The Jacksonville Jaguars’ season may have just ended, but it’s never too early for a little reflection. At least not for players and national pundits, who when asked to think about the season — the highs, the lows, and most importantly the turning point — they all have their answers.
Calais Campbell, the team’s de facto public relations spokesman in the locker room, gave a very public relations answer. The turning point, in his mind, was the win over the New England Patriots.
“We made that game too important,” Campbell told The Athletic’s Daniel Popper. “At the end of the day, it’s a week in and week out grind. Consistency is the name of the game. And that was a huge win. We played great. But in this game, you have to do it consistently, in every facet of the game, from year to year, from week to week, from day to day, in the meeting room, on the field, in practice and in the game. You have to do it week to week, and we weren’t consistent this year at all.”
Tashaun Gipson gave a similar response.
“Right after that New England game, I think we hit the peak of our (season) — the excitement, the thrill, the drive, the sure-fire, man. We put all our eggs in that basket, if you will. That was last that this team played with that type of fire, and it showed.”
And on, and on, and on...
But I don’t buy either of those. No disrespect to Campbell and Gipson, but those are bad answers. Your turning point was winning a game you put a lot of stock into? Stop it.
And the Chiefs game, while demoralizing for Blake, may have been the quarterback’s undoing. But this team deflated earlier in the season than that.
Tennessee Titans at home.
6:40 left in the first quarter.
The score was 0-0 on the Titans’ second possession and you knew the game was going to be one of those “first to seven points wins” afternoons. Calais Campbell and Malik Jackson combined for a hit on Blaine Gabbert that knocked him out of the game. It was a dumb penalty, but it was still called and a Dante Fowler fumble recovery was wiped out. Marcus Mariota came into the game.
That was the turning point. That was the game where this defense learned it couldn’t stop mobile quarterbacks — and when they saw the offense wouldn’t be able to carry what little of the team they did last season.
With his throwing hand suffering nerve damage, he still helped the Titans run for 150 yards and eat up nearly 33 minutes in time of possession. And they only scored nine points!
And the offense, with their quarterback exposed as a one-trick pony, was immediately seen for the fraud he was. If you took away the easy crossers and the yards after the catch, the points were not going to come. This defense could hold opposing offenses to nine points — nine points — and they lost.
On September 23rd, the defense learned they would need to shoulder more of the team than they could. And the offense learned they went from bad last year to worse this year.
What do you think the turning point of the Jaguars’ season was? Let us know in the comments below!