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
”He had a really good start, really putting the ball where our
guys could catch it and make plays afterward,” Jaguars coach Mike
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
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
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.
Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and