The play calling in the second half of the Jaguars' 16-10 loss to the Panthers has been the subject of much debate among Jaguars faithful over the last day. The Jaguars seemingly attempted to protect their five point lead by running an ultra-conservative strategy with a gameplan that leaned excessively on the running game.
While the gameplan ultimately proved to be unsuccessful, the Jaguars actually ran the ball with some success. During the opening drive of the second half that Alfie analyzed in an earlier post, the Jaguars accumulated three first downs and 38 yards rushing on eight consecutive running plays. They had the Panthers on the ropes and they clearly planned on continuously backing them down with a rushing attack.
However, a botched snap by Blaine Gabbert set the offense back into a 3rd and eight situation. It was one of four fumbled snaps by the rookie quarterback who, despite transitioning from a spread offense in college, never showed any struggles with taking snaps in training camp or preseason. Luckily for the Jaguars, all but one of those fumbles was recovered by a Jaguars player and the only one that wasn't was returned to the Jaguars due to an offsides penalty.
Though the Jaguars were fortunate to recover each of the fumbles, they set the offense back in each situation. One set the Jaguars in a 3rd and long situation which they were unable to convert and another came on a 3rd and one situation that forced the Jaguars to punt.
The playcalling was frustratingly conservative at times, but ultimately it was proving to be successful had certain setbacks not forced 3rd and long situations. The true frustration for me came when the Jaguars decided to attempt to convert a 3rd and eight with a draw play unsuccessfully and attempt to convert a 3rd and 11 with a draw play unsuccessfully on consecutive drives.