After the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8) lost to the Detroit Lions (6-4) we wanted to put pen to paper on what we saw and noticed during the 26-19 loss.
1. Losing teams make losing plays
I feel like I write about this every week, but it seems like the Jaguars find new ways to lose games on a weekly basis. All phases contributed to that trend today. The special teams gave up another big punt return, this one resulting in a touchdown. Blake Bortles threw a pick six for the second straight game. And Sen'Derrick Marks jumped offside on a crucial 4th and 2, where everyone in the world knew the Lions were trying to get them to jump offside. For the third game in a row, it felt like the Jaguars out-played the opposition. They gave a game away once again, and this coaching staff continues to prove they are a net negative for this team, as they always seem to shoot themselves in the foot.
2. Bortles continues to have the "OH NO" throws
Bortles pick six to begin the second half was another forced throw, in which he also starred down a receiver. Bortles seems to focus in on one receiver right from the get go on plays, and completely turns his body, not allowing himself to look other places on the field. Bortles is too far in his third year to make the amount of questionable throws he does. He seems so unsure of himself, which is evident by how many double and triple pumps he has on many throwing plays. Bortles is mentally shook. Maybe it is because his motion is in his head, maybe it is because he has no confidence in his decision making and accuracy. Whatever it is, he needs to fix it quick, because if the Jaguars keep losing like they are, they may be in a position to think about a new quarterback in the draft next year.
3. The defense has balled out all year, only to have their nose cut off by the offense
The Jaguars defense was lights out the first three quarters or so for the Jaguars today, and have been playing well all season. They forced the Lions into three and outs on three of their first four drives, yet the offense could not capitalize once again. This has to be infuriating to the defense, who if was supported by an even average offense, would be getting more publicity around the league. However, defenses on 2-9 teams don't get much love, no matter the circumstances. if there is anything positive to take form this season, it is that the Jags have the pieces to have an above average defense the next few years, especially with guys like Jalen Ramsey and Yannick Ngakoue continuing to improve.
4. Speaking of Ngakoue, he had his best game in awhile today
While Ngakoue only recorded one sack all day, he was a force in the Lions backfield all day, getting pressures and forcing Stafford to make tough throws. Ngakoue should have gotten an assist on Malik Jackson's sack, as his up-field pressure forced Stafford right into a bear hug by Jackson. It is clear at this point that Ngakoue is the teams best edge rusher, as evidence of the Lions double teaming him several times today. This kid is special, and as someone from Maryland who watched him play a lot in college, he has even exceeded my expectations.
5. Abry Jones recent play makes Roy Miller expendable next year
Let me start this off by saying I absolutely love Roy Miller, and what he has brought tot his team. He is by far the best run defender on the team, and he doesn't get the credit he deserves for the impact he made with this defense early on this season. However, Abry Jones has played well in his time filling in at the one technique, and played maybe his best game of the year today. Jones has a knack for taking up blockers, and can get up field during run plays to blow of the play for a loss. With Miller coming off an Achilles injury, and going to be on the wrong side of 30, Jones could end up keeping this start job into next year.
6. If the Jaguars keep running short tight end curls over the middle I may lose my collective $&*!
When you can pay Julius Thomas $45 million to run two-yard curl routes, you just have to take advantage of it. It drives me insane how much the Jaguars go to this play, and expect guys like Thomas, Lewis, and Koyack to get yards after the catch. How about letting Thomas run a seam route or two? You know, something he was really good at in Denver. This is a small problem among many, but it grinds my gears.
7. We've gone nine straight seasons now without a winning record
As my fellow writer Matt Hoffman pointed out right after the game, the chances of the Jaguars finishing with a winning record has once again vanished. When we write about not accepting losing, it comes from a place that has watched this team lose for nine years straight. There hasn't been much to cheer about, especially lately. Hopefully this trend doesn't continue much longer, but it wouldn't surprise me it makes a 10-year mark next year, an extremely impressive streak in the worst possible way.