Jaguars vs. Chargers, 10 Observations: Fournette struggles for once, change at kicker working out

The Jaguars secured their third-straight victory Sunday with a 20-17 overtime win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Jaguars have been breaking negative streaks all season under Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone. It's fitting that the team has now established some positive progressions, as well.

The Jaguars couldn't win at EverBank Field prior to last week. The team has now won two-straight games on their home turf.

Jacksonville couldn't handle the Chargers or quarterback Philip Rivers for years. The group managed to tame both when it mattered the most this weekend.

Here are 10 observations following the Jaguars' 20-17 win over the Chargers:

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1. Fournette is human

Are you sitting down? I need to tell you something: Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette is a human being.

Hobbled and playing behind a makeshift offensive line, Fournette struggled against the Chargers.

Fournette carried the ball 17 times for 33 yards (1.9 yards per carry). He also caught two passes for 13 yards.

Fournette failed to find the end zone for the first time this season. He had 19 touches but failed to make them count. 

Marrone said after the game that Fournette was "limping a little bit," so perhaps there's more to excuse about the performance.

Still, it's important to realize Fournette is a rookie and he will have bad games. His fellow running backs, T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory, failed to break out, as well. 

2. Bortles is more up than down but late play will be the focus

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter and was largely ineffective in crunch time.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's also acknowledge that Bortles kept the Jaguars in the game throughout the first three quarters.

Bortles was abused by the Chargers' defensive line throughout the contest, his running game was a shell of itself and his offensive line was missing its most reliable lineman.

With all of that under consideration, Bortles frequently evaded opposing linemen to avoid sacks, launched some impressive downfield throws and spread the ball around consistently.

Bortles' best work took place during a third-quarter touchdown drive that featured only passing plays. He completed seven passes for 84 yards and a touchdown on the series. He also converted a much-needed two-point conversion. His throw on the run to wide receiver Marqise Lee was an impressive play for any quarterback.

Eventually, after taking a beating throughout the first three quarters, Bortles regressed. He had a few overthrows and made a very poor decision on the second of his two interceptions. 

Bortles can't be excused due to the added physicality or lack of talent around him. However, when you consider what he was able to do in the first three quarters without much in the way of positive assets, you can't just throw this one away as an awful performance.

Bortles is typically "all or nothing." On Sunday, he was a mix. That may not be the worthwhile growth that some are looking for and understandably so.

Bortles is a polarizing player. There's still plenty of time to evaluate him.

Looking at his work during the three-game winning streak, it's hard to dismiss his contributions.

3. The Lambo "leap of faith" has paid off

The Jaguars were extremely patient with former kicker Jason Myers. When they made the decision to replace him, there wasn't a ton of talent left on the market.

Josh Lambo was added but his fanfare was tamed due to his relatively similar outlook to Myers. Over the last three games, Lambo has shown he can hold his own and the Jaguars' gamble on Myers' replacement has paid off.

Lambo tied the game with a 34-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter. He then won the game on a 30-yard attempt.

Last week, he made a 56-yard field goal. He also can rock a fedora like a hipster Indiana Jones.

So far, so good for the former professional soccer player.

4. Hurns' birthday offers a mixed bag

Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns has been labeled "Mr. Consistent" by his coaching staff. While he hasn't been as production-heavy as in past seasons, Hurns has become a reliable chain-mover for Bortles. He led the team with seven catches for 70 yards on his birthday Sunday.

He also made a smart move to limp to the sideline late in the game as opposed to staying on the ground and losing 10 seconds on the clock after he injured his right leg. 

Hurns left the building on crutches with a walking boot wrapped around his leg. The Jaguars will update his status on Monday.

5. Lee starting to become "the guy"

Over the last four games, Marqise Lee has caught 23 passes for 285 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He also caught a very important two-point conversion pass in the third quarter against the Chargers.

Lee may not be the ideal No. 1 guy but he has done a good job of filling the void left by Allen Robinson as of late. 

6. Return of the penalties in bunches

There were some self-inflicted penalty wounds on Sunday. 

Lee's taunting penalty in the fourth quarter was utterly ridiculous. Lee thought he drew an unnecessary roughness penalty on the defense because a flag was dropped. The referees picked up the flag and still penalized Lee for celebrating that he drew the "penalty" on the Chargers. It made little sense.

Still, the Jaguars were called for nine penalties overall for 109 yards. Cornerback Aaron Colvin was also called for a taunting penalty during the overtime interception by cornerback A.J. Bouye. The flag made the Lambo field goal attempt way more difficult than it needed to be.

7. Bouye makes biggest play as a Jaguar

Bouye signed a five-year, $67.5 million deal in March. That's a big contract to live up to.

On Sunday, Bouye helped curb a long-time curse. The Jaguars had lost six-straight to the Chargers. Rivers had produced 19-straight touchdowns without an interception against the Jaguars entering overtime.

Bouye essentially wiped away both of those issues with his overtime interception. It put the Jaguars in position to win the game.

8. The offensive line did the best it could

The Jaguars' offensive line didn't do much in the running game without right tackle Jermey Parnell.

The group also allowed Bortles to get hit nine times. The quarterback was sacked three times.

The Jaguars gave the line help and also made an adjustment after halftime. Starting left guard Patrick Omameh, who struggled with a knee injury this week, was benched for backup Tyler Shatley. The move eventually paid off during Bortles' passing touchdown drive in the third quarter.

It wasn't a great performance for the group, but they did what they could against a fierce pass rush that featured Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. 

9. The Jaguars' pass rush finally gets shut out

The Jaguars' pass rush has been dominant this season. The group came into Week 10 with a large league lead in sacks.

Against the Chargers, the group was shut out.

On the bright side, the defense hit Rivers five times and allowed just 87 rushing yards. 

10. The Jaguars face a winless team next week

The Jaguars will play the worst team in the league on the road next week. They can't lose sight or look ahead to future matchups.

The road trip to play the Cleveland Browns (0-9) has "trap game" written all over it. This three-game winning streak will mean very little if the Jaguars can't take care of the lowly Browns.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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