For a fifth-straight week, the Jaguars (4-9) were embarrassed due to their poor play against the run on defense, and their inability to sustain drives on offense. The Jaguars have now lost by 17 or more points five-straight weeks, tied for the most in a row since the 1986, 2-14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Regardless of who has been at quarterback for the past month, the Jaguars have not been able to get out of their sleepy slump, and proved it once again in a home loss against the Los Angeles Chargers (5-8) 45-10.
The Jaguars have long been haunted by Chargers’ quarterback Phillip Rivers. Entering Sunday, Rivers had thrown for 2,354 yards, 21 touchdowns, five interceptions and an average passer rating of 115.97 against the Jaguars in his career.
That much didn’t change on Sunday after Rivers diced up the Jaguars secondary, completing 16 of 22 of his passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns with a near-perfect passer rating of 154.4. The highest passer rating he’s had in 221 career starts.
The Jaguars are playing with a makeshift defense. Five out of the team’s pre-season projected starting defensive lineup is not playing. Including cornerback Jalen Ramsey, linebackers Myles Jack and Telvin Smith, safety Ronnie Harrison, and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus.
This means, younger players have had to step up over recent weeks, ultimately leading to struggles defensively. Struggles which they have not yet been able to overcome.
#Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette: “one of the biggest battles we have is with ourselves” pic.twitter.com/9TgnZGwlIU— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) December 9, 2019
“Can’t make simple mistakes,” Jaguars defensive tackle Abry Jones said after the game on Sunday. “It’s really just what’s beating us. People running wide open, people not covering, people not staying in gaps in the run game. Simple as that, just assignments. It don’t matter if you young or not, you’ve been playing football since pee-wee. It’s football.”
The Jaguars surrendered 10 plays of 19 or more yards on the day, including a three-play 84-yard touchdown drive to begin the third quarter. Chargers’ running back Austin Ekeler became the first Chargers’ player since 1985 to accumulate 100 yards receiving and passing in a single game. Accumulated in only 12 touches — eight runs and four receptions on the day.
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone was somber at his post-game press conference relaying once again that the loss starts with him.
“You can’t just say it’s just the players,” said Marrone. “It’s us as coaches, too. We try to put them in good positions. We work on things during the week, but if you don’t have that performance on the field, that is a reflection on everyone.”
There has been speculation regarding whether or not the team will retain the third-year head coach after now back-to-back losing seasons, and after the team’s fifth-straight loss by 17 or more points, it seems to be a near-certainty Marrone will not be retained.
After the game, Marrone was asked if he had any post-game discussions with ownership and executives regarding his job status. Marrone says he has not had any discussions with leadership, and does not actively search for it either.
“I just figure I always look at it as a privilege to be able to be in in a position like this,” Marrone explained. “Eventually, if you don’t win enough games and you think it’s better to go with someone else, then obviously that’s out of my hands. I just keep doing the best job I can and just keep fighting. It is what it is.”
The Jaguars have no answers, currently, and will continue to have no answers for the remainder of the season. Suffering their worst loss of the season, there is seemingly nothing left to be gained.
While the team seemed to show little effort, Jones does not feel the team quit on Sunday.
“There’s no quit in us, I mean yeah there’s mistakes, but I mean we’re out there playing. I mean, if you feel like we quitting, don’t come to the game,” Jones said frankly. “That’s all I gotta say, wait for next year.”
Waiting for next year is the only shot they have.