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Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette reflects on dreadful third quarter

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The Jaguars had one of the most painful third quarters in team history, to cap an embarrassing three-game stretch

Jacksonville Jaguars v Tennessee Titans Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) were handed third-straight loss on Sunday after falling 42-20 to the Tennessee Titans (6-5) on Sunday. A dreadful three-game stretch of divisional games has come to a close — one of the most embarrassing three-game stretches in team history. The team — including head coach Doug Marrone — were rightly upset, and frustrated after yesterday’s loss.

For the second time in team history (2000), the Jaguars lost three divisional games in a row. For the first time in team history, the team lost three games in a row by 20 or more points, and finally, for the first time in team history, the Jaguars surrendered 200 or more rushing yards three weeks in a row to put a nail in the coffin to their forgetful season.

However, the worst sequence occurred in the third quarter of yesterday’s matchup. The Jaguars surrendered 248 net yards and four touchdowns yesterday in the third quarter alone. Titans running back Derrick Henry rushed the football eight times for 126 yards (15.8 yards per attempt) and Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill completed five of five of his passes for 122 yards including a 65-yard touchdown pass to receiver A.J. Brown.

In just nine plays, the Jaguars surrendered 28 points. Henry scored a 74-yard rushing touchdown following a Jaguars punt, and on the ensuing kickoff, the Jaguars fumbled the football, giving the Titans the football, allowing Henry to score yet again. The Titans running back scored twice in only 16 seconds of game time. The first time any such sequence has occurred for a running back since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006.

“Derrick (Henry) broke the long run,” Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette said of the third quarter. “Probably someone was out of their spot. It happens. Nobody is perfect. I am not going to put it all on Coach Doug (Marrone) because he coaches us.”

The Jaguars have struggled mighty in the second half of football games, and especially in the third quarter. Over the past three games, the Jaguars have been out-gained 488-162. Offensively, and defensively, the team has not found a way to get over their slump. On Sunday, the Jaguars netted only 81 net-yards of offense and converted one out of four third downs.

“We are out there as a whole with each other each and every week and we should know our assignments and stuff like that. It’s tough right now. One of those seasons. Look at the Bears. They were in the playoffs last year. Their record is not too good either. A lot of teams that were top tier last year are struggling right now.”

The Jaguars are a team going through a rough patch at the moment. Without resolve, the team has had to find victories in other areas — such as individual betterment. For Fournette, this has been a tough, but life-changing, season.

Over the first two years of the young running back’s career, Fournette has not lived up to his own expectations, however this year he has grown as a person and football player.

“Despite everything that I did in past years, I have always been a leader no matter what,” Fournette said after the game on Sunday. “I think during this time it is kind of difficult to really exemplify that and show that to the guys, especially being in a losing point like the two games being very frustrated not getting the ball.”

Fournette says the talk he had with Marcus Allen and his father have risen his spirits, and have taught the young running back that things could be a lot worse.

“We work our (expletive) off during practice the entire season. We didn’t get the results that we wanted or that we needed. But my spirits are kind of high. It’s not about the touchdowns or any of that.”

The only bright spot of the day — the LSU product scored two touchdowns yesterday and accounted for 159 all-purpose yards against the Titans on Sunday. With a total of 1,342 all-purpose yards on the team, the Jaguars running back became just the second player in team-history (Maurice Jones-Drew) to account for at least 1,250 scrimmage yards through the team’s first 11 games of a season.

“It’s just one of those seasons, but it happens for a reason.”