What did we learn in the Jacksonville Jaguars loss to the Baltimore Ravens today? Too much, unfortunately.
1. Blake Bortles looked off for the second game in a row
Is it bad mechanics? Is he just in a bad rhythm? Is he hurt? Whatever it is, Blake Bortles has looked completely off the last two weeks, constantly overthrowing or underthrowing receivers. Aside from the Touchdown drive at the end of the 2nd half, Bortles has looked hesitant whenever he is trying to get rid of the ball. Bortles delivery does look long, even though it has always been. But more importantly, he just doesn't seem to be trusting himself right now when he is asked to drop back in the pocket. This loss obviously stings, but as a big picture franchise look, Bortles struggling is a bigger concern than an 0-3 start in what already seems to be a lost season.
2. The Jaguars continue to make things harder on themselves
The constant penalties are starting become an underlying issue for the Jaguars this season, but no penalty sticks out more today than the unsportsmanlike penalty call against Dante Fowler at the end of the half to give the Ravens another shot at a field goal. In a game decided by two points, gifting the Ravens three points ended up being costly for the Jaguars. For a team that struggles to pull at wins on its own, gifting the other team points will always help put the nail in the coffin for the Jaguars.
3. They continue to squander opportunities
The Jaguars had several chances in this game to extend their lead once they were up 17-16 on the Ravens. The Jaguars were gifted two interceptions on tipped balls, in which they proceeded to throw an interception themselves, than have a 53-yard field goal blocked. Good teams find ways to put games away, and it is clear that the Jaguars have a ways to go when it comes to being a good team. I believe closing out games comes to coaching, and the lack of aggressiveness on those two drives contributed in the Jaguars' demise. The two drives following the interceptions were painful to watch, yet highly predictable.
4. Where was the aggressiveness on defense?
Was I the only one who felt the Jaguars defense was extremely unaggressive today? I can maybe count on one hand how many times they blitzed. I understand the Jaguars got some good pressure, but it never felt like Flacco was pressured into anything on most of the plays. I'll have to look back on this also, but on several occasions I noticed the Jags play eight to 10 yards off coverage on third-and-short. The coaching staff talks about wanting to play press coverage, yet they gift the other teams receivers a free release of the line of scrimmage on short yard third downs.
5. On the positive side of things, Ngakoue and Folwer looked good once again
There weren't very many positives in this game. However, it was nice to see Dante Fowler Jr and Yannick Ngakoue both put on impressive performances again. Ngakoue had his second straight strip sack in the game, and Fowler disrupted a Flacco throw from behind which resulted in the Posluszny interception. Both players were able to get pressure on the edge, and force Flacco into some uncomfortable throws. Again, they will both have ups and downs as rookies, but Fowler and Ngakoue seem to have the talent to succeed.
6. The running game continues to be a non-factor
One of the reasons the Jaguars offense continues to look out of sync is the complete lack of running game they have put on display. The Jags run game continued to struggle today, averaging only 2.3 yards per carry. It didn't matter if Ivory or Yeldon was back there, the Jags could not get any push up front. The Jags will have to solve this issue at some point during this season, or else it could be a long year for the offense we all expected to break out.
7. At least Allen Robinson is still good
Some people were freaking out a little bit about Allen Robinson last week, where he was shutdown in the first half by Jason Verrett. Robinson showed in this game though that when given the opportunity, he can make plays, especially in the red-zone. Robinson also had some nice third down conversations, and it seems his route running has expanded and improved from last season.