Gabbert, Palmer lead Jaguars past Saints 27-24

It was already apparent to the Jacksonville Jaguars that Blaine

Gabbert was making solid strides in his second season as an NFL


It looks like his progress will only pick up speed with the

addition of the first receiver taken in last spring’s NFL


Gabbert outperformed Saints star Drew Brees, and the young

Jaguars quarterback found rookie Justin Blackmon for a score as

Jacksonville took a 27-24 preseason victory over New Orleans on

Friday night.

”He had a really good start, really putting the ball where our

guys could catch it and make plays afterward,” Jaguars coach Mike

Mularkey said.

Long after the starters were done for the night, the Saints

rallied to take a 24-20 lead on undrafted rookie Travaris Cadet’s

24-yard catch and run with under 2 minutes to go. But Jacksonville

backup Jordan Palmer hit Kevin Elliott with an 11-yard touchdown

pass on fourth down with 13 seconds left to keep the Jaguars (No.

31 in the AP Pro 32) unbeaten in two preseason games.

Gabbert wound up 13 of 16 for 112 yards and two touchdowns.

”We were playing against their first-team defense, so it says a

lot for us to take the lead early in the game,” said Gabbert, who

helped Jacksonville jump out to a 17-3 lead.

Brees was 10 of 13 for 133 yards and one touchdown, an 8-yard

pass to Devery Henderson. Brees also turned the ball over when he

was sacked and stripped by Jeremy Mincey.

”We need to do a better job protecting Drew,” Saints assistant

head coach Joe Vitt said. ”We have a lot of coaching to do, and

things to clean up. I am ready to get it done this week.”

Cadet had 90 yards from scrimmage and a TD for New Orleans (No.

9), making a case for the Saints to find a place for him despite

already having four established running backs on the roster.

”I felt like I took a step forward,” Cadet said. ”I feel like

I need to do more. I’m never satisfied. … This is a hard team to

make. You’ve got to be able to do something to separate


After Cadet’s late score on a pass from Chase Daniel, Palmer

quickly drove Jacksonville back down the field with the help of

pass interference calls against Jose Gumbs and Cord Parks. The

second penalty put the ball at the New Orleans 6.

Josh Scobee had field goals of 36 and 47 yards, the second

giving Jacksonville a 20-17 lead late in the third quarter.

Joseph Morgan had three catches for 68 yards for New Orleans

(1-2), including a 53-yard touchdown reception from Daniel that

tied it at 17 in the third quarter.

Jacksonville got the start it wanted from Gabbert and Rashad

Jennings, the Jaguars’ No. 1 running back while Maurice Jones-Drew

holds out.

The Jaguars marched 80 yards on nine plays, taking a 7-0 lead

when Blackmon ran the last 7 yards after snatching Gabbert’s pass

from defensive back Marquis Johnson and spinning into the


Blackmon, the No. 5 pick in last spring’s draft, missed

Jacksonville’s preseason opener after a contract holdout. He

finished with four catches for 48 yards.

”It felt really good,” Blackmon said of scoring in his debut.

”I’m just glad to be back out there competing, and I’m having a

good time doing it.”

Jennings ran 6 times for 42 yards on the opening drive,

including gains of 17 and 15 yards around the left end. He finished

with 62 yards on 11 carries.

Brees drove the Saints to the Jacksonville 18 in his first

series, highlighted by Pierre Thomas’ 25-yard gain on a screen

pass. Garrett Hartley’s 37-yard field goal made it 7-3.

Gabbert later marched the Jaguars 66 yards in 14 plays,

converting four third downs before hitting Colin Cloherty for a

15-yard TD.

Things quickly got worse for New Orleans when defensive tackle

Terrance Knighton recovered Brees’ fumble on the Saints 15, leading

to a field goal that made it 17-3.

Brees finally got going on his fourth series, completing six

passes for 74 yards, including two to Marques Colston for 15 and 28

yards. Then came Henderson’s TD on a difficult catch as he twisted

and tumbled over the sideline.

”That last drive felt like us, a couple of big plays in the

passing game, mixing the run and the pass well,” Brees said.

”Great tempo and it seemed like everyone contributed.”

Daniel was 16 of 21 for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

Jaguars backup Chad Henne was 4 of 9 for 36 yards and was

intercepted by safety Isa Abdul-Quddus on a pass tipped by

defensive back Elbert Mack.

Several Saints players left the game with injuries, including

Abdul-Quddus, who appeared wobbly after a collision late in the

third quarter. Vitt declined to get specific other than to confirm

that the safety was hit in the head. Reserve linebacker Chris

Chamberlain left the game with a left knee injury, and reserve

receiver Andy Tanner sustained a left ankle injury.

The Jaguars’ only injury appeared to be a pulled hamstring by

reserve running back Keith Toston.

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