Eight weeks into the 2022 season, it’s fair to say that the Jacksonville Jaguars have underperformed. Sure, head coach Doug Pederson has been on the job for less than a year and he can’t simply wave a magic wand and turn things around. It doesn’t work that way, especially when you consider that the Jags won a combined 15 games in the four years prior to his arrival and have plenty of work to do before they become a perennial playoff team.
On the other hand, the Jags have two dominant wins under their belt and it feels as if they could have won some of the games they’ve lost this year but self-inflicted prevented them from doing so.
In Week 8, Jacksonville had the lead at halftime, and even though they eventually lost it, they still had a chance to beat the Denver Broncos but Trevor Lawrence threw an interception with the game on the line. Although the sophomore quarterback wasn’t the sole reason the Jaguars lost, he didn’t come clutch when the rest of the team needed him. With this in mind, here are three observations about the loss to the Broncos.
3. Travis Etienne came up big for the Jaguars against the Broncos
The Jags raised eyebrows when they traded running back James Robinson to the New York Jets one day after their loss to the New York Giants. But looking back, Jacksonville might have gotten it right. Sure, fans and Jaguars players will miss Robinson and you will be hard-pressed to find someone who will say bad things about him.
Having said that, Travis Etienne has been pretty productive when he got the ball this season. In the four games preceding the loss to the Broncos, the former Clemson Tiger toted the rock a combined 42 times for 303 yards with one touchdown.
Simply, the team’s brass realized that good things happened when they gave the ball to Etienne and they paved the way for him to have a bigger workload when they traded Robinson. And at least in the short term, the move paid off, as Etienne went on to rack up 24 carries for 156 yards with one touchdown in Week 8.
Losing to Denver will probably overshadow Etienne’s performance but the Jaguars should feel good knowing they have a dynamic running back, even if it didn’t seem like a good idea to use a first-round pick on the position in last year’s draft.