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It’s hard to remember the last time the Jacksonville Jaguars won consecutive games, and that disturbing trend continued as they fell to the division rival Houston Texans 27-13 on Sunday. Despite solid play in the first half that resulted in a 13-10 lead, the Jaguars fell apart in the second half on both sides of the ball, with the offense once again collapsing into oblivion. The Jaguars failed to score a point in the second half, and they only managed to make it past the 50-yard line once before turning it over on downs.
With the benefit of hindsight and some time to evaluate, let’s take a look at yesterday’s game and focus on 3 takeaways.
1. The offense is difficult to evaluate
The Jacksonville Jaguars have a bad offense, period. It goes way past the current regime as well:
This season, the Jaguars have scored more than 20 points 3 times, with one of those being aided by 2 defensive touchdowns. It’s a fairly simple premise to accept – if you don’t score a lot of points against quality teams in the NFL, you will lose. But why the hell can’t the Jaguars score points? The real problem lies in scattered remains on the field. Whether it’s a dropped pass by a veteran like Cecil Shorts, a journeyman backup right tackle facing an All Pro defensive lineman like J.J. Watt, a missed pass blocking assignment by converted running back Denard Robinson, a terrible decision by the rookie quarterback, or a silly holding penalty, something always seems to go wrong on offensive plays for the Jaguars. That would naturally indicate some kind of coaching issue, but it’s difficult to trace it back to the source when the Jaguars have an unprecedented amount of rookies playing big roles on offense. Does something need to change? Absolutely, it’s just really difficult to try and pinpoint what right now. Hopefully the last few games shine a light on what needs to be a primary focus this offseason.
2. The Jaguars are set at wide receiver
I never really thought the Jaguars would look at adding a receiver in the offseason, but I now firmly believe it’s one of the least worrisome groups. Even with Cecil Shorts’ horrific day on Sunday, the Jaguars have a lot to be encouraged by with Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns. Lee is actually making plays on the field now that he’s finally getting the targets, and Allen Hurns just has a knack for getting open. With a healthy Allen Robinson in 2015, the Jaguars should have an above-average if not top tier receiving corp moving forward. Whether they resign Cecil Shorts or find another veteran receiver in free agency isn’t really important in my opinion; the young nucleus is there for Blake to grow with.
3. Blake Bortles is flashing again
I was going to talk about the defense a little bit, but I’m going to cut them some slack considering the utter ineptitude of the offense in the second half. Probably the most significant long-term positive from Sunday’s game was the way Bortles played in the first half. He was efficient, confident, and extremely savvy in the pocket while facing the most imposing defensive player in the NFL. He showed exactly why he was chosen so high the draft – the ability to elude pressure in the pocket and make big throws on the run. His touchdown pass to Allen Hurns was outstanding, and he had a handful of other improvisational plays marred by drops. His stat line would indicate he had a poor game but, outside of the completely indefensible interception when he stared down Toby Gerhart, Bortles played well.