The Jaguars came into the opening game of the 2012 season with a sense of optimism and a fresh start. Gone was the disappointment and failure of the past. It was a clean slate. A chance to make a statement with new head coach Mike Mularkey. Jacksonville started the game well, but couldn't finish, allowing the Minnesota Vikings to get the victory in overtime, 26-23. Starting the season 0-1. Let's take a look at a few observations from the game.
Where did you go, defense?
Up until the end of second quarter, when Vikings running back Adrian Peterson scored a touchdown on a 2-yard run, the defense kept the Vikings offense in check. After that, they weren't the same. Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder had a resurgance in the second half after getting wide receiver Percy Harvin involved in the offense and the Jaguars defense didn't really find the answers to containing him. Then when the Jaguars offense got the lead late into the fourth quarter, the defense allows the Vikings to drive down the field for the game tying field goal. The defense looked slow at times and had troubling tackling. The secondary has some issues to work out. Cornerback Derek Cox and linebacker Daryl Smith were definitely missed for today's game.
The return of the offense.
From the start, the offense hit the ground running. Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert, looked very good early. Gabbert kept spreading the ball to everyone, finding wide receivers Laurent Robinson, Cecil Shorts, and Justin Blackmon. Tight end Mercedes Lewis contributed as well throughout the game. The offense didn't capitalize on some red zone opportunities in the middle of the game. But when faced with adversity to drive down the field late in the game, Gabbert and the offense got it done. Shorts caught a great throw from Gabbert against single coverage to score the go ahead touchdown. This is a completely different offense from last season. Can they keep it up?
This was disappointing. Now what?
The Jaguars had many chances to win this game. They should have won. No question about it. But where do you go from here? The offensive line is dealing with injuries along the secondary having issues. Can the Jaguars move forward from the missed opportunity and recover in time for next week's home opener against the division champion Houston Texans? Houston is 1-0 after beating the Miami Dolphins 30-10. The Texans will provide a challenge with running back Arian Foster along with one of the best defenses in the AFC.
Week 2: Houston Texans (1-0) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)