The Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Seahawks 26-14 in draining heat and humidity today.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jimmy Smith silenced his critics again.
Smith caught seven passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns, helping the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Seattle Seahawks 26-14 in draining heat and humidity today.
Even at 36, Smith showed he hasn’t lost a step. Just ask Marcus Trufant. Smith beat the third-year cornerback numerous times, answering any questions about whether his best days are behind him.
Coach Jack Del Rio fired offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave after the Jaguars finished last in the AFC in scoring last season. His replacement, Carl Smith, vowed to better use the aging receiver as well as quarterback Byron Leftwich and running back Fred Taylor.
He did in the opener.
He also got plenty from rookie receiver Matt Jones, a college quarterback who is a triple threat. The first-round draft pick ran twice for 28 yards, completed a 6-yard pass and caught two passes for 22 yards.
Jimmy Smith, meanwhile, showed he’s still a deep threat. Smith caught a 45-yard pass, then added a 30 yarder for a score two plays later. His touchdown put the Jags ahead 13-7 in the second quarter. He added a 7-yard TD reception in the third that put them ahead for good, 20-14.
The Seahawks kept the game close until two costly errors in the final seven minutes.
Linebacker Daryl Smith intercepted a pass by Matt Hasselbeck that led to a 29-yard field goal by Josh Scobee. Akin Ayodele sacked Hasselbeck on the ensuing drive, caused a fumble and set up another field goal. Scobee finished with four field goals.
Jacksonville’s defense was stout as usual. The unit held Shaun Alexander to 73 yards on 14 carries. Hasselbeck finished 21-of-38 for 246 yards, with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Hasselbeck found some early success with short drops and play-action passes. He connected with Joe Jurevicius and Darrel Jackson for touchdowns, but once the Jags got a big lead, he didn’t have nearly enough time to throw.
Leftwich was sacked three times, but finished 17-of-31 for 252 yards with two touchdowns and looked sharp in the new offense.
The Jaguars unveiled several trick plays and some long passes — elements missing last season. They took advantage of four- and five-receiver sets, used Jones at quarterback and Pro Bowl defensive tackles Marcus Stroud and John Henderson at tight end.
They got great results and kept pressure off Fred Taylor, who ran 20 times for 76 yards — a good sign after having surgery in January to repair two partially torn knee ligaments.
Hurricane Ophelia wasn’t a factor. The storm had moved well past north Florida and left behind a bright blue sky and plenty of sunshine — exactly what Del Rio wanted when he decided to make the Seahawks wear their dark home jerseys on the road.
Seattle players sat on the bench with numerous fans blowing and two guys holding a makeshift shade over their heads.