The opening offensive drive for the Jacksonville Jaguars went 9 plays, spanned 80 yards and ended with a 32-yard touchdown run for Denard Robinson to give the team a 7-3 lead over the Dallas Cowboys. Everything from that point on was bad.
The Cowboys scored the next four touchdowns, including 35- and 68-yard touchdown receptions for Dez Bryant in the second quarter that put the game well out of reach. Couple that with another shaky day of inaccurate passing from Blake Bortles and the Jaguars never really had a chance in London.
While the offense looked like it has for several weeks now, the defense struggled to do the one thing that it has done very well so far in 2014: rush the passer. It wasn't until the fourth quarter that Sen'Derrick Marks finally brought down Tony Romo and recorded the first sack of the day for the Jaguars.
The inability to rush the passer allowed Tony Romo to pick apart the Jacksonville defense to the tune of 246 yards passing, while DeMarco Murray and Joseph Randle gashed the team for 156 rushing yards combined. It also didn't help that a pair of fumbles from Ace Sanders and Denard Robinson gave the Cowboys more opportunities offensively.
Three things we learned
1. Blake Bortles is being safe. Maybe too safe: The rookie quarterback entered the week with the league lead in interceptions and added another to his total in the fourth quarter when he just plain didn't see a linebacker sitting in the middle of the field. Prior to that though, he kept the ball out of danger and the Dallas secondary didn't have many opportunities to make a play.
That's a good thing, but it's also kind of a bad thing, as no balls came close to getting interceptions because Bortles was super conservative and looked hesitant to throw anything deeper than eight yards. Most of his yards came after the catch and it might be better if the Jaguars allow him to air it out deep every once in a while, even if that means putting the ball in jeopardy.
2. Denard Robinson is a complete back: This wasn't the best game of Robinson's year by any stretch, although he started the game with an excellent touchdown and finished with a second for his first career multi-touchdown game. He also had a fumble that killed what appeared to be positive momentum swing for the Jaguars. Still, the thing that stood out to me was Robinson's ability to pick up multiple blitzes and afford Bortles more time.
His ability to pass block was one area that was impossible to project as a converted college quarterback, but it appears as though he's efficient enough at it to be a legitimate feature back for the Jaguars.
3. Dez Bryant is just a matchup nightmare: One of the reasons the Jaguars defensive line was unable to affect Romo for most of the game was because the Cowboys schemed to run often and get the ball out of the quarterback's hands asap on passing plays.
The Jaguars defense was schemed against effectively and the Cowboys took advantage of the mismatches that Dez Bryant creates. One was a one-on-one against Dwayne Gratz that really wasn't terrible coverage and the other was a crossing route that allowed Bryant to beat Johnathan Cyprien around the edge.
Those are mistakes, no doubt, but not ones that the team should worry about too much considering Bryant is a special receiver who shreds opposing secondaries often.