REPORT CARD;Balanced attack gains steam




Jaguars showed why Buffalo has the

worst run defense in the league, compiling the second-most rushing

yards (216) as a team in their last 34 games. Maurice Jones-Drew

had a couple of explosive runs, though he didn’t crack the 100-yard

mark. What made this effort special was Deji Karim adding 70 yards

on the ground in his NFL debut, and receiver Mike Thomas using his

speed to get a couple big gains on reverse plays.



For the second consecutive game, quarterback David Garrard was

exceptional by making good decisions and putting the ball where it

needed to be. He played close to perfect after forcing a ball to

Marcedes Lewis on his first pass, which was tipped up and

intercepted by Andra Davis. Garrard (16-of-20 for 178 yards) had

three TD passes and a 122.5 rating. The more Lewis becomes such a

huge threat in the red zone, the better Garrard is looking.




Jaguars looked awful in the first

quarter. There were a lot of missed tackles, especially by safety

Anthony Smith. The

Jaguars allowed Fred Jackson and

C.J. Spiller to get into the secondary too often. But in the last

three quarters, the Bills didn’t find many running lanes, making

them a one-dimensional offense once the

Jaguars rallied to tie the game.



A better job than usual, especially after CB David Jones allowed

Lee Evans to run by him on a 45-yard bomb. The

Jaguars were able to get pressure on

Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw for 220 yards and three touchdowns.

Thanks mostly to Aaron Kampman and push up the middle from Terrance

Knighton, the

Jaguars are showing pass-rush

improvement. Though Rashean Mathis did get picked on for a couple

TDs by Steve Johnson, Derek Cox replaced Jones and performed




This unit keeps distinguishing itself. Josh Scobee connected on

all five field goals, four from 40 yards or longer. Karim showed

why they drafted him with returns of 31, 51 and 41 yards, which led

to 17 points. Montell Owens, the special-teams godfather, also

stopped a fake punt by Brian Moorman short of a first down. That

ended any chance of the winless Bills sending the crowd home happy.

The only hiccup was Thomas fumbling a punt return that led to a

Buffalo touchdown.



Except for a foolish fourth-down quarterback sneak call, it was

a terrific job by offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. He got

receiver and budding star Mike Thomas more involved on reverse

plays and found a way to return backup tight end Zach Miller into

his pass-catching role. What started out looking like another road

disaster turned into one of the

Jaguars’ best comebacks in


Compiled by GENE FRENETTE/The Times-Union