In what was a thoroughly painful game to watch, the Jaguars fell to their division rivals, the Titans, for a third straight time in a 9-6 defensive slugfest. This was by far the worst performance the Jaguars have had since . . . the last time they played Tennessee, a game in which the Big Cats lost 15-10.
Let's take a look at what went wrong in Jacksonville as the Titans ended the Jaguars seven game home winning streak.
1. The Passing Game
The Jaguars passing game delivered one of the worst performances I've ever seen. Blake Bortles completed 21 of 34 attempts. Six of his incompletions were just awful throws. Three more incompletions came on drops, and three more on deflected passes. There was a lack of continuity and execution against a Titans pass defense that didn't do anything special to slow down the Jaguars. The Jaguars need to throw this game away and move on. I don't think there's too much to gain from studying this film for an extended period of time. It was ugly. Bortles was bad, the receivers struggled and the offensive line let up a ton of pressure in the second half.
2. Untimely Penalties
The Jaguars committed eight penalties in this one for 75 yards. The Titans had 232 yards of total offense (only three more than the Jaguars), but were greatly aided on both sides of the ball by Jaguars penalties. A false start on the Jaguars second drive slowed the offenses momentum after two first downs and the drive stalled. Later in the first quarter a Malik Jackon personal foul on a successful third down play by the Jaguars defense extended a drive for the Titans that ultimately ended up netting the Titans a field goal. Penalties like this continued throughout the game and cost the Jaguars big in a tightly contested divisional matchup.
3. Marcus Mariota's legs and clutch play
DO NOT GET ME WRONG - The Jaguars defense played a fantastic game overall. Anytime your defense allows just nine points in a game, you should win easily.
Having said that, the Jaguars defense didn't have an answer for Marcus Mariota's rushing ability from the QB position. He ran the ball 10 times for 60 yards. He continually extended Titans drives with his legs. He struggled to complete passes early on, but in the second half Mariota established a strong connection with his receivers, completing 12 of his last 14 attempts.
Mariota was better than BB5 in this one by a long shot and he got the job done when it mattered most.
4. No defensive turnovers
The Jaguars, as a team, are reliant upon their defenses ability to create turnovers and either score themselves or set the offense up with favorable field position. In this one the Jaguars defense didn't force a single turnover. That's not a recipe for success for this club.
This is the type of game the Jaguars need to move on from quickly. They host the Jets next, another squad that bested them in 2017. The Jaguars are now in a tight division race in the AFC South. They're tied at the top with Titans (who currently own the tie breaker), while the Colts are just one game back. The Texans have failed to win a game in 2018 and are reeling.
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