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Jacksonville Jaguars red zone issues doom them again

Once again, red zone problems are at the heart of a Jaguars loss.

Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

The way the game started, it appeared as if the Jacksonville Jaguars were going to dominate the San Diego Chargers. Blake Bortles and the offense moved the ball down the field at will, but then they ran into that pesky force field again. Once they got inside the red zone, nothing worked. Everything went haywire and they had to settle for field goals early in the game coming away with just nine points, rather than potentially 21. What made it worse, was the defense was holding the Chargers in check. They couldn’t score or get close to scoring. It could have been 21-3 early in the game.

But, it wasn’t.

The Jaguars went into halftime, after dominating the game on the field, down 21-9.

Yeah, Bortles had a bonehead play where he threw the ball beyond the line of scrimmage. It happens, he was trying to make a play. On the first one, from my view from my seats in that end zone, he could have just plowed in for either a first down or touchdown. Instead they ended up with a field goal. That’s a huge swing in the NFL. The second penalty, while inconsequential, was comical. How do you do that twice? It also didn’t help Bortles had another back breaking interception, though this time I think it was just a great play by Manti T’eo more than a poor throw on Bortles part.

But man the red zone issues. I don’t get it.

I don’t like killing play calling, but this is a situation where Greg Olson completely dropped the ball. The team did not run the football a single time in the red zone. How is that even possible? How is it possible T.J. Yeldon only gets nine carries the entire game against one of the worst rush defenses in the NFL?

I know Bortles is a bad fade thrower and he’s not a short-yardage precision passer, but you’ve got to figure something out in the red zone. Sunday against the Chargers seemed like an overcorrection from the failures of the past with both Toby Gerhart and Denard Robinson failing to punch it in. Why are they so averse to giving Yeldon a shot to punch it in? Why not boot Blake on a keeper?

Hell, run read-option with Bortles and Yeldon one time. That worked quite a bit last year with Jedd Fisch, but it doesn’t seem like Olson wants to do it.

Whatever the problem is in the red zone, they need to figure it out fast. The short passes outside of the end zone aren’t working. Fades aren’t working. Mix it up. Do… something.

This was another game the Jaguars should have won, but they again shot themselves in the foot. Not even talking about the defensive issues, which is for another day, if the offense scores a touchdown on just one of their early scoring drives it’s a different ball game.