Jacksonville Jaguars post-game review

DeAndre Pearson

Earlier this season, Jacksonville was one of the teams to watch after a suffering a defeat to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship. Now, they are in the middle of a two game losing skid and third in their division and fans are wondering why.

As the game clock strikes zero, a parade of Cowboys fans celebrated inside the AT&T Stadium. The Dallas Cowboys put on an absolute rout on the Jacksonville Jaguars in front of home fans, beating them 40-7. Meanwhile, dejected looks covered the Jacksonville bench. The Jacksonville Jaguars got off to a hot start this season, which includes an AFC rematch victory over the New England Patriots but now are struggling to get to the top of their division.

Jacksonville has not been the model of consistency but there are some key reasons to explain the Jags struggles. One of them is injuries. It’s a sad reality but injuries are a common thing in football. In Jacksonville’s case, having your star running back (Leonard Fournette) weave in and out between injury statues really hurts the Jags.

He is a significant part of their offense for two reasons: he is a tough, physical runner and he helps take pressure off of quarterback Blake Bortles. Fournette has been battling a lingering hamstring injury, which sidelined his playing time. With Fournette absent in the backfield, Jacksonville’s running game is almost nonexistent which helps opposing defenses focus their pressure on Bortles.

Jacksonville likes to establish a consistent running game early which helps Bortles make accurate passes since the defense will be too focused on Fournette. Without Fournette on the field, it is literally a day and night contrast of the Jags offense.

Another reason is the lack of pressure on Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. There are many plays where the Jags defensive front simply could not get to the quarterback. With Jacksonville’s defense being ranked at the top, many expected the Jaguars to come up with more than just three sacks. The blocking from the Cowboys offensive line gave Dak Prescott more than enough time to survey the field and make accurate throws.

The same could not be said for the Jacksonville’s offensive line. Despite giving up three sacks, the O-line did little to help Bortles remain accurate and comfortable. There were far too many occasions where he looked uncomfortable and was forced to make quick decisions. This continuously dragged an already worn down defense back onto the field.

Game of possession is also a big factor that worked against the Jags. Dallas posted a commanding time of 38 minutes and 50 seconds, while Jacksonville  notched 21 minutes and 10 seconds. This simply means that the Cowboys took their time and marched down the field before scoring in the endzone. This limited possession for the Jags and made every drive that much more crucial.  So every possession where they failed to score only widened the gap between them and Dallas, leading to the 40-7 defeat.

Although the Jags seem to be in a tailspin, they still have plenty of games to turn this losing streak around. Their next matchup will be an AFC South matchup at home versus the Houston Texans. Although the Texans are currently on a three-game winning streak, they have showed instances of inconsistency which led to their three losses so far. This would be a great opportunity of Jacksonville to get back to basics and generate momentum as they continue their 2018 campaign.

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