A big reason the Jacksonville Jaguars lost to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday was because their offense just couldn’t move the football. Be it from poor quarterback play, drops and penalties they just could not move the ball. Another big factor in the game were two seeming blunders by head coach Doug Marrone.
The Fake Punt
Like, why? I am all about running fakes, but they require a right time and right place in the game. Doing it that early, from your own 43, is not the right time to do it. It compounded the issue because you could have pinned Blaine Gabbert deep in his own territory and just sent pressure at him like you’d been doing previously. You know what happens to Gabbert when he’s pressured and pinning him deep and doing so is either going to result in a quick three and out, safety or a turnover.
“Yeah, I think you always, I always regret decisions that don’t work,” Marrone said after the game on Sunday. “I just wanted to be aggressive early and had the look. It looked good in practice and we didn’t execute it.”
I’ll never fault a coach for being aggressive, but this was just beyond aggression. You don’t run fake punts that early in the game unless you’re playing a team you know is better than you and you’re trying to steal a possession. There’s also the thought that since the Titans scored on a fake punt the previous week, you run a fake because somehow that will mentally stop the Titans from running a fake because the surprise of it is gone... but that’s some real tin foil stuff.
Ultimately, it was just a miscalculation on Marrone’s part that led to three points and put the Titans about 15 yards out of field goal range to start their drive. It made things worse by just being an awful designed play, pitching it to Corey Grant and trying to run wide.
Not going for it on 4th and 3
With 2:51 left in the fourth quarter down by three points, Marrone elected to punt on 4th and 3 from the 32-yard line with all three time outs. I understand the logic in that the Titans offense hasn’t done squat all day and you have your time outs so you try to pin them deep and get the ball back in better field position.
The issue was, it was clear the Jaguars defense was starting to wear down because they had been on the field the whole second half. The Titans had just come off a 12 play, near 7-minute drive to kick the go ahead field goal, followed up by you doing a quick three and out on offense when you punt. The gamble was betting on your defense to get another stop, but at some point your offense has to make a play and give them a breather and this was the opportunity to be aggressive and go for it.