1. Blake Bortles was bad
It appears that the regression we saw last week from third year QB Blake Bortles was real. I'm no expert on QB mechanics, but the ball is dropping really low in his wind up and his footwork has gotten sloppy. When Bortles entered the NFL he worked tirelessly on improving his throwing mechanics. It appears that the huge strides he made in that department in year two have completely been lost in year three as he has reverted back to his old ways. This caused him to miss several open receivers against the Ravens. Beyond the mechanics, the decision making just doesn't seem to be there for Bortles. He forced the ball on several occasions Sunday, and in the most crucial of situations at the end of the fourth quarter he couldn't get out of his own way. He even got sacked when he was out of the pocket and could easily have thrown the ball away to stop the clock and give the Jaguars a real chance at a game winning field goal. Instead he took a sack, a sack that kept the clock moving, and kept Jaguars fans from feeling the joy of victory for a third straight week. While his completion percentage has improved just a hair in every game so far this season, his overall decision making has not. After a pretty impressive game against the Packers where he threw just 1 interception, Bortles then went to San Diego and threw 2 more interceptions, and then against the Ravens Bortles threw 3 of them (should have been at least 4), 2 of which came in game defining situations at the end of the 4th quarter. We'll see if this a true regression by Bortles or just a slump to start the season. If it's the latter of the two then the Jaguars will be just fine moving forward, if it's the former -- well let's just hope it's not.
2. Penalties and dumb mistakes are killing the Jaguars
Certainly some of Bortles decisions over the past two weeks would fall under the dumb mistake category, but we've already touched on that. In this one the Jaguars only had seven penalties, not a terrible number by any stretch of the imagination, especially compared to how many they've made over the last several weeks, but they came in such terrible situations in this one. A blow to the head of the quarterback to extend a drive, an unnecessary roughness penalty, a penalty for leverage on a missed kick that lead to three points -- all of these dumb mistakes lead to Baltimore points. The Jaguars are about as undisciplined as can be right now, and it's tough to watch.
3. Allen Robinson shows signs of life
No, Robinson didn't break the 100 yard mark for the first time this season, but he did provide two TDs to a Jaguars team that is struggling to find the end zone and a reliable target for Blake Bortles in key situations. He hauled in 7 catches for 52 yards and the two TDs. He was clearly the best player on the Jaguars offense. Robinson will need to continue finding the end zone for this Jaguars offense to be successful, but it wouldn't hurt for him to rack up some more yards in the process. Chunk plays were a key to the Jaguars and Robinson's success on offense in 2015, but they just don't seem to be there for the team in 2016.
4. The defense played very well
The Jaguars defense gave up less than 200 yards passing and less than 100 yards rushing, plus they gave up only one offensive TD. 90% of the time those numbers get you a victory. They recorded two sacks and a forced fumble and were able to create 3 turnovers. All 3 of which came in the 4th quarter and all 3 of which should have helped the offense salt the game away. But the Jaguars offense did nothing too help their own cause. The Ravens aren't a top notch offense by any stretch of the imagination, but for the Jaguars defense to play as well as it did just a week after being embarrassed by the Chargers, it really showed some mental fortitude and heart. Look for this young unit to keep improving as the season moves along.
5. Newcomers are making an impact
The Jaguars have a lot of new faces on both sides of the field and they're starting to make an impact. On offense, Marqise Lee is a new face -- yes, he's been in Jacksonville for three years, but seeing him compete with out having an injury set back has been nice. He made two big plays to start the second half that helped the Jaguars out immensely in this one. Chris Ivory made his debut as a Jaguar and while the results weren't what you want to see in terms of yards per carry, he did look explosive and was able to turn several would be tackles for a loss into short gains. On the other side of the ball is where the big impact plays happened on Sunday. Yannick Ngakoue recorded a strip sack for the second straight week. Malik Jackson found his first sack of 2016 and hit to Joe Flacco three times. Jalen Ramsey was all over the field and had a couple of tipped passes, one of which lead to an interception by another newcomer Tashaun Gipson. With all these new faces making big plays for the Jaguars defense it sure seems like the strength of this team could be built around a young defense moving forward.
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