Jacksonville Jaguars vs Cincinnati Bengals: Quick takeaways
The Jacksonville Jaguars vs Cincinnati Bengals game had few positives for the Jags, especially with the first team struggling to deliver.
“We played pretty bad at every position. And you usually don’t score a lot of points when you’re that bad,” Blake Bortles said as he summed up the Jacksonville Jaguars’ first team offensive performance. The first team finished with just three points on the board.
That kind of performance against a strong measuring stick like the playoff-caliber Cincinnati Bengals is exactly what the Jags didn’t need. Blake Bortles was held to 52 yards, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns combined for just 35 receiving yards, and running backs T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory combined for just 38 yards. 23 of those yards came on one Yeldon run.
That poor first half by the offense was complemented by poor performance by the defense.
The Jags were down 14-3 when the Bengals decided to start pulling starters, including quarterback Andy Dalton. Dalton was six of 10 for 77 yards and a touchdown. Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard combined for 48 yards and a touchdown.
The stats are telling, but the actual play on the field was the real story. It was sloppy by the Jaguars’ first team through and through. False starts, not forcing the offense off the field on third down, a field goal off the upright. It was all clearly not ready for the regular season.
Of particular concern was Luke Joeckel‘s play at left guard. He was consistently out-muscled, being pushed backward by bull rush after bull rush and disrupting the Jags’ offensive rhythm. On the defensive side, middle linebacker Paul Posluszny was asked to cover too often and continually exposed. He still finished with five tackles, but he looked out of place.
The Jags didn’t seem ready to use their best pieces in the most opportune ways. Myles Jack didn’t see significant time until the second team was on the field, Robinson and Hurns were underutilized, and the offensive line looked the worst it has all preseason.
It’s still the preseason, but the first team offense and defense simply wasn’t competitive.
Deeper down the roster, some of the standouts were:
- Hayes Pullard, inside linebacker who caught a TD (called back) on offense and then intercepted a pass and took it to the house for the go-ahead score
- Neal Sterling, wide receiver who seemed like the best pass catcher in the fourth quarter and was the primary recipient in a touchdown drive
- Tony Washington, wide receiver who snagged an impossible catch for a two-point conversion
In the end it wasn’t all bad for the Jags, but things can definitely get better. It was hardly the dress rehearsal that most fans had hoped to see. The two previous preseason games had hinted that everything was on track, but this game raises some questions. The final score was 26-21 for the Jags, but it didn’t feel good.
Next: Bortles tells it like it is
It’s still just the preseason. Take everything with a grain of salt. Still, even as an evaluation tool, this one was ugly.