If the Jacksonville Jaguars aren't the NFL's worst team, they are very close to the bottom. Entering Sunday's game against the also-not-great Oakland Raiders, they stood at 1-4 and had surrendered 73 more points than they had scored. They were a week removed from a 41-3 loss to the Bears in which quarterback Blaine Gabbert looked absolutely terrible.
Sunday, despite the injury to franchise back Maurice Jones-Drew, things were looking up for the Jags. Gabbert found fan favorite Cecil Shorts for a long touchdown, the Raiders couldn't stop coughing up the ball, and before long, Jacksonville held a 14-3 lead. Emboldened, the Jags attempted a surprise onside kick -- and succeeded. Anything seemed possible.
And then Gabbert was hurt, ushering backup Chad Henne into the game. This story, I should warn you, is a tragedy. And it's a tragedy best told by the commenters of our Jaguars blog, Big Cat Country. During these three hours, they left over 1,000 comments. This is their story.
On paper, Chad Henne was not completely abysmal. He completed nine of 20 passes without throwing an interception. His incompletions, though, tended to be very incomplete. He neglected open receivers, missed easy passes, and produced three-and-out after three-and-out.
Most tragically, though, was the failing of Cecil Shorts at the very end. The beloved wideout who had sparked hope in Jaguars fans at the start of the game was the very same wideout to cough up the ball in overtime, effectively ending the game.
Big Cat Country was more concerned with the quarterback situation. This is a community that knows its history:
Like many disasters, the Chad Henne Experience began innocently enough. Remember, sports fans: never say anything you don't mean.
The Jaguars are now 1-5. The fate of Gabbert is uncertain, just as he began to show flashes of greatness. Next week the team may need to resort to Henne once again, and prepare themselves for more anemic offense. Maurice Jones-Drew is expected to miss several games. A terrible team has lost nearly every vestige of watchability.
Sigh. I'm sorry, y'all.