With a rare chance to have a national audience get a chance to see them play, the Jaguars laid an egg. The first team offense and defense both looked sloppy, and struggled to get into a rhythm throughout the game.
The first team offense in particular disappointed, turning the ball over, and punting three times on the first four drives. The offense was sloppy, and looked out of rhythm. From a TJ Yeldon fumble on a screen pass, to couple of Blake Bortles sloppy passes, the offense looked far from efficient.
However, the offense was able to garnish a 12 play, 66 yard drive mid way through the second quarter, that included a sharp throw by Bortles to Allen Hurns for a third down conversion, and filthy cut back by Yeldon for an 18 yard gain.
Bortles finished the game going 10-15, for 53 yards passing. While Yeldon had a good stat line, rushing on 5 carries for 34 yards, and looked good in pass protection.
The defense disappointed as well, as the first team gave up 21 points in the first half. The Bengals had gaping holes to run through in the first quarter, and while the Jaguars were missing Roy Miller in this game, there was no excuse for the ease the Bengals ran the ball with.
The lack of pass rush was also a concern, as always. Besides a Jared Odrick sack on Andy Dalton, the Jaguars struggled to create any pressure, especially from the edges.
The second half was a different story however,as the Jags were able to battle back with the back up's in. Chad Henne lead a few nice drives that ended in touchdowns, with a touchdown run from Joe Banyard, and a passing touchdown to Nate Sterling.
The Jags defense followed up the offenses strong 2nd half performance, with a interception for a touchdown by Hayes Pullard, which would prove to be the difference in the game, as the Jaguars won 26-21.
Observations from the game
1. Joeckel struggled at guard. Luke Joeckel got absolutely punished a couple of plays at left guard, and hsi first play at left tackle, he was pushed on his back by Michael Johnson. Joeckel played solid in his first two preseason games, but this game was much more reminiscent of last years final game against the Texans,
2. Beachum however, looked solid. Kelvin Beachum didn't wow anyone tonight, but compared to the night Joeckel had, he looked like an All Pro. Beachum looked especially good in pass protection, and didn't to be rattled adjusting to the speed of a real game again.
3. The pass rush continued to struggle. This will be a common theme all year for the Jags, as they are relying Fowler and Ngakoue to create pressure on the edge. Malik Jackson showed some burst however, and Sen'Derrick Marks continued to show burst, which is a good sign for the pass rush.
4. The redzone calls continue to be strange. The first red-zone possession the Jags had was some what questionable. After a solid run by Yeldon, they rushed to the line of scrimmage, to call what would be a fade to Marqise Lee. On third down, they ran a play action play where Bortles threw into the flat to Hayes Pullard, who was substituted in at fullback for touchdown. However, the play was called back because Pullard failed to declare himself eligible as a receiver. First, why throw a fade pass to Lee? Who has never shown that as an area as strength, Why not throw that fade to Allen Robinson? As for Pullard, the Jags signed Chris Ivory for a reason, and 3rd an 1 at the goal-line they can't use him?
Although the Jaguars won the game, the score does not tell the whole story. While it is only a preseason age, the Jaguars have left this game with more concerns than they had entering it.