The Jacksonville Jaguars lost aa-aa to the Houston Texans on Sunday. Just like they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the Sunday before that. And the Indianapolis Colts the Sunday before that. And the New England Patriots the Sunday before...
You probably get it.
Through six weeks of the season, the Jaguars have been a wildly inconsistent team. If the offense is playing well, the defense is giving up 200 yards on the ground. Jason Myers kicks 58-yard game-winning field goals one week and then misses two of them two weeks later.
But one thing that has been consistent through every game (except the loss to the Patriots) is that we played to our competition for nearly the entire game. We don't set the tone. We let the opposing team lead and we follow, whether it's an offensive shootout with the Buccaneers, a defensive slugfest with the Colts, or a lukewarm everything against the Panthers.
And today was no different.
The first half was nearly an identical drive-for-drive match between the teams. After punts on the opening drives came touchdowns on the second drive, and then a field goal by the Texans. After that were punts by both teams and then a last-minute interception on a tipped pass in the red zone. At halftime, the Texans led 10-7, but to anyone who'd watched any Jaguars games this year knew a three-point gap was bigger than simply three points.
Punts were traded at the beginning of the second half until a turnover on downs by the Texans. Blake Bortles only needed four plays to get to a wide open Julius Thomas and the first lead of the game for the Jaguars.
That lead lasted only three minutes and 45 seconds.
Brian Hoyer, a guy who was deemed worse than Ryan Mallett, drove 81 yards and threw to DeAndre Hopkins on a busted coverage.
From there, things went downhill. Punt by the Jaguars, touchdown by the Texans. Then a pick-six interception by Bortles for a Texans touchdown. A garbage time touchdown almost made the final score look respectable, but then a last-minute interception finished it out.
The lack of a running game is a crippling thing for a coach who wants to be a possession team. Without Bortles' runs, the Jaguars had just 46 yards on 17 carries. But Yeldon was out all week. You couldn't put something together with Toby Gerhart and Denard Robinson?
One of Gus Bradley's most important responsibilities is to set the tone for the game. These players are reacting to what the other team is doing. That's not good. And while the roster isn't stellar, it's not so bad that it needs to just take what the other team gives it.
So far, Bradley has just been following the tone set by every other head coach he's gone up against, and it's a major reason he'll likely be fired after the London trip next week.