The Jaguars 2005 season is generally seen as one of success, although the club was knocked out of the playoffs in the Wild Card round by the New England Patriots.
With a 12-4 record, the Jaguars finished with one of the best records in the AFC. They failed, however, to win their own division -- the AFC South -- because of the Colts' 14-2 record.
Third-year quarterback Byron Leftwich was enjoying his finest season as pro before getting injured three-quarters of the way through the season. Leftwich's season ended with 15 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with an 89.3 quarterback rating.
Journeyman quarterback David Garrard relieved him, leading the team to a 4-1 record down the stretch and finishing with 4 touchdowns and only 1 interception. Garrard, a scrambler, also finished with 172 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
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By the time the playoffs rolled around, Byron Leftwich was healthy enough to return to the starting lineup. Head Coach Jack Del Rio then made a controversial move by awarding Lefwich the starting job versus New England, despite the fact that Garrard was the "hot hand" and Leftwich hadn't played in a month and a half.
A rusty Leftwich couldn't get the Jaguars offense rolling against the Patriots, and the team lost their first playoff game in the Del Rio era 28-3.
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The 2005 season was also the final year of Jaguars' Great Jimmy Smith. The wide receiver finished his final season with 70 catches for over 1,000 yards. In the following season, many of the Jaguars offensive struggles could be blamed on not having an adequate replacement for the possible future Hall of Famer.
Running back Fred Taylor was enjoying a fine season in 2005 prior to going down with an injury in week 11. Fullback Greg Jones replaced him at the tailback position and the Jaguars didn't miss a beat. Jones finished with nearly 600 yards and led the Jaguars solid rushing attack.
The 2005 Jaguars were perceived by some as a soft team with an inflated record because of their relatively easy schedule. Indeed the Jaguars did struggle when facing opponents with a winning record, something they didn't do a lot of in 2005.
The Jaguars were led in 2005 by a stellar defense, anchored by linebackers Mike Peterson and Daryl Smith, defensive tackles Marcus Stroud and John Henderson, safety Deon Grant, cornerback Rashean Mathis and defensive end Paul Spicer. Although only Stroud made the AFC Pro Bowl squad, each player turned in a solid performance that kept the Jaguars in games.
The Jaguars 2005 first-round draft pick, Matt Jones -- a college quarterback converted to wide receiver, struggled in his first season as he would in future season. Other draft picks, such as Khalif Barnes, Gerald Sensabaugh, Scott Starks and Alvin Pearman, would play fairly well in their respective roles for the team.