Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Adding Special Ingredient; Special Teams Goes from Being "Vanilla" to Providing the Edge

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Adding Special Ingredient; Special Teams Goes from Being "Vanilla" to Providing the Edge

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF ELLIOTT

As far as Montell Owens is concerned, the Jaguars' special teams finally made it over the top of the mountain. And it's time to stop calling this group vanilla.

Responding to the challenge that Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio issued to the unit this week, Jacksonville used two key plays from their special teams to secure Sunday's 38-31 win over the Oakland Raiders.

"All year long we've been pretty consistent. Nothing real good, nothing real bad, just vanilla," said Owens, special teams leader and designated captain for Sunday's game. "Vanilla all year on special teams, really just playing consistent which there is nothing wrong with that, but we wanted to be a difference-maker in the game. We were sitting on top of the mountain, but we really weren't getting quite over the top. Just to get over the top there today was great."

Two plays stood out for the Jaguars on special teams and not surprisingly, Owens was involved with both.

The first occurred when Kassim Osgood stripped the ball from Jacoby Ford on a kickoff return that followed Rashad Jennings' 74-yard touchdown run. Owens grabbed the loose ball, giving the Jaguars possession at the Oakland 22.

Five plays later, David Garrard connected with Mike Sims-Walker in the corner of the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown.

"There was a bunch of us in on the tackle," Owens said. "Kassim, Russell [Allen] and I all went for the ball. I believe we all had our hand on the ball at the same time. I mean three against one. You've got three guys going for the ball, and the ball popped out and happened to come my way. A big play indeed for our special-teams unit."

But the biggest play was yet to come.

After Oakland drove 83 yards in seven plays to tie the game at 31 with 1:43 remaining, the Jaguars and Karim got the kickoff return they desperately needed.

Karim grabbed the ball at the 5-yard line, used effective blocks from the two-man wedge of Greg Jones and Zach Potter and received another timely block from Owens near midfield as Karim raced 65 yards to the Oakland 30. …

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