The Red Zone: Wild Card Weekend, Part 1.

Jaguars 31, Steelers 29Jacksonville better hope and pray that the Titans upset the Chargers this afternoon. The Jaguars jumped out to a good sized lead after the Steelers scored on the opening drive — 21 unanswered points followed, inspired by a Maurice Jones-Drew kickoff return and bang-up rushing and receiving.  14 of those points came off of turnovers, as Ben Roethlisberger inexplicably threw two picks to the same corner, Rashean Mathis, on consecutive offensive plays.  The second half was a completely different game: the Steelers were the team that came out fresh, made adjustments — although what killed the team was its rookie head coach calling for two-point conversions that were unsuccessful, particularly on the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, which left Pittsburgh ahead by only one point. Jack Del Rio did everything to give this game away, including the challnege of a pass play that was clearly not completed by WR Reggie Williams. However, David Garrrard, after throwing two picks in the second half, led the team down close enough with a rush of 30+ yards on 4th down on the final drive to get the game winning field goal. I’m not convinced that Jacksonville can play a full four-quarter game with the Patriots with that third quarter display. They have half a chance if they head to Indianapolis, but that’s not much.

Seahawks 35, Redskins 14Dedicating everything to #21, lose by 21. Closer than the final score would suggest, and the first half of this game was an abomination offensively — reminding me why I dislike the NFC. Washington scored two touchdowns in less then five minutes in the second half to take momentum from Seattle — but after a muffed kickoff gave hte ball back to the Skins, kicker Shaun Suisham hooked a 30 yard field goal, and the Skins fell apart from there. Todd Collins threw two pick sixes in the 4th. The first pick six showed the give-up in the Skins; Santana Moss quit on the play, possibly sensing that Collins wouldn’t do something so stupid as to throw it to him when double covered — however, Collins did throw into that coverage, and Marcus Truffant took it home. I still refuse to regard the Seahawks as “elite” or title contenders; any half-decent team should dominate the lousy NFC West, and they haven’t, never mind that they travel poorly. If Seattle goes into Green Bay next week and rides Matt Hasselbeck’s arm to a win in the tundra, then we can talk.

Photo: AP/Keith Snakocic


4 Responses

  1. If the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to beat New England, there can’t be any squandered 18-point leads in the fourth quarter, with both sides of the ball going ice cold for nearly the final third of the game. There can’t be costly Garrard interceptions down the stretch, or the suddenly shoddy pass defense that Jacksonville’s secondary displayed during the Steelers’ big comeback. It’s going to take the Jaguars best possible game, and not the 40-minute version we saw Saturday night

  2. I don’t know. The Jags always play the Colts tough. The playoffs are a different animal, but I think they have a good chance. A tough ground game and defense will always keep you in it. The X-factor, of course. is Garrard.

  3. The Jags better be rooting for the Titans today, because they can knock off the Colts if they play all four quarters. The Pats — they have to play all four quarters and play them perfectly, and they’re not capable of that.

  4. I think they key for the Jags is the 2nd half, when the Pats are at their strongest.

    As for Green Bay, Madden will be in his cozy chair….you can finish the joke yourself. :)

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