JAGUARS FALL TO SAINTS: FIVE THINGS
In a game that the Jaguars desperately needed to win to keep pace with the Texans and Colts in the highly competitive AFC South, Gardner Minshew, and the offense couldn't get things going. In front of a raucous home crowd, the Jaguars fell to 2-4 on the season.
Where was Minshew's magic?
Yes, Gardner Minshew fell back to earth after a truly stunning start to his young career. Minshew didn't look comfortable in the pocket and missed a lot of throws that he usually makes. The Jaguars' receivers struggled to create the type of separation that we've regularly seen in 2019. It's not time to panic on Minshew. He had a down day and will have an opportunity to rebound next week against a below-average Bengals' defense.
The defense isn't to blame.
If you told yourself before this game that the Jaguars would hold the Saints to just 13 points, you would have been ecstatic. The defense got the job done against a high powered Saints offense. Were there a few frustrating missed assignments that led to first downs? Yes. This is the modern NFL, and that's bound to happen . . . especially when you face a Sean Payton coached team. The Jags' defense held the Saints to 5-13 on third downs and gave up only one touchdown, despite being put in unfavorable situations throughout the game.
The Saints are incredibly talented at every level.
The Saints and are well-coached, and they might be the most talented team in the NFL. On defense, they have legit talent on all three levels. On the offensive side of the ball, they've got Michael Thomas, the speedy Ted Ginn, Alvin Kamara, Jared Cook, and a strong offensive line. The Jaguars went toe-to-toe with a team that hasn't lost since week two. Jacksonville needed a win, but a season-killer this is not.
Tight end injuries are mounting.
The Jaguars desperately need Josh Oliver to play. James O'Shaughnessy was placed on IR after suffering a torn ACL against the Panthers. Geoff Swaim got knocked out of the game yesterday after a devastating helmet-to-helmet hit. He'll likely be in the concussion protocol and may not be available next week. Did I mention the Jaguars need Josh Oliver on the field? The rookie tight end has been practicing with the team for two weeks, albeit in a limited capacity. Hopefully, he'll be ready to go in week seven.
The inconsistent nature of NFL officiating, particularly when it comes to pass interference calls, has been vexing. Coaches are allowed to challenge pass interference calls now, but officials are refusing to overturn the ruling on the field. It almost appears as if NFL referees are rebelling against the coach's ability to challenge that type of play. Doug Marrone challenged a play in which a Saints defender clearly interfered with Chris Conley — it was an obvious call — but even when it was clear that the defensive back arrived early, the officials refused to overturn the ruling on the field. The Saints' defenders were handsy all day, and I don't believe the game was called consistently. I'm not one to complain about officiating, but this was egregious.
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