The defense sacked Joey Harrington seven times, held Atlanta under 100 yards rushing and sparked a 13-7 victory over the Falcons on Sunday.
Atlanta’s biggest problem came on special teams, where rookie Matt Prater missed two field goals. He was wide right from 43 yards in the second quarter and wide right from 26 yards in the third. He is now 1-of-4 on the season.
His second miss Sunday would have given the Falcons (0-2) a 10-3 advantage. Instead, Garrard drove Jacksonville (1-1) on consecutive scoring drives to put the team ahead for good.
Garrard was 4-for-4 passing for 79 yards, capping the first drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Williams. The Jaguars added two more sacks on the ensuing possession, forcing a punt and taking advantage of good field possession to get in field goal range.
John Carney, signed this week to replace injured starter Josh Scobee, didn’t have the same issues as Prater. Carney gave the Jags an early lead with a 35-yarder in the first quarter and hit from 26 yards out with 3:39 remaining to make it 13-7.
Jacksonville’s defense did the rest, stopping Atlanta’s final drive with another sack.
Harrington finished 12-of-20 for 200 yards. Warrick Dunn had 50 yards rushing and the lone score. Jerious Norwood added 30 yards on the ground.
It was a much different effort from Jacksonville, which gave up a franchise record 282 yards rushing last week in a 13-10 loss to Tennessee.
The players vowed to correct the problems. Then again, the Falcons didn’t try to spread them out and run up the middle, formations that burned the Jags last week.
Jacksonville was much better in the running game, too.
Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew combined for 48 yards in the opener. Taylor had 56 against Atlanta and Jones-Drew added 31. Garrard did the rest. He finished 17-of-25 for 272 yards and scrambled five times for 20 yards.
Taylor was at his best when the Jaguars needed him most. Garrard was 7-of-8 for 122 yards on Jacksonville’s two fourth-quarter scoring drives.