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Culpepper Ineffective in Debut as Lions Fall to Jags 38-14

It didn’t take long for Culpepper to make an impact for the woeful Lions, but unfortunately it was a negative impact. Culpepper threw a pick on only his second pass attempt of the game, on the very first possession of the game. The Jaguars had a very productive day on the offensive side of the ball, controlling the clock with their running game.

The Jags even looked back to normal on the defensive side of the ball, although they struggled somewhat to stop the run. This was a huge win for the Jaguars, as they moved out of a tie for last place in the AFC South, and could see themselves in a tie for second place in the division with a Colts loss to Pittsburgh.

Jacksonville started slowly, as they could only muster a field goal out of the Culpepper turnover, and trailed 7-3 after the first quarter. However, the second quarter was a different story, as Maurice Jones-Drew found the endzone 3 times for the Jags, all on rushes under 10 yards. David Gerrard led his team on three impressive drives to close out the half. On the first drive, the Jags answered a Drew Stanton touchdown pass with an 8 play, 80 yard touchdown drive that took over 4 minutes off the clock.

Then, after a Lions’ three and out, they went on a 9 play, 71 yard drive, also resulting in a touchdown. Finally, after blocking a Jason Hanson field goal try, Gerrard ran the two minute drill to perfection, driving his team down the field for another touchdown right before the gun.

The Jaguars kept their momentum going into the second half, as they took 9:20 off the clock while going on a bruising 15 play drive, capped off by a Jerry Porter touchdown catch. After another three and out by the Lions, the Jags put the game even more out of reach with yet another 4+ min drive that ended in a Troy Williamson touchdown grab.

This ended a dominant third quarter by Jacksonville, where Detroit could only hold onto the ball for 1:26. The Lions would add a late touchdown, but it was only consolation as the Lions where absolutely dominated on this day.

It wasn’t all negative for the Lions, though, as Kevin Smith rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown, while standout receiver Calvin Johnson had 92 yards on only 2 receptions. However, the battle was clearly lost in the trenches where the defensive line was manhandled for 160 yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns, while failing to put any pressure on Gerrard.

Furthermore, the offensive line gave up 6 sacks to a defense that was missing John Henderson, and hasn’t be known for putting consistent pressure on the quarterback in the past. Rookie Derrick Harvey, who had a lengthy hold out, had his best day as a pro with 1.5 sacks, while linebacker Daryl Smith added another 1.5.

The Lions seem to be getting worse as the season goes along, and will have to undergo a massive rebuilding process after Matt Millen left a roster filled with holes. Things don’t get any easier, as the Lions face a tough stretch including games against Tennessee, Carolina, Indianapolis, and Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, the Jags get a huge win that will keep them in contention for a wild card spot. Things don’t get easier for them either, as they welcome in the undefeated Titans, and then the hot Vikings during a two game home stand.

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