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What we learned

Posted Dec 3, 2012

Here's what we learned from the Jacksonville Jaguars' 34-18 loss to the Buffalo Bills Sunday...

1. Momentum can be short-lived. The Jaguars entered the weekend feeling good about the previous two games, and with the idea of going on a strong season-ending run. Four games remain, so a strong finish isn’t out of the question, but the good feeling of two consecutive strong offensive showings faded on Sunday afternoon.

2. There is no savior. This is not a knock on Chad Henne. He struggled in the wind and weather Sunday, but the rainy, windy conditions were tough on both quarterbacks. Sunday’s loss wasn’t Henne’s fault. A lot went wrong and after midway through the second quarter, not a lot went right. At the same time, those looking for one guy to change everything? No. That’s not going to happen.

3. Cecil Shorts is legit. He had emerged in recent weeks as one of the best big-play receivers in the NFL, but it’s tough to depend on 50-yard plus receptions every game. On Sunday he consistently got open on intermediate routes – and also got behind the Bills defense for a would-be touchdown in the first half. Week after week, he improves.

4. The special teams are struggling. Too often this season, the special teams have allowed a long return in a crucial situation. On Sunday, a 55-yard kickoff return in the second quarter changed the game’s momentum. That has happened too much.

5. Jason Babin can’t singlehandedly save the pass rush. He was acquired off waivers this past week, and while he didn’t have a sack, he showed up at times and had chances to affect the quarterback. Still, the team had no sacks and has 13 for the season. Babin will help, but the Jaguars’ pass rush as a whole must improve. It can’t be just one player.

6. Paul Posluszny is a class act. Posluszny on Sunday not only spoke with the media following his return to play his former team, he talked in a press conference situation. Despite a smattering of boos when he was introduced, Posluszny spoke of how it was special to return and how well people in Buffalo had treated him during his time there. Posluszny typically acts like a pro and Sunday was no exception.

7. The Jaguars miss Maurice Jones-Drew. During the preseason, Rashad Jennings played well enough to make you think he could be not only a viable backup to Maurice Jones-Drew, but that he could be a productive, big-play running back. There were even those who wondered if the offense was better with Jennings. It’s not.

8. The Jaguars miss Daryl Smith – on Sunday, they missed Austen Lane, too. As much as they miss Jones-Drew offensively, they miss Smith as much on defense. The Jaguars allowed 242 yards rushing on Sunday, something that rarely happened with Smith. There’s still a possibility Smith could return for the final two games of the season, but that won’t be in nearly enough time to save this season. And yeah, on Sunday the Jaguars missed Lane, who had played the run well this season. He missed Sunday with a foot injury, and his absence was noticeable.

9. Marcedes Lewis is better with Henne. Lewis had a difficult season last year. With Blaine Gabbert at quarterback in the first 11 games, he had improved, catching 26 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns. Since Henne entered the game against Houston, that improvement has been more pronounced. Lewis has 11 catches for 161 yards and two touchdowns in three games and caught four for 65 yards Sunday.

10. The season has gotten long. Well, it just has.

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