Another primetime game, another unmitigated disaster.
It was yet another showing of self-inflicted errors, miscommunications and all around football mistakes that shouldn’t be happening this late in the season.
Will the team still make the playoffs? Most likely, but at this rate things are not looking good.
Here are your winners and losers from another nationally televised implosion.
The Jaguars defense gave the offense plenty of early Christmas gifts. One of those was courtesy of Rayshawn Jenkins.
Jenkins nabbed the only Ravens’ turnover of the night on a pick he eyeballed from the snap. The veteran safety begged quarterback Lamar Jackson to make a throw over the middle, and Jenkins snagged it and ran it back for 18 yards.
Overall, Jenkins recorded six total tackles, a sack and a quarterback hit. It was tough to stop Jackson consistently all night, but Jenkins did just about everything he could.
Travon Walker and Josh Allen
Speaking of doing just about everything you can do, Travon Walker and Josh Allen more than earned their way onto the winners list.
These two never gave up for a second during the game, and are coming along nicely as pass rushing tandem. Save for a handful of plays they were dropped in coverage, one or both of these guys were impacting Jackson in some form or fashion in the backfield.
Allen had a would-be sack just barely missed due to a Jackson grounding call, and Walker logged a sack, a tackle for loss and four total tackles.
The defensive line as a whole registered three sacks and made Jackson and the Ravens offense work in the passing game all night. With the lack of offensive production, it just wasn’t enough in the end.
Coming off of injured reserve, Jamal Agnew almost did the worst thing possible.
On the opening kick, Agnew appeared to have fumbled but was clearly down upon review.
With that disaster escaped and behind him, Agnew later caught the longest touchdown of his career, coincidentally on Trevor Lawrence’s longest touchdown pass of his career.
Agnew played extremely well, considering he was coming off injury and had not played in weeks. In his first game back, he led the team in receiving with 70 yards on two catches.
On special teams, he returned three kicks for an average of 30.3 yards and one punt for 17. Those numbers are perfectly fine and only stood to benefit the offense. However, the offense did little all night to capitalize.
I don’t think it needs to be restated, but here is the rundown on how the first half went for the Jags offensively:
Missed field goal
Missed field goal
Fumble by Lawrence when nearing the red zone. He was untouched.
End of the half, stalling at the Baltimore four-yard-line.
That is utterly and completely miserable.
The second half was not much better, as the Jaguars scored just once on the wheel route to Agnew, and turned it over on downs in the red zone to essentially end all hopes of winning the game. Lawrence also fumbled again, but this time it was more reasonable as he was being hit by a defensive tackle.
This offense is broken, or at least seems to be. The conversation all week was that the quarterback and receivers needed to get on the same page, and Sunday was no indication the team was any closer to getting there.
The missed field goals are not the offense’s fault, but the team was forced to kick them due to the offense either putting itself behind the chains.
Coach Doug Pederson also stated how the team needed to jump start the run game on Sunday night, but ended the game with Lawrence as the leading rusher.
Nothing encapsulates the team’s inability on offense better than the decision (likely by Lawrence) to not spike the ball before half and run a play instead with the clock running.
The result was zero points, part of a half of football where the Jags left at least 20 on the board. They later lost by 16.
WHAT A MISTAKE! Here's the final sequence of the 1st half with Zay Jones' unbelievable catch and then the decision to not spike it by Trevor Lawrence pic.twitter.com/ig27D6DfXL— Ben Brown (@BenBrownPL) December 18, 2023
It has to be said.
For two straight weeks, Lawrence has not looked right in the offense. Whether it is his fault, the lack of run game, the receivers not being connected, injuries, Press Taylor, Mercury in retrograde or some combination, the Jaguars’ quarterback of the future has not played up to snuff.
He is missing throws and fumbling the ball like Sunday was the first big game of his career.
No, he is not broken permanently and some slack does certainly need to be given due to his injury history this season. There does come a time however when feet have to be held to the fire, and it feels like one of those times.
His final stat line of 25 competitions for 264 yards and one score is somewhat pedestrian. His two fumbles hurt the team greatly. Missing Evan Engram on third and short to start the fourth quarter is just one of the many miscues for this offense.
There is plenty more wrong with the team other than just Lawrence. His sub-par play is probably more so because of the players around him. But guys have to elevate. Right now, the Jaguars are not seeing that.
You are supposed to win at home. Yet, the Jags have found a way to do the opposite.
This year, playing in Jacksonville specifically, the team is 2-5. The last win at home for the Jags was a dominating win over the Tennessee Titans back on November 19. With the current state of the team, that win feels like years ago.
For two straight primetime games, EverBank has been spilling over with fans and the crowd can be heard loudly on television. The city is supporting, but the team is not holding up its side of the deal.
Nothing can be said here to change the gross feeling this game provides. It just flat out stinks. The Jaguars are playoff bound, the fourth seed in the AFC and still likely to win the AFC South. Yet it all feels so empty.
The road is supposed to get easier, starting next week in Tampa Bay. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers however are coming off a 34 point outing where quarterback Baker Mayfield posted a perfect passer rating and threw for 381 yards.
The saving grace there is at least the game is on the road.