The Jaguars defense performed about as poorly as an NFL defense can on Sunday. They were exposed throughout the game in a multitude of ways. There’s no one player that can be blamed for the lack of execution by the defense on Sunday, but there was one player whose mistakes early on in the game allowed the Cowboys offense to get rolling.
AJ Bouye’s poor play on the first two offensive drives for the Cowboys opened up the flood gates.
Let’s take a look at exactly what happened.
COWBOYS OFFENSIVE DRIVE #1: AJ BOUYE gave up a big completion on third and nine. He was in press man on the outside and was actually in a decent position to make a play, but didn't get turned around to locate the ball. That play gave the Cowboys a huge first down with the ball inside Jaguars territory. The Jaguars defense was able to hold the Cowboys to a field goal on the drive, but would have gotten off the field scott-free if Bouye was able to make the play on third down.
COWBOYS OFFENSIVE DRIVE #2: On the second Cowboys offensive drive of the game a terrible punt by Logan Cooke and a holding call on long snapper Matt Overton gave the Cowboys the ball with excellent field position again. This drive started at the Jaguars 48 yard line. After two plays that garnered the Cowboys just five total yards, the Jaguars were faced with stopping the Cowboys on third and five. Who got beaten, again? AJ Bouye. This time he was lined up in the slot against Cole Beasley, who easily beat him on a slant route to the offensive left side of the field that gave the Cowboys the ball at the Jaguars 28. It looked possible that there was a miscommunication in coverage on this one, as Bouye had no help underneath on the defensive right side. Still, it's a play Bouye has shown he's capable of making. Two plays later Dak Prescott escaped the pocket to AJ Bouye’s side of the field and inexplicably fumbled the ball, but with a great amount of luck (for the Cowboys), the ball bounced right back into Prescott’s hands and he was able to gain another first down on the play. On the very next play Bouye was lined up against Michael Gallup again and Prescott was able to squeeze the ball in between Bouye and strong safety Barry Church for what looked like a touchdown. After the review it was ruled that Gallup didn’t get both feet down in bounds, but it was obvious that Bouye (and Church) could have had tighter coverage on the play. It looked there was a miscommunication on the back end, but it ended up not costing the Jaguars, this time. On the very next play, after faking a hand off to Zeke Ellitot, who did Dak Prescott run by for the Cowboys first TD of the day? You guessed it. AJ Bouye couldn’t get off a block in time to make a play on Dak Prescott as he glided into the end zone with ease. It would have been a tough play for any cornerback to make, but it would be nice for a player of his caliber to at least get a hand on the man to slow him down.
On the fourth drive for the Cowboys a Dak Prescott incompletion was negated by an AJ Bouye holding call in coverage against Cole Beasley. He slipped early on in the route and had no chance to recover.
After that Bouye’s play improved, but the damage was already done. In total he allowed five catches on seven targets and his poor play early on was the catalyst for two scoring drives by the Cowboys. Of course Bouye wasn’t the only one to blame for the Jaguars ugly defensive showing. There were miscommunications and busted coverages all over the field on Sunday, but it’s hard to imagine things going so haywire had the Jaguars not surrendered 10 points on the Cowboys first two drives. And they certainly wouldn't have given up those 10 points had it not been for such a lousy start to the game for 2018 second team All-Pro cornerback AJ Bouye.
After the Cowboys went up 10-0 early on it looked like the Jaguars defense was completely lost for the rest of the contest. They ended up surrendering 40 points on the day, the most in any contest this season by a Jaguars opponent.
AJ Bouye is a true professional in every sense of the word. No one works harder at their craft. I’m sure he’ll rebound strongly against the Texans, his former team, this Sunday at Everbank Field. He and the rest of the Jaguars defense will need to get things going or the noise will get much louder surrounding this football team.
And yes, of course, AJ is still my Bouye.
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