The Jacksonville Jaguars suffered their first loss of the 2018 NFL season at the hands of the division rival Tennessee Titans by the score of 9-6. The game was a rather ugly one to watch. Here are some notes from the loss.
The offense did not show up Sunday afternoon after putting up an incredible performance in week 2 against the New England Patriots. The offense failed to get any momentum going without running back Leonard Fournette and quarterback Blake Bortles seemed to go back to his rookie self again. This should not happen in his 5th year in the league. Bortles was erratic with some of his throws, and was wildly inaccurate.
Although Bortles was inaccurate with some of his throws, his receivers did not help his case. There were quite a few drops made by the receivers where Bortles hit the receivers in the hands, and the balls were just not brought in. If the receivers caught some of those passes from Bortles, then the game could have very well turned out differently. The fact that running back TJ Yeldon was the leading receiver shows some concern for these receivers. The Titans secondary were susceptible to big plays in the first two weeks of the season, and should have been taken advantage of.
There were some questionable calls by head coach Doug Marrone and the offensive staff. Going for a fake punt early in the first quarter was very questionable timing. The failed fake punt led to 3 points for the Titans later in the first quarter. Another questionable decision was late in the game when the staff opted to punt the ball with under 3 minutes to go when it was 4th and 3. Granted it was inside the Jaguars half of the field, but the Jaguars could have taken a shot and gone for it to keep their drive alive. Punting the ball seemed like they trusted their defense to hold them to a 3 and out, which happened only twice the entire day.
One cannot blame the defense for this loss. The defense held the opponent to 9 points. 90% of the time, the team usually wins. The defense held the Titans to 233 total yards and 59 plays. That is an incredible day for the defense, but unfortunately, the offense couldn’t get the ball moving.
When Titans quarterback Blaine Gabbert was knocked out of the game, backup Marcus Mariota came in and helped guide the Titans to victory. Mariota may have exposed a flaw in the Jaguars defense. Mariota, when faced with pressure, was able to maneuver around the pocket and go out and run for yards and first downs. Mariota was the second-leading rusher for the Titans with 51 yards rushing on 7 attempts. The Jaguars may have an issue with mobile quarterbacks this season and could prove to be a significant issue for this defense.
The Jaguars brought pressure early and sacked Gabbert twice before knocking him out of the game. Once Gabbert left the game due to injury, Mariota came in and was sacked once. They kept pressure going, but it was not enough Sunday afternoon.
The Jaguars complete the final game of a 3-game homestand against the New York Jets. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 pm.