It was yet another long Sunday for the Jaguars (5-10) after a 12-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons (6-9). Although the team made an attempt near the end to comeback, the team could not get it done both offensively, and could not hold the Falcons enough times defensively to make a difference.
After letting go of the team’s EVP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin on Wednesday last week, Jaguars owner Shad Khan did not address the potential for neither general manager Davd Caldwell nor head coach Doug Marrone staying, only stating in his press release last week, “my expectations, and those of our fans, for our final two games and the 2020 season are high.”
While the Jaguars showed a valiant effort throughout the second half of the game, the team fell well short of expectations by way of poor offensive production in the first half, and far too many unsustained drives in the second half.
In the first two quarters, the Jaguars accounted for only five first downs, and 83 net yards, including 21 passing yards. The Jaguars and Gardner Minshew II simply could not get anything going against a revived Falcons defense, as the rookie quarterback completed only three of 14 of his first-half throws for 21 yards.
On defense, the Jaguars were too up-and-down today after giving up two quick touchdowns — partly thanks to a Michael Walker fumble —, to start the game down 14-0 in the first quarter. However, two interceptions by cornerback Tre Herndon and safety Jarrod Wilson helped stall promising Falcons drives, handing the ball back to the Jaguars offense.
Down 17-3 to begin the second half, the Jaguars offense was able to put together sustainable drives by way of 12 first downs and 205 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown reception by receiver Chris Conley — Minshew II’s best throw of the game gave the Jaguars life they needed in the first half.
Priming to be yet another miracle two-touchdown comeback victory for the Jaguars and their rookie quarterback, their final drive would prove fruitless as Minshew II was unable to connect with receiver DJ Chark Jr. in the end zone on fourth-and-goal after driving the ball 60 yards on 15 plays, including two fourth-down conversions.
Minshew II would finish with 13 of 31 (41.9%) completions for 181 yards and a touchdown — a poor performance from the rookie quarterback. The team’s leader in yardage was once again running back Leonard Fournette, who accounted for 15 carries for 71 yards and 3 receptions for 34 yards.
For the second time this season (Chargers), the Jaguars gave up 500-plus yards of total offense to the opposing team, surrendering far too many explosive plays including 384 passing yards by Matt Ryan with Julio Jones accounting for 166 yards on 10 receptions.
While the team has continued to show effort on the gridiron these last couple of weeks, they simply are not good enough.
Not able to sustain anything of substance offensively, and continuously burned on the ground — and in the air —, on defense. The Jaguars — and Khan —, will have major decisions to make following the season finale at home against the Indianapolis Colts next Sunday.
Marrone had this to say following the game when asked if his position is to still remain focused on the team, and not on his job security: “Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like you stand up here and just say ‘I really don’t care’, that’s bullshit, I mean we all care. It’s humiliating, it’s embarrassing.”