Man, oh man. The Jaguars lost another game Sunday. No surprises there. I predicted it. I saw it coming. However, the fashion that the loss was in was far uglier than any game this year, bar Miami. However, Miami just destroyed the Super Bowl losers, the San Francisco 49ers last week, so they’re punching above their weight. They’re a well coached and disciplined team. However, Jacksonville is not. The team is 1-5 and was just destroyed by the now 2-4 Detroit Lions 34-16.
The play on offense was predictable, sloppy and downright ugly. Gardner Minshew missed multiple deep balls, made poor decisions with the football and was shaky in the pocket. Minshew Magic last year was predicated on Minshew’s ability to remain calm in the pocket, evade rushers and find the open man. That looks to be all but gone from Minshew’s game. Minshew was 25/44 for 244 yards a touchdown and an interception. He added another touchdown on the ground as well. He also lost a fumble after Trey Flowers was able to get a win on the outside. The moustached quarterback has lost all sense of cool, and is often not making the best reads on simple plays.
For example, look to the interception. Minshew threw this to Detroit’s Duron Harmon.
Minshew had a clean pocket, relatively little pressure and threw into double coverage. He then threw into the aforementioned coverage and under threw the pass, which was then intercepted. He missed open receivers multiple times down the field, and often stared down his first read. This is not the Minshew of old, and hopefully isn’t the Minshew of new, or else Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields or another rookie will be taking his job next year.
The strip sack was less on Minshew and more on the coverage, but the Lions and most other teams have been able to solve the Minshew scramble drill.
D.J. Chark has had a bad season as well, and had seven catches for 45 yards on Sunday. However, he was clearly not fully healthy and looked to lack a bit of burst after a less than full week of practice.
The Jaguars offense could also not solve the Lions poor rushing defense. The Lions entered the game with the league’s second worst rushing defense. James Robinson through five weeks had over 500 yards from scrimmage. It seemed like a match made in heaven for the rookie to have a big day. Except, it didn’t quite work out that way. Robinson had just 12 carries for 29 yards. The Jaguars failed to control the clock and tempo of the game, and continually put the defense in poor positions. For all of the defense’s faults, they’ve now outplayed the offense for two straight weeks, which is a damning feat.
The defense looked hopeless at stopping the run for another week, and gave De’Andre Swift his breakout game. They allowed a 54 yard rush by Swift early on, and that set the tone for the rest of the game for Swift, and unfortunately the defense as well. The Lions were a backfield led by the ageless wonder, and all-time great Adrian Peterson. However, Peterson did not play much during the Swift show. Swift had 14 rushes for 116 yards and two touchdowns after struggling for five weeks now. *shudders*
However, the team did not struggle in coverage as much as they had been in past weeks. Matthew Stafford only threw for 223 yards on 31 attempts with a touchdown and interception. Kenny Golladay had his first big day of the season with 4 catches for 105 yards, but Golladay is in the elite echelon of receivers in the NFL. Golladay does this regularly. Golladay makes the miraculous look regular, well, regularly. The Jaguars could not do much to stop plays like this.
However, it looked like the tides may have been turning in the second half after Joe Schobert intercepted Matthew Stafford deep into Lions territory. It was all for naught though, as the offense inevitably squandered the opportunity to make the game closer with a gifted chance.
Minshew and the unit could not convert on fourth down to keep the game within striking distance. Missed opportunities. A lack of discipline. The Jaguars are lost at sea, and it doesn’t look like this team can solve it.
On the brighter side, wide receiver Keelan Cole had nine catches for 143 yards and had his best game in quite some time, possibly even dating back to his rookie season in 2017.
That was about the only positive for the Jaguars, though. They travel to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers this coming Sunday at 4:25 p.m. eastern standard time. Something needs to change, and fast.