The Jacksonville Jaguars went out and played to win on offense. The same could not be said for the defense.
And here we are, losers of five straight — six on the year — and out of the playoff race. Mathematically, it’s still possible, I suppose. But I don’t think 10 wins gets you into the AFC playoff picture this year.
It was as ugly a game as this new look Jaguars defense has given us since Doug Marrone was the head coach and about as clear a demonstration of what the team was wanting out of Blake Bortles when they gave him an extension last offseason.
Who stood out in the Week 10 matchup? Let’s find out!
1. Blake Bortles
When Blake plays poorly, we’ll say he played poorly. But today was not one of those days. With a lackluster run game at his disposal and a defense that forced him into comeback mode all game, Blake played well — certainly well enough to win. His first quarter touchdown throw to Donte Moncrief was a thing of beauty and his over 8.4 yards per pass attempt was more than adequate. If Blake played as well as he did today all season, this would be a 6-3 team. As it stands, the defense let him down and that’s a shame.
2. Donte Moncrief
As I mentioned earlier, Moncrief’s long touchdown catch in the first quarter was the kind of highlight this team is banking on once or twice a game. Even with just four targets all game, he’ll still stick out in your memory when remembering this game.
3. Rashad Greene
There’s no way getting around this. Greene had just one target and it was a fumble on a catch that would have given this team a first down and put this team within field goal range with less than two minutes to play. It’s a play that will stick with Greene (and us) for a while — not as one of those “what if?” plays when recalling how we barely missed the playoffs (that wasn’t going to happen) but as the nail in the coffin for why Greene isn’t worthy of a roster spot.
4. Telvin Smith
The drop off for Telvin this season has been tremendous. He is a liability in coverage and the only reason he was in a position to make a late game interception is because he was trailing Eric Ebron by a good couple of yards. If Ebron doesn’t juggle that ball it’s an ugly, ugly play. Aside from that, Telvin has been noticeably underperforming and I honestly do not know why. Does he really miss Poz that much? Are opposing offensive coordinators figuring him out? Is he missing some sort of support in coverage that he had last year, be it a player or some specific scheme? Whatever the issue, it’s likely not getting fixed during the season and it’ll have to wait until 2019.
Telvin Smith Sack #2 on Gabbert pic.twitter.com/vo8IPkwdkw— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) September 23, 2018
5. Barry Church
There was an early touchdown by the Colts — I can’t remember if it was Ebron’s second or third — where he was wide open when he caught the ball. I’m talking... no Jaguars defender was within 10 yards of him. Telvin was tasked with covering the running back in the flat and Ebron streaking towards the corner of the end zone. Telvin took the running back and Ebron easily scored. Afterwards, Church and Telvin exchanged glances and then words and then more glances. That scene has played out multiple times and I don’t have any reason for why Church has been on a different page when it comes to coverage, but I don’t think his being temporarily benched for Jarrod Wilson in the first half was related to an injury. The team needs speed at the strong safety position and Church is not giving it to them. Depending on how far along Ronnie Harrison is in his development, we could see a lot more of him as the season winds down.
6. The offensive line
For the most part today, Blake had time to throw. The running lanes weren’t there, but the screens and short passes to tight ends and running backs were. They got through today without being a huge liability overall (although the left tackle position is an absolute concern) and that was with their captain Brandon Linder going down in the second half with what looked like a serious injury. Was the offensive line superb? No. But they were good enough to win and I think that’s the bar we should be measuring them by until they can rebuild it this offseason.
Bonus: Wiggle Man
[TWEET NOT FOUND]
I’m not going to overreact, but the Jaguars losing is 100 percent because Wiggle didn’t go to church before the game and tweet about it.