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Monday Night Football: Jacksonville is a Throwback To an Earlier Era

Fans love old time football, right? Run the ball, run some more. You know all that stuff about when the running back getting 20+ carries and the team winning, well, Jacksonville is trying to reverse their correlations and causations and run the ball to victory while trailing.

It’s understandable, of course, given the personnel, that Jacksonville would be run heavy even when trailing more often than not. The team started the season with a quarterback who had never been a full time starter, and has since replaced him with a rookie in Blaine Gabbert. The outside receivers are far from proven commodities in the league, though one of them likes to talk smack to Darrelle Revis. The best player is Maurice Jones-Drew.

So far this year, the 1-5 Jaguars have thrown or attempted to throw a pass (pass attempts + sacks) on 183 plays and have run it on 182. Balanced? Only if you think 50/50 is balanced in this current era, particularly when playing from behind. Let’s take a look at how that ranks with other teams that had a record of 1-5 or worse after 6 games, in the modern 16 game era. Here are the 20 teams with the lowest pass percentage through 6 games at 1-5 or worse:

Team	Year	Passes	Rushes	Pct Passing
KC	1978	128	266	0.325
DET	1978	166	206	0.446
SF	1978	176	210	0.456
CIN	1979	179	211	0.459
TAM	1986	169	195	0.464
BAL	1982	174	193	0.474
IND	1988	168	178	0.486
NYG	1979	185	193	0.489
NOR	1981	199	201	0.498
JAC	2011	183	182	0.501
SD	1991	185	182	0.504
DET	1979	187	182	0.507
HOU	1985	184	178	0.508
BAL	1981	191	184	0.509
CIN	1978	181	174	0.510
PIT	1986	201	193	0.510
WAS	1980	193	185	0.511
HOU	1983	198	183	0.520
BUF	1986	182	168	0.520
SEA	2008	182	162	0.529

Look at the years for those teams. This is just another reminder that the 1978 Kansas Chiefs may be one of the most fascinating bad teams in football history, as a first year coach named Marv Levy ran the wing-T offense as the Chiefs finished 2nd in rushing yards while going 4-12. Several other teams from the late 70’s and 1980’s appear on the list, as only this year’s Jaguars and Seattle from 2008 took place after 1991.

I don’t expect that to change tonight. Blaine Gabbert has had to go against some tough pass defenses, and now he draws the Ravens. Jacksonville is not going to win this game by throwing it a lot. They have to play a counter puncher game, hope not to turn the ball over, take advantage of opportunities, and hope that Joe Flacco has an off night.

When we take into account the changes in offense over the last thirty years, the Jaguars having a 50/50 split as a bad football team is almost as extreme as the Chiefs running to the Wing-T. It harkens back to an era when teams ran the ball more and were just learning to adjust to the more passer friendly rules of 1978, when baseball’s World Series still dominated the ratings. Unless the sports fans want to see some old time football and Jacksonville can keep it close, we might just get that again tonight.

[photo via Getty]

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