The Jacksonville Jaguars spotted the Los Angeles Rams 17 points on Sunday, through poor special teams play, and to no one’s surprise ended up losing the game 24-17. The fact that the game ended within a single score was impressive, considering everything else that happened in the game.
It started with the opening kickoff where Pharoh Cooper took the kick back for a touchdown, immediately sucking the air out of EverBank Field. Thankfully, rookie running back Leonard Fournette injected some energy back in the crowd when he took his opening hand off for 75 yards and a touchdown.
The seams were loosened on special teams with the opening kickoff, but the first thread came undone on the Jaguars second drive when Brad Nortman, who had been excellent through the first five weeks of the season, shanked the punt just 16 yards. Thankfully the defense held and after surrendering just eight yards, the Rams kicked a 56-yard field goal. So far, that’s a 10 point swing from special teams.
The Jaguars took the lead on their next drive that got started with an 18-yard reception by Allen Hurns and finished off with a screen pass to Chris Ivory for a touchdown. The Jaguars went up 14-10 and it appeared like they were back on track. Little did we know that would be, for all intents and purposes, the last real drive by the offense the rest of the game.
The Jaguars wouldn’t score again until there was five minutes left in the third quarter, with Jason Myers hitting a 41-yard field goal... on his third try. Myers missed his initial attempt, but thanks to a 5-yard formation penalty on the Rams, he got another shot and made it.
Between the scoring drives for the Jaguars, Myers also missed a 54-yard field goal, which pushes the special teams point swing to 13 points. That was further compounded after a three-and-out by the Jaguars offense when Brad Nortman had his punt blocked and returned for a touchdown. That’s now 20 points swinging because of poor special teams play.
The Jaguars are winning football games by suffocating other teams and forcing turnovers, but it’s almost impossible to win if special teams spots the other team 17 points on the board. Even with doing so, the team had two drives with chances to tie the game, but one ended in another bad interception and a three-and-out.