Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Catcher Brings Signs of Hope; Blackmon Has 19 Receptions in 2 Games, Perking Up Struggling Offense

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Catcher Brings Signs of Hope; Blackmon Has 19 Receptions in 2 Games, Perking Up Struggling Offense

Article excerpt

Byline: Hays Carlyon

The Jaguars still rank last in the NFL in total offense.

However, with receiver Justin Blackmon back in the lineup, the Jaguars might not be in the offensive cellar much longer.

The second-year receiver has dominated in the two games since returning from a four-game suspension to start the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Blackmon has caught 19 passes for 326 yards and a touchdown over the last two games.

The 19 receptions are five more than any player in the league over the same time period. Blackmon's 326 yards are 58 more than any other player over the last two weeks. Of his 19 catches, 13 have gone for first downs, which also topped the NFL in Weeks 5-6. In Sunday's 35-19 loss at Denver, Blackmon caught 14 passes for 190 yards.

"He played really, really well and he competed as hard as you can ask for in terms of his effort," Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said.

The Jaguars were averaging 224 yards a game through their first four contests. That total not only was last in the league, but was 50 yards a game back of 31st-ranked Tampa Bay.

Now, the gap is closing. The Jaguars have averaged 362.5 yards in their last two games. That's good for 12th among the 25 other teams that have played the last two weeks without a bye. In that time frame, the Jaguars have more total offense than New Orleans, New England, San Francisco and Detroit.

The Jaguars' season average has jumped to 270.2 yards a game, now 20 yards back of the Buccaneers.

Blackmon's return has also helped on the scoreboard. The Jaguars averaged 7.8 points in their first four games, but have averaged 19.5 in the last two.

After throwing for 700 yards in the first four games combined, the Jaguars have gained 558 yards through the air over the last two games.

Sacks are also becoming less of an issue. The Jaguars have allowed four sacks the last two games after giving up 18 through the first four.

That stat becomes more impressive considering the Jaguars traded left tackle Eugene Monroe to Baltimore after the fourth game. …

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