, and another Jaguar recovered to seal the game. The Jaguars did allow two passing touchdowns where the offensive receiver outplayed the defenders, who were in single coverage on both occasions, to catch the ball.
|QB Kurt Warner, Pass: 29 - 46 - 315 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0|
Warner played well considering he was playing against a very good, very aggressive Jacksonville defense. Although he had to rush some of his throws, when given time, Warner almost always looked to go deep in an effort to have a big play. He displayed great accuracy on short, intermediate and deep passes when given time to throw. He was able to bring the Cardinals back to where they had a chance to tie the game, but fumbled while being sacked, turning the ball over to the Jaguars with less than a minute remaining.
|RB Marcel Shipp, Rush: 6 - 23 - 0, Rec: 3 - 31 - 0 (3 targets)|
Shipp was more productive as a receiver. He showed good initial burst but was unable to get past the second line of defense. He too did not have many touches in the running game due to Arizona focusing on the passing game.
Arrington had a nice 26 yard run where he showcased an ability to run outside with speed and make defenders miss, but was not a factor afterwards. He was given some rushing opportunities inside the red zone, but was unable to get into the end zone. He did not have many touches as the Cardinals were forced to abandon the running game.
Jackson had one rushing attempt and did not contribute otherwise.
Baxter was used as an outlet receiver once.
|WR Anquan Boldin, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 10 - 115 - 0 (18 targets)|
Boldin played well, running a variety of routes well, and getting open a fair amount of the time against a very good Jaguars secondary. He and Warner seemed to be in sync on several timing routes, both intermediate and deep routes. Boldin made several catches that required great concentration, as the passes were thrown into tight spots where he was covered well.
Fitzgerald was not targeted as much as Boldin, but made the most of his opportunities. He was the first option on a first and goal play from the five yard line, and used his size well to grab the ball on a timing pattern.
Johnson was not targeted until the second half. He took advantage of single coverage as Arizona was trying to come back, and had four wide receivers on the field. To his credit, he caught every ball thrown to him.
McCoy played ahead of Johnson in the first half. His numbers could have been better as he dropped a couple of passes that appeared catchable.
Edwards’ biggest contribution came when he made a nice catch of a sharply thrown pass in the corner of the end zone for a one yard touchdown.
Bergen was not much of a factor in the passing game, and was only used as an outlet receiver when he was thrown the ball.
Rackers made both of his extra point attempts. He made one of two field goal attempts, connecting from 42 yards, and missing from 43 yards.
The Cardinals rush defense was fairly good for most of the game. However, they allowed some significant plays on the ground at critical times, giving up a 16 yard touchdown run to backup quarterback Garrard, and a 25 yard run up the middle to Greg Jones. In addition, Garrard ran for a first down on other occasions, which helped Jacksonville retain possession and continue working on the game clock.
The Cardinal’s pass defense was aggressive and relied on the blitz throughout the game. Despite this, they were unable to sack Garrard or intercept him, though they did drop a pass in the fourth quarter that was a potential interception, which could have had an impact on the game. The inability to get to the quarterback kept the secondary busy, but they were unable to keep Jacksonville’s receivers from getting open. The low passing numbers by the Garrard was more as result of him overthrowing open receivers, than the Cardinals secondary providing good coverage.