The Jaguars were torched by Philip Rivers for the 5th time in his illustrious career. He has made it a habit of being at his best when facing the Jaguars — of course the Jaguars pass defense did not put up much of a fight, as has been the case for much of the 2015 season. With the loss, the Jaguars fall to 4-7, and are now on the outside looking in, as to the AFC playoff picture. It is becoming more and more clear what the Jaguars’ two main weaknesses are – with one of them being the abysmal pass defense. The lack of pressure on the quarterback combined with the subpar secondary play has doomed the Jaguars’ season. The Jaguars’ pass defense ranks near the bottom of the league in most statistical categories. It is now abundantly clear that the Jaguars will need to draft another pass rusher and maybe a cornerback and safety, depending on what GM Dave Caldwell elects to do in free agency.
The second major weakness for this team is the inability to score touchdowns once they reach the red zone. The Jaguars have scored touchdowns on just over 40% of their red zone opportunities this year, putting them at 30th in the NFL. Part of the problem there is youth -- especially at quarterback -- but the biggest issue is play calling. Far too often, back up running backs enter the game close to the goal line and T.J. Yeldon isn't given the opportunity to punch the ball in. In addition to the odd running situation, it also seems that the Jaguars aren't throwing it up to the talented pass catchers, Allen Robinson and Julius Thomas, when they approach the goal line. Sure, they have both made their fare share of plays to score touchdowns, but they should be the focal points of the offense in the red zone.
Now that we have discussed areas of weakness, it is only fair to discuss the Jaguars’ bright spots as well. Blake Bortles is only one to two games away from breaking the Jaguars’ season record for passing touchdowns, as he has 22 and the record stands at 24. He continues to put the Jags’ offense in position to score points, which leads to our next bright spot.
Jason Myers is finally looking like an NFL kicker, for the most part. He has now made 15 of his last 16 field goal attempts, including several from 50+. He has missed a couple of extra points over the last several weeks, which will be a focal point for him moving forward. He has been the Jaguars’ main source of points every game for the entire month of November, and is gaining the trust of his teammates and fans alike.
We would be remiss if we did not mention what looked to be a devastating injury to fan favorite, Allen Hurns. He was carted off the field, but fortunately for him and the Jaguars he only suffered a concussion.
Despite being 4-7 and having their chances at the playoffs greatly diminished in a loss to the woeful Chargers, there is still reason for hope and optimism moving forward. Three of the Jaguars’ final 5 games are against division opponents and if they can somehow win those 3 games and grab another win against Atlanta or New Orleans, then they could sneak into the playoffs. Even if this team doesn't make the playoffs it’s not the end of the world. They are extremely young and have already come a long way this season. Get excited, the future is bright!
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