Sunday, December 19, 2010

Be Careful Where You Put Blame In Jaguars Loss

Looks like Dominic Rhodes was right. Today at Lucas Oil Field the big brother got the best of his up and coming younger sibling as the Jaguars fell to a well prepared Colts team 34-24.

The 10 point victory both is and is not misleading. Tyjuan Hagler's 41 yard onside kick off return was a garbage score but the Jaguars 67 rushing yards discloses the fact that Jacksonville was playing from behind the entire game thanks to a rebirth of the feared Peyton Manning.

Sure would have been nice to see the faulty one.

If we are being totally honest, had Austin Collie not been taken out due to a concussion Manning might have doubled his output. With the weapons of Collie, Garcon and Wayne at his disposal, the first half was a clinic on how to confuse a defense. Jaguars defenders were turned around and out of position as if they were looking for that last seat in a game of musical chairs.

There was, however, no quit from the visitors. Garrard, statistically, out performed his counterpart and save an overthrow of Jason Hill that was intercepted on a sure scoring drive, he might just have been the hero we have seen in some of the great wins this season. Behind some shaky protection which allowed David to get pounded on multiple occasions, number nine kept picking himself off the turf, allowing the surprising Jaguars to show everyone that you had better be prepared to play 60 minutes of football.

And it was not just David making plays. There was a Mike Thomas punt return for a touchdown, a Marcedes Lewis acrobatic one handed catch and a wasted sack by Daryl Smith.

In the end there were simply too many mistakes to overcome. The aforementioned interception, an unfortunate fumbled punt by Thomas, problems with the toss pitch and a questionable fourth down attempt are but a few guffaws that the Colts managed to avoid while the Jaguars monopolized them.

However, when all is said and done, I blame myself.

I knew my role in this team's success and I failed to live up to my obligation. The same long sleeve teal performance shirt was worn over my gray Nike cold weather shirt (temperature appropriate). The beard was not cut, except for the bits of mustache hair which had begun to obscure my mouth.

But instead of the Jaguars visor or Live Strong head warmer I grabbed my Jaguars ski cap. There was a third layer on the torso: a short sleeved UNF tee shirt. For the first time all season I watched an away game from other than the comfort of my own home.

Consider this. The good luck beard, Amish style, began growing before the home game versus the Titans. After that travesty the full beard was adopted. Since then loses made perfect sense based on what I did. I was on the Appalachian Trail for the Kansas City game and I was in the gym for the first half of the Giants game.

Dressed properly and in attendance for the home games, while on the coach for all of the Cowboys and Titans games, the formula was obvious but my hubris got the best of me when I agreed to cheer on the teal and black from Chicago Pizza at the Jacksonville Landing.

Now in my defense my daughter was performing at the Landing at 4:15 so I would have missed her troop's rendition of songs from Suessical the Musical. But I have seen it twice already this month. Watching a Jaguars home playoff game is a rare bird that has not shown it's beak in 11 years. The decision should have been easy regardless of what the wife and kid said.

The universe has its laws and she is unforgiving when you break them.

So while you are reading the articles and listening to the comments on who to blame and why, give the players and coaches some slack. This one is on me.

- Brian Fullford

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