ST. LOUIS (AP) — Blaine Gabbert’s homecoming ended with an all too familiar sight for Jacksonville Jaguars fans. The quarterback was unable to finish yet another game in another loss, hobbling off with a hamstring injury.
The even bigger question: Who’s going to block for him after No. 2 overall draft pick Luke Joeckel was lost for the season with a broken right ankle in a 34-20 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday?
“It’s definitely tough, especially with an injury like that,” said quarterback Chad Henne, who came in after Gabbert was forced out of the game.
The game turned immediately after Joeckel went out when defensive tackle Kendall Langford was blocked into his legs. Cameron Bradfield replaced Joeckel and Robert Quinn rushed past him on the next play, pressuring Gabbert into an interception that Matt Giordano returned 82 yards for a touchdown.
The injury-prone Gabbert already missed two games this season with a sliced hand and was out during the preseason with a broken thumb. He didn’t return after leaving in the third quarter and would say only that he’ll have to consult with doctors Monday to see if he’ll be able to play next week at Denver.
Coach Gus Bradley said Gabbert remains the starter, if he’s able to play after straining his left hamstring.
“I just was running and felt my leg give a little,” Gabbert said. “We’ll know more tomorrow.”
Austin Pettis’ 31-yard TD catch with 5:45 to go was his second of the day and put the Rams (2-3) up by two scores. St. Louis, which had trailed by double digits in every game, established control with a 17-point second quarter after Jacksonville (0-5) had a pair of early leads.
Justin Blackmon caught his first pass of the year for a 67-yard score for the Jaguars after serving a four-game suspension. He had five receptions for 136 yards, as the league’s lowest-scoring team had its best output of the season. But the Jaguars practically gave away 14 points with a pair of turnovers.
Gabbert also had a pass intercepted in the end zone in the third quarter, after a Rams penalty during a field-goal try gave Jacksonville a second chance at a touchdown.
Joeckel was making his first start at left tackle, moving over from the right side after the Jaguars traded Eugene Monroe to Baltimore for multiple draft picks during the week. Bradfield and Austin Pasztor, a converted guard, are now Jacksonville’s starting tackles.
“That’s why we have practice squad; that’s why we bring guys in off the waiver wire or whatever the case,” Bradley said. “And then we also build depth through our team. That’s why you have second and thirds on your team.”
Maurice Jones-Drew became the third player in franchise history to top 10,000 yards from scrimmage on a 20-yard carry that led to Josh Scobee’s 48-yard field goal for a 10-7 lead near the end of the first quarter.
Notes: The Jaguars’ Sen’Derrrick Marks got his first sack of the year plus a pass deflection in the first quarter. … Jacksonville’s last TD in the first quarter was a 5-yard reception by Jordan Shipley from Henne against Tennessee in the 2012 finale.