Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Anatomy of a Catch; Shorts' Reception Late in the Game Hopefully a Vision of Things to Come

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Anatomy of a Catch; Shorts' Reception Late in the Game Hopefully a Vision of Things to Come

Article excerpt

Byline: Vito Stellino

The Jaguars lined up in a four-wide receiver set on first down at the Minnesota 39 with 27 seconds remaining Sunday. Trailing 20-15, they needed a touchdown to take the lead.

"It was four vertical routes and you're looking for a one-on-one matchup,'' coach Mike Mularkey said.

Cecil Shorts was lined up outside right and figured he would be the receiver.

Quarterback Blaine Gabbert helped get him single coverage by looking left before lofting the ball to Shorts.

"The defensive back was inside of me. I think he turned the wrong way and Blaine threw the ball away from him and I made an adjustment and dove and it was a touchdown,'' Shorts said.

Shorts wasn't sure he got into the end zone until he turned and saw the official raise his arms.

Combined with a two-point conversion, it gave the Jaguars a 23-20 lead and should have been one of the most dramatic catches in Jaguars history, ranking with Mike Thomas' Hail Mary against Houston two years ago. But the Vikings rallied to tie the game on the final play of regulation and win it 26-23 in overtime.

"I don't care about all the shows and media attention. Team first always," Shorts said. "The most important thing is to get the win. We didn't get it last week. Let's try for this week."

Shorts, though, did get plenty of attention from family and friends.

"There were a lot of text messages, a lot of phone calls, a lot of voice mails, a lot of Twitter, a lot of Facebook, all that social media stuff," he said. "My parents were really proud, they were yelling on the phone."

Though it didn't win the game, the catch was a sign that Shorts, a fourth-round pick out of Mount Union in 2011, is ready to take a major step this year after catching just two passes as a rookie. Shorts played in 10 games last season - he was twice sidelined for three-game stretches with hamstring injuries - and was never a factor in the Jaguars' offense.

Last Sunday, he was the fourth receiver behind Justin Blackmon, Laurent Robinson and Mike Thomas, and played in 15 snaps against the Vikings. But after making four catches for 74 yards, he may be getting more time.

"When you look at Cecil's whole body of work - not just the games, but the OTAs, training camp and practices, he flashed and made plays all the way throughout on a fairly consistent level so we felt comfortable having him in there and giving him certain roles,'' offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski said. …

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