Who would have called a 21-24 loss to the Texans this week (P.S. I did in the Bold Predictions - just a little shameless plug). However, this was an incredibly predictable loss that followed the normal Jags pattern: good defense paired with offensive TOs and a failing run game. Some fans are mad, some are disappointed, but I’ve honestly just come to accept that this is the 2016 Jaguars. The best way to avoid the sadness that this team inevitably brings is to stop expecting wins and improvement and just recognize the team for what it is. Before I start, I will say that I didn’t get to study this game in detail like I usually do, so my thoughts are going to be more team-focused and less player-specific. With all that said, let’s do this.
Stud of the Week: Pass Defense
The Texans had 283 total yards of offense, which is a pretty poor number by itself, but they also had an insane 181 rushing yards on the day. Do some math and you realize that their offense had 92 passing yards total. Brock Osweiler (99 passing yards on 14/27 passing) is not good, but holding a QB to these kinds of stats is still impressive. DeAndre Hopkins, one of the best receivers in the league, had almost half of their yards and 5 of the 14 Houston receptions. Overall, the unit looked pretty good, but the defense’s inability to stop the run destroyed any chance they had of carrying the game. It is cool to see a Jaguars defense go out and dominate a game like the pass defense did today, I just wish it would be in a season where our offense was relevant.
Dud of the Week: Run Game
After having a nice week against the Chiefs last week, the Jaguars run game fell back to earth (or hell or wherever our run game normally is). Chris Ivory and TJ Yeldon combined for 63 yards on 18 carries in a game where the Texans had 101 more rushing yards than the Jags. This game was actually pretty typical of our run game, which averages 88 yards per game (26th in the NFL). I don’t know how we plan to ever have a balanced offense if we run the ball like a high school football team week in and week out. Reddit will tell you that us not having a fullback is what’s hurting us, but that’s not what’s hurting us. The offensive line is not great at run blocking and our run game isn’t diverse enough to make up for that lack of talent. This problem probably isn’t going to be fixed, so gear up guys, it’s going to be a long rest of the season.
Biggest Conundrum: Blake Bortles
On paper, this game wasn’t bad for Bortles. Then again, most games last year weren’t bad for him either, despite his obvious flaws. It was weird to see us actually in a game in the 3rd quarter, but it still felt like we were trying to give the game away. This is just the Blake Bortles Conundrum- when do stats and flashes stop mattering? Gus Bradley is a huge problem for the team, but so is Bortles (although not necessarily evident by this game alone). He has to show some improvement this season for me to ever get back on the Blake Bus, either in his mechanics or his decision-making. The franchise has put its faith in Bortles; it’s time to see if Bortles can show us that it was worth it.
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