The Jacksonville Jaguars defense was surprisingly strong against the NFC North-leading Detroit Lions but the mistakes on special teams and offense couldn’t be overcome (again).
Down by four points 19-23 in the fourth quarter the Jacksonville Jaguars managed to force a fourth down for the Detroit Lions. Sen’Derrick Marks gets called for encroachment and the Jags are forced to burn timeouts as they hope to stop the Lions from getting into the end zone.
Marks deservedly gets plenty of the blame, but this game never should have been this close.
Blake Bortles threw his 10th pick-six of his young career, extending his league lead in that statistic. It wasn’t a terrible throw, but the ball bouncing off Marqise Lee’s hands is just a continued trend for this Jags offense.
Andre Roberts followed that up with a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown, once again exposing the Jags special teams as being worse than second rate. The mistakes on special teams have plagued this team all season.
As if to make things even worse, Bortles threw an interception that bounced off Marqise Lee’s foot to end the game.
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The Marks mistake was just icing on the cake. All of the mistakes were simply an overwhelming continuation of the poor discipline and preparation under head coach Gus Bradley. Bradley’s team has seen a rather stout effort from its defense week over week and a resurgent offense with new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
Yet the mistakes seem insurmountable.
At this point in the season, with almost nothing left to play for, it simply feels depressing. The Jags have certainly been competitive at most times in the 2016 season but they clearly aren’t on the same page or on the level as the competition.
The Jags drop to 2-8 now and the .500 goal of the season seems out of reach. It’s time for the team to play for pride and at least make the end of the season look professional.
Final score: 19-26.