Jaguars frustrated about disappointing special teams performance in Week 6 loss

Jaguars QB Blake Bortles discusses the offense's struggles

The Jaguars' two biggest errors during Sunday's 27-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams came on special teams.

The mistakes stood out like a sore thumb (or two).

The Jaguars allowed the Rams to return the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Later in the first half, Los Angeles blocked a Jaguars punt and recovered the ball for a touchdown. 

The two busted plays led to 14 points for the Rams. Los Angeles won by a total of 10 points.

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In a post-game press conference, Rams head coach Sean McVay told reporters that those two plays won the game for Los Angeles.

Based on the response in the Jaguars' locker room, the losing team probably agrees with him.

"It's frustrating, we're losing," safety Peyton Thompson said. "It's points that take away from the team."

Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said the effort on special teams was disappointing. 

"For myself, we’ve given up things before that have hurt us, but it’s like when you look at us, we can’t afford to give up those plays, you guys know that, with the type of style and the way we want to play," Marrone said. "We give those plays up we’ve got to find a way to make it up, and sometimes it’s very difficult for us. It’s just tough."

Second-year safety Jarrod Wilson shouldered the blame for the 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. He said it was his fault Rams wide receiver Pharoh Cooper was able to go the length of the field.

"Yeah, I missed that, I'll full responsibility for that," Wilson said after the game. "I'm going to take full responsibility for that, I missed that tackle, that's one I've made plenty of times. In space or not, I've got to make that [tackle]."

The punt block for a touchdown will remain a mystery to the Jaguars' locker room until the team watches film Monday. Punter Brad Nortman wasn't sure how a blocker came free from the blocking scheme.

"On the block, I'm not sure what happened," Nortman said. "I'm kind of back there in my own world, so I don't know someone is close to me until he's on me, so I don't know what happened with the block schematically."

Nortman wasn't happy with his overall performance, which included a 16-yard punt that set up the Rams for a 56-yard field goal in the second quarter. He and fellow specialist, kicker Jason Myers, had quite a few lumps on Sunday.

Myers ended up missing two 54-yard field goal attempts. He also missed a 41-yard attempt that didn't count because of an illegal formation penalty. In the stat sheet, Myers was 1-of-3 on field goals.

For what it's worth, Marrone never lost confidence in his kicker, allowing him to attempt his second 54-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the game.

"I put him out there for another long field goal," Marrone said. "I was just going to put him out there and my whole thing was make the field goal, get the onside kick, which he worked on a ton and have enough time to go out there and score. So my confidence in him at that point was fine. Obviously, we’ll need to see where he’s at.”

The Jaguars will need to bounce back in the game's third phase moving forward. This game clearly indicated how important special teams is for a team that wants to run the football and control the clock.

Marrone believes this was a team loss. He is looking forward to a turnaround in the coming weeks.

"I still like this team," Marrone said. "I know the direction that we want to go, which is important. I told the players that. We lost this game as a team. We had the ability to come back into it, as difficult as it may seem or what the analytics and all the other stuff may say, but at the end of the day, it’s the sixth game of the season. There’s ten games left."

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

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