The Jaguars fell to the Cowboys by a final score of 40-7 on Sunday in what was the worst loss of the Doug Marrone era. Here's my top five observations from this one.
1. This was a TEAM loss
In many of the Jaguars losses since Doug Marrone took over as the head coach with two games left in the 2016 season the Jaguars offense was clearly the issue. In this one the Jaguars offense obviously was at fault, but they weren't the only unit at fault in this loss. The Jaguars defense was flat out bad in this one. They allowed a Cowboys team that was statistically one of the worst offenses in football to do anything they wanted for nearly the entire contest. From the players on offense and defense to the coaching staff and everyone else involved this was the definition of a team loss. I haven't said or written those words very many times since 2016, but they could not be truer after this one.
2. Why isn't TJ Yeldon getting the ball more?
Jaguars backup running back TJ Yeldon has been by far the team's best offensive weapon in 2018. He's started four games for the injured Leonard Fournette and as a starter has been tremendous. In games he's started Yeldon has averaged 5.6 yards per carry and has been excellent as a receiver out of the backfield. So why isn't he getting more touches. On Sunday he touched the ball just 11 times, rushing eight times for 41 yards an adding three receptions for another 29 yards. Putting the game solely in the hands of Blake Bortles when facing a deficit is not working for the Jaguars. This team needs to feature TJ Yeldon until Leonard Fournette returns.
3. The injury bug continues to hit the Jaguars
The Jaguars lost two more key contributors on Sunday. Return specialist Jaydon Mickens sustained a fractured ankle an will miss four to six weeks. Niles Paul - the team's top tight end after Austin Seferian-Jenkins was placed on IR - suffered a sprained MCL. He'll undergo an MRI Monday at which point the team will determine the severity of the injury. The Jaguars can't catch a break when it comes to injuries in 2018.
4. The offensive ineptitude is brining down the entire team
Like I stated earlier this was a team loss. But I believe the lack of success on offense is hindering the defense from being able to stay fresh and focused throughout ball games. The Jaguars offense held the ball for just over 21 minutes against the Cowboys a week after holding the ball for 27 minutes in a loss to the Chiefs. The defense will never admit it, but it's got to be difficult to know that you have to be perfect because your offense can't put points on the board. Outside of wins against New England and New York (Jets) the Jaguars are averaging less than 15 points per game.
5. Don't overreact
Yes, the Jaguars have lost two straight games and three out of four. Yes, things look really ugly right now. No, the season is not over for the Jaguars.
Many around the Jaguars are claiming that the defense is missing something. They certainly were on Sunday against the Cowboys. But outside of that terrible performance the Jaguars defense has been everything you could ask for. In the rest of their games this season they've allowed point totals of 15 (Giants), 20 (Patriots), 9 (Titans), 12 (Jets), 23 (Chiefs). Before you write the Jaguars off let's see if this defense can get back on track against the Texans.
The Jaguars are still tied for first place in their division and will be able to remain atop the AFC South with a win against Houston on Sunday. Things don't look great right now, but this is a long season and a prideful bunch.
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