The Jaguars fell for the second straight week on Sunday, losing to the Broncos 23-13 in front of the hometown fans.
Hot Start, Cold Finish
The Jaguars roared out to a 7-0 lead after a masterful 84-yard opening drive that saw Trevor Lawrence find veteran receiver Marvin Jones streaking down the right side of the field for a 25-yard score. After that, the Jaguars' offense sputtered, failing to surpass 200 total yards against the Broncos' defense. The Jaguars averaged just 3.8 yards per play on offense and failed to score another offensive point after the first drive of the game.
No Offensive Balance/Lawrence Struggles
The Jaguars again forgot that they have a Pro-Bowl caliber running back in the backfield with Trevor Lawrence. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell called only 14 designed runs, despite being locked in a close game for much of the day. James Robinson again looked good on the ground, averaging 4.7 yards per carry on 11 rushes. Why do the Jaguars refuse to help Trevor Lawrence out with the rushing attack? I'm not sure, but they'll need to fix their balance issues; otherwise, the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft will continue to have rough outings. He completed just 14/33 attempts with only one touchdown and two interceptions. Trevor has ways to go in his NFL development — helping him with a quality run game is seemingly an obvious answer here. I'm not sure Darrell Bevell studied for this one.
Josh Lambo is struggling mightily for the Jaguars. Since his 2020 hip injury, he hasn't looked like the same kicker. He's still got plenty of fire and grit, but his leg isn't getting the job done. He made his lone extra-point attempt on the day but missed field goal attempts from 52 and 48 yards out. He's now missed all three of his field goal tries in 2021. None of them have been gimmes, but he's got to work his way through this, or he'll be looking for a new home. I'm pulling for a guy who has done a ton in the community and was the most accurate kicker in football from the time he joined the Jaguars until his 2020 injury.
Pass Rush Lives
The Jaguars' pass rush was active in the season opener, registering 24 pressures on Tyrod Taylor, but they struggled to get the athletic veteran QB to the ground in week one. Week two was a different story. Led by veteran DE Dawuane Smoot, the Jaguars racked up 21 pressures, 8 QB hits, and three sacks against the Broncos and Teddy Bridgewater. Star pass rusher Josh Allen picked up his second sack of the year and is on track to have another Pro-Bowl caliber season. Safety Andrew Wingard also joined the sack party on a well-executed blitz.
Strong Run Defense
The Jaguars' run defense was impressive for the second consecutive week. After allowing just 3.2 yards per carry to opposing running backs in week one, the Jaguars' run defense was again up to snuff. Against the Broncos, the Jaguars gave up just 96 yards on 3.2 yards per carry on the day. Rookie RB Javonte Williams was impressive for Denver, but the Jaguars held veteran Melvin Gordon to just 2.4 yards per carry on 13 carries.
Secondary in Trouble
The Jacksonville secondary is struggling to keep up through two games. They allowed Teddy Bridgewater to complete 26/34 throws for 328 yards and two touchdowns. While rookie Tyson Campbell showed improvement, allowing only four of seven targets in primary coverage to be completed, and picking up a PBU, the rest of his secondary mates struggled. Shaq Griffin was devastatingly close to picking up an interception in the second quarter — the second time this year he couldn't haul in a would-be game-changing turnover — and couldn't find his footing after. He and the Jaguars' second starter on the outside, CJ Henderson, combined to allow six completions on eight targets. Henderson surrendered a touchdown pass too.
Through the majority of two games and throughout the entire preseason, we hadn't seen the special teams value that return specialist Jamal Agnew was bringing to Jacksonville. Of course, he hadn't been afforded many opportunities to show his worth. That all changed in the fourth quarter of week two. The former All-Pro returner electrified what remained of the crowd at TIAA Bank Field on a 102-yard kick return touchdown. He made four Broncos' whiff some nifty footwork and was then off to the races, and he received some help from linebacker Chapelle Russell, who blocked the final obstacle on Agnew's way to the end zone. Having a special returner helps good teams become great. Unfortunately, Agnew's efforts didn't contribute to a win for the lowly Jags, who are most certainly not a good team.
Jaguars' tight end James O'Shaughnessy left the game with an ankle injury. Cornerback Tyson Campbell suffered a hip injury. And right guard AJ Cann tweaked his hamstring.
After the contest, Jaguars' first-year head coach Urban Meyer begged fans to stick with the team.
"I just want to thank our Jaguar fans. It's been a long haul in Jacksonville," said Meyer. "But we appreciate them being here, and we have a saying around here, we're going to own it, and we are going to own it, but I speak on behalf of our players that that was good. We go up 7-3 or 7-0 and they're standing behind our defense, helped our defense, and from myself, our staff and our players, thanks for being there. Don't give up on us. Hang in there with us. We're going to get better. The one thing about Jacksonville and the 904, go to sleep knowing there's not going to be any group work harder to get this thing flipped."
The Jaguars host the undefeated Cardinals and their electric QB Kyler Murray in week three.
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