Week 13 Game Recap: Jacksonville Jaguars 20, Cleveland Browns 14
What you need to know
After a lackluster performance in the first half, the Jaguars responded to coach Jack Del Rio’s message at halftime and came from behind with a strong second half to win for the fifth game in a row. With Byron Leftwich sidelined, fourth year player David Garrard commanded the team to victory with a gutsy performance that was highlighted by a 28 yard scramble on a third and nineteen with two minutes remaining in the game. Dropped passes did not help his cause in the first half, but Garrard threw two touchdowns in the second half and finished with 116 yards on an 11 of 20 afternoon with one interception.
Jimmy Smith led all Jaguars’ receivers with three catches for 49 yards and the go ahead touchdown. Fellow starter Ernest Wilford caught three balls for 36 yards, but dropped a catchable touchdown pass in the first half. Rookie Matt Jones did not catch a ball and was only targeted once in this game. Garrard looked for the big bodies in the red zone, and connected with tight end George Wrighster on his first touchdown pass, with Wrighster finishing with two catches for nine yards on the day. The running backs were not very involved in the passing game, with Greg Jones only thrown to once all day for a nine yard gain and Alvin Pearman losing four yards on his only catch.
The running game was slow to get going, but took off in the second half, allowing Greg Jones to break the hundred yard mark on the day while filling in for the injured Fred Taylor. Jones finished the day with 27 carries for 103 yards. Alvin Pearman played sparingly to spell Jones in passing situations, and had just one carry for three yards. David Garrard proved to be very effective in scrambling out of the pocket, and finished the day with 26 yards rushing on seven carries.
The team named Charlie Frye the starter, and Frye did everything he could to try to keep his team in the game, but unfortunately lost his best weapon, Braylon Edwards, in the fourth quarter to a potentially season ending knee injury. In Frye’s first start, he threw a pair of touchdown passes to Edwards, and ended the day going 13 of 20 with 226 yards passing. Frye looked confident, and did not turn the ball over, but was unable to get anything done after Edwards left the game.
Since his return from an elbow infection, Braylon Edwards had been building significant momentum as the Browns’ best playmaker, and this proved to be true in the first half, when he caught touchdown passes of 17 and 34 yards. Unfortunately, Edwards was forced out of the game with a potentially serious right knee injury which left him reeling in pain on the field and unable to bear any weight when helped off the field. Before exiting, Edwards caught five passes for 86 yards. Antonio Bryant was unable to step up and make the big play late, finishing with just three catches for 63 yards. With Edwards’ exit, Dennis Northcutt will likely be thrust back into a starting role, but only finished with one catch for 45 yards against the Jaguars. Frye looked to his running backs and tight ends considerably less than Trent Dilfer had, and as a result, Reuben Droughns was held without a catch, and Steve Heiden recorded just one for four yards.
Reuben Droughns continued to be the workhorse in the Browns’ backfield, and became the first running back in Cleveland to gain over 1000 yards since 1985, when both Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner had done so. Droughns carried the ball thirty times against the Jaguars for 88 yards, running quite effectively in the first half, but with limited success in the second half. Despite the fact that both Lee Suggs and William Green were active, neither received a carry. Charlie Frye added ten yards on two attempts.
What you ought to know
|QB David Garrard, Pass: 11 - 20 - 116 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 7 - 26 - 0|
Garrard completed 55% of his twenty passes, with a 5.8 yard average per passing attempt, but threw just one interception, and finished with an 84.6 passer rating in the win. Garrard’s showed great poise in the second half, and overcame a first half filled with dropped passes and unlucky bounces in throwing a pair of touchdown passes to lead the team to victory. His biggest play of the day came just before the two minute warning with the Jaguars ahead 20-14, and facing a third and nineteen. Unable to find an open receiver, he took off running, and after avoiding a number of defenders, had scrambled his way for 28 yards and a first down to seal the game and extend the Jaguars’ winning streak.
|RB Greg Jones, Rush: 27 - 103 - 0, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets)|
Jones began to get it going in the second half, and helped to sustain the touchdown drives in going over one hundred yards in replacement of the injured Fred Taylor. Jones was targeted just once out of the backfield by Garrard, and was routinely spelled in passing situations in favor of Alvin Pearman.
Smith caught the go ahead score, however this probably wasn’t his biggest play on the drive. Two plays prior, he was able to draw a 46 yard pass interference call after breaking open deep, which led to the great field position and opportunity to catch the touchdown pass. As the game went on, Smith was clearly the receiver which David Garrard most trusted.
Wilford dropped a catchable touchdown pass early in the game, however, David Garrard went back to him in the end zone on the next scoring drive in the first quarter. Unfortunately, Wilford saw the bulk of his targets in the first half before Garrard heated up, and did not seem to have the same trust factor that teammate Jimmy Smith did.
Jones was targeted only once on a pass he could not catch. The Jaguars did not open the offense up a great deal in David Garrard’s first start.
Wrighster used his big body to get open and pull in the first of Garrard’s touchdowns passes.
Scobee connected on field goals of 24 and 29 yards, and made both extra points.
The Jaguars’ rush defense stiffened in the second half, helping to provide for more three and outs, and gave the ball back to the offense more quickly in holding the Browns under one hundred yards in the victory.
After being burnt by Braylon Edwards twice for touchdowns in the first half, the Jaguars played much better in the second half, and didn’t allow Charlie Frye to get going. The pass rush was virtually non-existent in the first half, but provided a significant amount of pressure in the second half and added five sacks on the afternoon.
|QB Charlie Frye, Pass: 13 - 20 - 226 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 10 - 0|
Frye completed 65% of his attempted passes, with an average of 11.3 yards gained per attempt en route to a 136.7 passer rating, but this was not enough to get it done on the afternoon. Frye showed good composure, and found the open man in the first half, connecting with his favorite target, Braylon Edwards for a pair of touchdowns. However, the defense provided more pressure in the second half, and Edwards left with a knee injury in the second half, and Frye’s success was limited, as the Browns lost the lead and he was unable to command a drive to regain the lead. Given that the Browns fell to 4-8 with the loss, one would surmise there focus would remain on the future.
Droughns became the first Cleveland running back in twenty years to pass the 1000 yard rushing mark, however his individual accomplishment was outshadowed by the team’s loss. Droughns continued to show his durability with thirty attempts in this game, but with Charlie Frye at quarterback, did not receive as many touches in the receiving game this week.
Edwards was having the biggest game of his bright young career before a right knee injury left him in a great deal of pain early in the fourth quarter. Edwards required the assistance of the trainers in getting off the field, and could not put any weight on the right knee. An MRI of the knee was scheduled for Sunday evening, with results forthcoming. Prior to exiting, Edwards was playing fantastic, and the rapport he had developed with Charlie Frye, as noted in previous weeks was quite apparent in this game.
The focus of the passing game with Charlie Frye at quarterback was clearly Braylon Edwards, however, should the Edwards knee injury force him to miss any time, Bryant would likely be asked to step back into the role of the primary playmaker for this Browns squad. After a strong start to the season, Bryant has been under utilized in recent weeks, and unable to put up the big games as a result.
Northcutt caught a forty five yard pass in the middle of the second quarter, however, it was his only target on the day.
The decision to go with Charlie Frye at quarterback limited Heiden’s targets, which were further limited by the Jaguars’ pass rush in the second half, which forced the Browns to use Aaron Shea in pass protection at the tight end position more frequently.
Blustery conditions in Cleveland which had dropped a significant snowfall prior to the game contributed to the Browns’ conservative approach in the kicking game, however Dawson’s performance on this day did not aid the cause. On their opening drive, the Browns opted against attempting a 43 yarder, and failed to convert the fourth and one play. A 34 yard attempt in the second quarter sailed wide left. In the fourth quarter, trailing 20-14, the Browns lined up for a 46 yard attempt, however Dawson opted to punt to the corner and pin the Jaguars deep.
The Browns’ rush defense limited Greg Jones to 32 yards in the first half, but by the time the game had ended, Jones had broken the hundred yard barrier, and the Browns had been punished for 135 yards on the ground.
The secondary came up with one pick and held Garrard to 116 yards passing, while the pass rush had three sacks on the afternoon. It was, however, the pair of touchdown passes allowed, and pass interference penalties which kept the Browns from winning this game.