After staging the biggest comeback in franchise history last week, the Jacksonville Jaguars trotted onto their home field once again on Sunday, this time with tragically different results. Despite holding a promising 13-10 lead at halftime, the Jaguars shut down on offense completely in the third and fourth quarter and fell to the Houston Texans 27-13. The Jacksonville defense was uncharacteristically weak up front, and they paid for it dearly in the form of 127 yards rushing by Arian Foster. Defensive problems aside, the Jaguars once again lost this game because of the inconsistent play on offense.
Here are few quick notes from Sunday’s loss:
- The Jaguars simply cannot get their offense going, and it’s hard to pin down just one reason why. Yes J.J. Watt was consistently in the backfield, but the receivers were also dropping catchable passes, Bortles made some awful decisions, and the running game was not working. The offense had a lot of promising moments in the first half, especially Marqise Lee who had a couple terrific catches in traffic and looked like legitimate option outside. The second half was a complete disaster however, as the Jaguars only amassed 78 total yards before the 2 minute warning.
- Overall, this game was a step forward for Blake Bortles. He had a few poor decisions, in particular his awful interception, but he looked a lot more like the young playmaker we saw in his first few starts than the guy who was skittish in the pocket for a short stretch in the middle of the season. He maneuvered his way out of traffic in the pocket and extended the play on a handful of occasions, and some of those would have resulted in big gains if not for crucial drops by receivers. Considering the amount of pressure he was under, especially on the right side of the line, Bortles performed well. This game wasn’t really on him.
- Defensively, the Jaguars are tough to figure out. After dominating the second half against the New York Giants, the Jacksonville front got basically no pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick for most of the day. His numbers weren’t exactly gaudy (13 of 19 for 135 yards), but he didn’t have to do much thanks to Arian Foster. Averaging 5.3 yards per carry on the day, Foster was the main reason the Texans were able to put points on the board. The Jaguars were plagued by poor tackling and missed assignments, and Foster took advantage on multiple occasions. As Luke Sims pointed out, it was really more a lack of execution on the part of the Jaguars that doomed them today.
- Moving forward, the Jaguars need to use the last few games to evaluate what’s going on with the offense. Defensively, the Jaguars problems are pretty clear – lack of an elite edge rusher, inconsistent play in the secondary, and the inability to cover the middle of the field. Offensively, it’s tough to figure out exactly what’s broken besides some poor individual play along the offensive line. Some curious trick plays and wildcat formations seemed ill-timed and useless today, and the gimmicks really hammered home how little confidence this team has in their ability to move the ball down the field regularly.