Remember in Week 2, when the Jacksonville Jaguars started their first offensive possession with a humiliating safety? Well, surely they wouldn't let their offense start with the shaming result in Week 3, right? Maybe not.
With their rookie quarterback and first round draft pick Blaine Gabbert under center for his first career start, the Jags offense did not impress. Gabbert passed for 139 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception on the day -- but spent less time throwing, more time scrambling for his precious life. The Carolina Panthers abused the Jags offense, taking Gabbert down for 2 sacks while forcing 4 scrambles from him (scrambles from which he netted only 2 yards).
With the Jags losing 2-0 in the first quarter, the Panthers twice drove into Jaguars territory, only to punt the ball away. The Panthers finally pushed into field goal position at the beginning of the second quarter, taking a 5-0 lead on OIindo Mare's 35 yard kick.
The Jags responded with a strong drive featuring a 24 yard catch and run from Maurice Jones-Drew, but a few bad plays and a false start stalled the drive. A booming 53 yard Josh Scobee field goal put the Jags on the board, 3-5.
Then, with just 17 seconds left in the half, Maurice Jones-Drew burst through the Carolina defense for a 39 yard run that was meant to kill the clock. With just 6 seconds remaining in the half, Gabbert launched the ball to Mike Thomas over the center of the field who dashed through the downpour and the Panthers defense for a last-second touchdown.
With the Jaguars leading 10-5 at the half, the Jacksonville offense went suddenly impotent. With the field and football slick from the rain, punter Matt Turk fumbled, Jones-Drew fumbled, and Blaine Gabbert fumbled -- three times. Through the end of the game, the Jags offense only crossed midfield three times and only crossed the Carolina 45 yard-line in the last drive of the game.
The Panthers offense, meanwhile, did just enough. After Turk's failed punt, the Panthers drove to the Jags 14 yard-line and put the game at 10-8 with a late 3rd quarter field goal. Then, with less than 4 and 1/2 minutes left in the game, Cam Newton threw a short pass to Greg Olsen, who sliced through the Jags defense for touchdown. The Panthers then went for and got the two point conversion, taking a 16-10 lead.
The Jags, in their final possession, drove to the Carolina 36 yard line, but with only 5 seconds left and no timeouts, Gabbert could not complete the miracle comeback attempt.
The Jags come home next Sunday to face Drew Brees and the (2-1) New Orleans Saints.