49ers Blow Jaguars Away at Wembley
In the second and final International Series NFL game in London for this season, West Coast San Francisco 49ers schooled Florida-based host team Jacksonville Jaguars and took a 42-10 win at Wembley Stadium yesterday.
The victory was largely expected as the Jaguars are still without a win eight weeks into the new NFL season; their touchdown from last night’s fixture was their first ‘home’ score since the season began. However, the game was a sell-out, and Jaguars fans were vast in number at both Saturday’s fan rally in Trafalgar Square and, of course, for the game.
The Jaguars were a relatively young side, with ten rookies on the team, and at times this youthfulness and inexperience really showed. 49ers running back Frank Gore was dubbed by Sky Sports analyst Cecil Martin as ‘one of the best RB’s in the league’ but was routinely left unmarked to run the field ragged. He was allowed to run the 49ers straight to a lead in the first quarter, with little to no resistance from the Jags defence, and their early score was completed with successful conversion from Phil Dawson.
Similarly Tight End Vernon Davis was left unguarded on numerous occasions and it proved fatal for the home side. For the neutral fans in the extensive audience, both present in the stadium at the millions watching from home, it was a fairly one-sided spectacle.
However, Running Back Maurice Jones-Drew was the life and soul of the Jaguars and carried their offence from the first snap. Recently returning from a foot injury, Jones-Drew was at the forefront of every completed pass and rushed yard and has declared publicly that he will ‘carry whatever load they want’ to see the Jaguars to eventual success.
Leading comfortably 28 – 3 at half time, the 49ers let slip a field goal, a touchdown and a conversion throughout but otherwise walked the game through with little challenge, scoring six touchdowns with ease. The Jaguars have much work to do on and off the field to improve their results but, ultimately, their aim to bring an American sporting experience to their dedicated fans this side of the Atlantic was an uncompromised success.
The popularity of American Football in the UK is now of such prominence that next year’s International Series will include three games at Wembley, all of which are expected to sell out with the same speed as the preceding dozen. The Jaguars will be returning to Wembley every year until 2016.