The Jacksonville Jaguars lost a key division matchup to the Tennessee Titans 9-6. In doing so, questions about this team’s performance remain fresh in the minds of fans and media alike.
This wasn’t how the game was supposed to turn out. The Jacksonville Jaguars were supposed to beat the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at TIAA Bank Field. I thought so. Local sports media thought so. Even the majority of the national media thought it would happen. And yes, Jaguars fans thought this was a “lock” for a warm Sunday afternoon in Jacksonville.
Evidently, the Titans did not get the memo. Another division game lost to the team’s most hated rival and a myriad of questions to answer about why the Jaguars looked like world beaters last Sunday against New England and fledgling franchise struggling to stay above water just a day ago.
Call it a hangover from the big win against the NFL’s evil empire in New England. Some might say it was overconfidence and a lack of game planning. Some might even say the Titans “own” the Jaguars, as some have suggested to me over the last 24 hours. The fact is this team did not play up to expectations and suffered a loss that let all the air out of the balloon called momentum this franchise had after a 2-0 start.
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"“Well, obviously we put a lot of effort on division games and we went out there today and obviously didn’t perform well, including myself. We tried to be aggressive early with the fake punt. We had the look we wanted; we didn’t execute it. That’s totally on me,” head coach Doug Marrone said after the game when he met with the media.“Give credit to Tennessee. They beat us. We know we’ve got to score points against them and we didn’t score, and that’s something we’ve got to work on and do a better job of. We all know we can execute when we do it the right way, but today we didn’t execute.”"
It’s more than a lack of execution, it’s this rivalry, in particular, that seems to give Jacksonville the shakes. A 37-16 loss last season at home. A 15-10 loss on the road when winning did not matter since Jacksonville had already wrapped up the AFC South.
If the Jaguars want to be an elite franchise, one of the best in the NFL, they have to find a way to beat Tennessee.
The Jaguars did not challenge the Titans down the field in the passing game. They ran a conservative offense. It was a reserve of the air attack against New England. The longest pass play of the game was 15 yards to Dede Westbrook. Quarterback Blake Bortles didn’t look like the world-beater only seven days ago. What happened on the field? What changed in a week?
Even Marrone was questioned about how this team looked Sunday as opposed to last week.
"“Is it head scratching? Yeah, of course. Obviously, it’s not what you expect, so you’ve got to go back and look at it, figure out ways for us as coaches to put in situations where we can go ahead and execute and give them the plays that they need to be able to make,” Marrone said. “And when the plays come up they’ve got to make them. It’s on all of us, starting with me, the coaches and then the players. It’s not like it’s one thing or one set. It was a combination of really not playing well at all.”"
The Jaguars face the New York Jets this coming Sunday, the last of a three-game homestand before they face the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s one of those games that will test the mettle of this franchise. Jacksonville was supposed to be 3-0 right now with a tougher part of their schedule on the horizon.
The NFL has a way of proving unpredictability. This is one of those cases. The Jaguars must once again find their identity this week. For an organization on top of the NFL world last weekend, this one proved to be mediocre at best.