The Jacksonville Jaguars dropped their 2022 NFL season opener to the Washington Commanders in a frustrating 28-22 loss that many would argue actually should have been a win by the Jaguars. The game looked bleak for the Jaguars, sitting at 14-3 heading into the halftime with some missed opportunities, but after some halftime adjustments they rallied back to pull ahead 22-14, then some defensive breakdowns and stalls on the offense led to their ultimate downfall and first loss of the season.
Here are three things we learned on Sunday:
Jaguars offense stinks in the red zone
I said that many would argue that the Jaguars probably should have won the game, and I am one of those people. The Jaguars struggled in the red zone on Sunday, leaving lots of points on the field. Between a few missed passes, some bad drops that would have been touchdowns and a missed field goal, there was at least double-digit points the team left there due to their struggles in the red zone. It’s an area the team is going to have to hard focus on and figure something out.
One option for the Jaguars might be moving to some zone read style plays that are very simple, but have multiple options from the same looks. Really, anything that will actually help the team punch the ball in the end zone. The team had five trips to the end zone and only scored on two of them.
Offensive line is a big issue
Highest Pressure rate allowed on non-blitzes in WK1...— Rich Hribar (@LordReebs) September 12, 2022
NYG - 52.6%
JAX - 43.3%
MIA - 42.9%
CHI - 41.2%
ARI - 38.9%
LAR - 38.8%
MIN - 38.5%
SF - 38.2%
LAC - 37.0%
CAR - 36.4%
While the Jaguars offense put up a lot of yards and actually scored points, not counting all the points they left on the field, the offensive line is still a big time worry. Jaguars second year quarterback Trevor Lawrence missed on some passes for sure, but he also was put in tough spots thanks to the consistent pressure that Jack Del Rio’s Commanders’ defense was able to put on the second year quarterback.
Lawrence was under the second-most amount of non-blitz pressure in Week 1 and it showed on the field. There were way too many ALMOST huge plays, some impacted by the young quarterback being hit as he threw and some from simply rushing a pass due to the internal clock from the constant pressure. The offensive line right now is what it is, so the coaching staff will need to scheme something up to help protect the quarterback.
Run the ball
The Jaguars ran the ball 16 total times on Sunday, excluding runs from the quarterback. Between James Robinson and Travis Etienne Jr., they had just 15 carries for 113 yards, however both averaged over six yards per carry. I would understand if the Jaguars coaching staff was worried about putting too much on Robinson’s plate in his first game back from a Week 18 injury in 2021, but he was just so effective it’s hard to say he shouldn’t have gotten more carries.
Robinson consistently got positive yards and had an easy touchdown run. Not only that, but even with some mistakes, Etienne looked like an explosive threat every time he had the ball in his hands. The Jaguars were down two scores early, so I am sure that played into it, but a 42/16 pass/run split is not where the Jaguars want to be.