“We weren’t able to get anything done and didn’t recover from that,” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said to open his post-game press conference.
Perfectly summed up, the Jaguars weren’t able to overcome an early 14-0 deficit. The team has been able to overcome early shortfalls offensively at times this season — against the Oakland raiders and the Denver Broncos —, however, today was simply not their day and resulted in a 12-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Yet again, Marrone took the brunt of the blame for the team’s shortcomings, as he has done over the course of the double-digit loss season. Without much movement in the first half, the Jaguars weren’t able to mount a comeback.
A team which has fallen behind early for several weeks in a row, fell victim to poor quarterback play and brutal pass protection that amounted to 83 first half yards and a 17-3 deficit at halftime.
Coming out of halftime, the Jaguars looked poised to mount yet another miraculous comeback, Marrone also indicated the feeling from the players and coaching staff was that the team was re-energized.
“I thought they came out and had a lot of energy and were ready to go and started moving it and then kind of went back and forth and then we got swallowed,” said Marrone. swallowed. I wish we could have gotten a touchdown instead of a field goal, I thought that was something that could really have boosted us.”
With 2:29 remaining in the third quarter, the Jaguars were forced to kick a field goal on fourth and four from the Falcons nine-yard line. A decision to take the easy points instead of trying to get within one score which could have changed the momentum of the game.
At 17-6, the Jaguars were still in a position in which they needed two scores, had they went for the touchdown, or at the very least a first down, the team could have closed the Falcons’ lead, with momentum fully on their side. Instead, the Jaguars’ defense would surrender yet another long touchdown drive — a theme of the day as the team surrendered over 500 yards for the second time in three weeks.
This week, Jaguars players poured out support for their head coach during open locker room sessions for the media. The team played with effort today, and kept the game close, for themselves along with their coach.
“I give them credit. It’s nice to have people support you, but at the end of the day, that doesn’t really mean anything because you are judged on winning or losing. I would like to think that any players in the NFL would support their coaches. That’s how I feel.”
Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II echoed those same sentiments following the game on Sunday saying the near-comeback felt a little bit “like last week”, with only a few minutes to play in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars had an opportunity to come within four points, however a fourth down incomplete pass ended any efforts.
“It’s very disappointing for everyone in this room. We talk about family and we mean it with everyone in this locker room,” Minshew II said after the game on Sunday. “Losing is not going to be okay, mediocrity is not going to be okay and we’re going to do everything in our power to try and fix that.”
The Jaguars will try hard to fix that next week when the team plays the Indianapolis Colts at home — a now, 4:15 kick off —, a game in which could decide the fate of not only the coaching staff, but many players of the football team.
One thing I do know is that this team fights and we have a lot of heart. We’re young and guys are learning. The biggest thing is, how do we respond?,” Jaguars defensive lineman Calais Campbell said after the game on Sunday. “You know this one sucks. We could of played a lot better, but at the end of the day, you can’t mix effort with results. You have to get the job done and we didn’t get it done today. We have to come back next week and finish the season with a win.”