Jaguars fall to the Colts: Where does this team go from here?
By David Levin
After a 29-26 loss at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts, the Jacksonville Jaguars sit in last place of the AFC South at 3-6. The offense played well enough to win. The defense struggled early.
The Jacksonville Jaguars 29-26 loss should not be blamed on Blake Bortles. He played well in defeat. Leonard Fournette had 109 yards in total offense. Donte Moncrief returned to Indianapolis and responded with an 80-yard touchdown. The offense, for the most part, did enough to win the game on Sunday.
The defense set the tone for this outcome early as it surrendered 29 points in the first half. Try as Bortles and this offense did, they could not overcome the deficit. Now, at 3-6 and in last place in the AFC South, the Jaguars face desperate times over the course of the next seven weeks.
These are the losses that are hard to swallow most. In a season that lasts 16 weeks, games where almost wasn’t good enough are the ones that leave you asking more questions. Are the Jaguars a better football team the second half of the season? So far, the offense looks that way o looks to be on the path toward improvement.
The defense may have pitched a shutout in the second half of Sunday’s game in Indianapolis, but there is no way you can classify this unit as elite or one of the best in the NFL.
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"“Obviously, it was tough when you get down early. We gave up 29 points in the first half – that’s not what we want to do,” head coach Doug Marrone said when he met with the media following the game. “Obviously, we had some people running free and a guy like Andrew Luck is obviously going to find them. I thought offensively they were fighting. We were able to get that field goal right at the end of the half, which made it 29-16.”"
We talk often about the Jaguars being a team lost that is trying to find its way. The coaching staff has been questioned. The players’ heart and desire have been questioned. The injuries that have plagued this team this year have been blamed. Now, a team that shocked everyone last season and made the AFC Title Game is below average.
A team is only as good as their record indicates. The Jacksonville Jaguars have a lot of work to do.
The Jaguars had 415 yards of total offense on Sunday. Bortles threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns. He did not turn the ball over and he was not sacked all game. The offensive line did a better job on Sunday despite the running game averaged 2.7 yards per carry. Even Bortles said the loss was on everyone, and things needed to be changed.
"“I think – because you look around and you have we have some injuries, but we had injuries last year too. It’s a lot of the same guys out there that were a part of the team and that run last year,” he said.“So, I think there’s a little confidence boost in knowing that. But also, the reality is that we’re 3-6 and have lost five straight. So, we’ve got to get that stopped. We’ve got to stop the bleeding, get it turned around and finish the season strong.”"
At this time last season, we were lauding the defense and a rookie running back that punished opponents. Sadly, we are now talking draft position and which coaches may lose their jobs at the end of the year.
The Jaguars face the Pittsburgh Steelers this coming week in a game that should have meant something big for this franchise. No Sunday night game this time around. And with the struggles on defense, will Pittsburgh pick Jacksonville apart underneath in the passing game?
Unfortunately, it has come to this. We are talking about earning small victories instead of huge accomplishments. That’s the state of this football team right now. I just have to wonder, what happens next in this season of unfilled promise?