Jacksonville at Chicago, Week 14
Apparently, the view from the sideline is a bit different than the view from the TV studio.
Here's Jaguars Coach Jack Del Rio, talking about his team's 30-17 loss to the Texans in comments reported by the Florida Times-Union: "We came out here and battled. We just came up short once again. The guys are working hard and trying hard and giving good energy and effort."
Here's ESPN commentator Steve Young, talking about the same game: "I've never seen a more disinterested team in a Monday night moment."
Whichever one is the case (and we're leaning toward the latter), the Jaguars are 4-8 and have lost five of six, with the only win coming against the winless, punchless Lions. They're in sole possession of last place in the AFC South for the first time since 2003. Now they start a final stretch that features four games against teams that still are very much alive for playoff berths, including Sunday's foe, the Bears.
Some are blaming Del Rio for losing his team. Some are blaming quarterback David Garrard, who still hasn't shown he can take the next step in becoming an elite NFL quarterback, even after he signed a six-year, $60 million contract extension in the offseason. Either way, the offense isn't performing. The Jaguars have been outscored 81-29 in the last 10 quarters, with 14 of those points coming in the form of meaningless fourth-quarter scores against Houston. They have eight turnovers in their last two games.
In Chicago, both of the city's newspapers wrote stories about how the Bears should have an easier road to the playoffs after the Vikings lost defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams, even though Chicago likely has to win out and hope Minnesota loses at least twice.
That could be a dicey proposition, considering that the Bears haven't won more than two in a row since 2006, sport a defense that ranks 29th against the pass and can't stop big plays. On Sunday night, three of the Vikings' four touchdowns against the Bears went for 21 yards or more.
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