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Jaguars lifeless against Colts, playoff hopes all but dead

Marrone: “I’ve got to do a better job of getting this team ready to go”

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

“Yes”, the Jaguars are sticking with quarterback Nick Foles the rest of the way Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6) head coach Doug Marrone said after the team’s 33-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts (6-4) at Lucas Oil Stadium.

A question that had to be asked after Foles stumbled in his first game back from a week-one collarbone injury. Although the veteran quarterback had a respectable — albeit misleading — final stat line, completing 33 out of 47 of his passes for 296 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, Foles, the Jaguars offense could not get anything going for the majority of the day.

Foles Next Gen passing chart

“It’s my first game with him playing a full game. So I’ll just take a good look at it, and talk to him about it and see where he is,” Marrone said when asked about the up-and-down play out of his quarterback. “I think just look at the overall thing of the game I thought they did a nice job, they got their hands on some balls and their underneath guys.” Foles had multiple passes tipped or nearly intercepted on the day.

After starting the game five of six for 72 yards and a touchdown to receiver DJ Chark Jr., Foles and the Jaguars’ offense would only net 81 total offensive yards in the second and third quarter combined. Never finding any rhythm, the Jaguar offense stuck with the passing game for the majority of the game — a puzzling development.

With a pass-run ratio of 47-9, Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette finished the game with just eight carries for 23 yards on the day with the team ultimately running the ball just nine times on the day. Failing to establish a ground game

Marrone hesitated to make any excuses for the team’s lack of rushing attempts only to explain he felt the team was “comfortable throwing the football and it didn’t work.”

The Jaguars’ head coach took the blame for their poor play on Sunday as he did after their week nine loss against the Houston Texans. “I told the team, ‘we practice well, we prepare well, we don’t perform well and that’s on me’. I’m responsible for penalties, I’m responsible for the way the team plays, I’m responsible for how they get ready to play on Sunday and I’ve got to do a better job of getting this team ready to go.”

The Jaguars entered their week 11 matchup against the Colts the healthiest they’ve been all season with only one player — tight end Seth DeValve — listed on the injury report on Friday. None of that mattered as the team’s play was abysmal, and effort was questionable at best.

The team’s lifeless effort wouldn’t end with the offense however, as the Jaguars’ defense performed about as poorly as one would expect a perpetually losing team to do. The Jaguars allowed two 100-yard rushers on the day in Colts’ running backs Marlon Mack (109 yards) and Jonathan Williams (116 yards). In the end, the team had no answers for the Colts’ run game, and their poor effort in tackling — along with gap-fitting — was obvious.

A solution for the run defense is no where in sight as Jaguars’ head coach Doug Marrone said after the game the team “tried everything.”

“You look at it whether it’s missed tackles, whether out of gas, whether we’re not spilling things. Pretty much when a team rushes for that many yards it’s not gonna be one thing, it’s gonna be multiple things and you can never get it -- it seems like we could never -- getting it stopped.”

Over the past two games, the Jaguars defense has allowed 480 rushing yards including 264 yards today against the Colts.

The Jaguars went into halftime down just three points and plenty of reasons to feel both sides of the football would pick up in play, however that never occurred. The game-determining drive would come in the third quarter on the Colts’ first drive out of halftime.

After getting the Colts into a third-and-19 situation the Jaguars’ defense allowed a 31-yard screen pass which Marrone explained simply the Colts, “wound up blocking us and getting in lanes and we couldn’t get enough people to it to make a play.” Following the first down, the Colts were able to have gains of 17 and 20 yards.

The Colts would go on to score on a one-yard touchdown pass from Jacoby Brissett to receiver Marcus Johnson — a drive which illustrated the struggles the team has had on defense throughout the game.

The Jaguars’ playoff hopes are technically not dead yet, but they might as well be. In what was a must-win game for the good guys, they failed to capitalize on the opportunity presented to them.

Jacksonville finds itself in a similar situation as they have for several years now. Identity searching and cherishing moral victories on the way to a disappointing finale. The search will continue when the team ventures on to Nashville to face the Tennessee Titans (5-5). The Jaguars have not won in Nashville since 2013, and will need all facets of the game to improve if they want the opportunity to erase an embarrassment.

Postgame Quotes:

Nick Foles on his play: “I’ve got to play better, absolutely. We lost. That’s ultimately a lot on the quarterback so I have to watch the film and improve on things that I can improve on to obviously put more points on the board. That’s on me. I will do that. I’m going to go watch the film and be critical of it and improve. We’re going to communicate with one another and we’re going to go back to work.”

Nick Foles on what leadership team needs: “I think the big thing is don’t press. I think it’s easy to press in this situation and think the sky is falling and the world is over. It’s not. We’re blessed to play a game. The big thing for the guys right now is go home. You have a family at home. You have a wife, go love her and go be with her. If you have kids, go be with your kids. That’s part of life. And like I said, leadership will come from everybody because it will be looking at the film being critical of yourself (and) then going out there and improving. There will be some guys who will probably be more vocal than others. I think the big thing is we can’t press. We are 4-6. That is the situation. But, we can’t win six games at once. We’re going to have our opportunity to look at this game, improve on this game next week and then we’re going to prepare for the next game. It’s as simple as that.”

Calais Campbell on run defense: “Today it was definitely tackling, but there was some assignment stuff too by all of us. It’s the game of football. Those guys get paid too and they made some incredible plays. It’s something we have to work on (and) something we have been working on but just continue to develop that mentality that we make sure teams are not going to run on us. We understand when we stop the run we are a tough team to beat, but when teams run like that today we’re going to lose. No ifs, ands or buts about it. We can’t let them run like they did today and expect to win ball games.”