Jaguars vs. Jets, 10 Observations: Poor run defense, offensive blunders lead to Jacksonville loss

The Jaguars failed to win back-to-back games for the second time this season, as Jacksonville was bested in overtime by the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium Sunday.

While the game did go to overtime, the momentum seemed to be in the Jets' favor from the second quarter until the final whistle blew. Some blunders on both sides kept the game close, but ultimately, the Jaguars relented during the extended period.

There's a lot to talk about following the Jaguars' 23-20 loss to the Jets, so let's get to it.

1. When the Jaguars can't stop the run, they are in trouble

Both of the Jaguars' losses have come against teams with strong running games. Jets running backs Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire combined for 256 rushing yards and two touchdowns against the Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. They posted three runs of 30 or more yards and frequently moved the chains. 

Powell was particularly hard to stop, as he produced 163 rushing yards and a touchdown. While you could argue his 75-yard touchdown in the first quarter was a bit of a fluke, he consistently ran free against the Jaguars' defense. 

Powell's shiftiness was an issue for the Jaguars' front seven, as the group missed several tackles against the back. 

The defense's strength last season was the run defense. This year's unit thrives with the pass defense. The group needs to find success in both areas to be considered an elite unit.

2. Lee's only notable plays have been blunders

The Jaguars felt like Marqise Lee could fill some of the void left by fellow wide receiver Allen Robinson. Through four games, Lee has just 13 catches for 159 receiving yards. He also has four drops. 

Against the Jets, he dropped a key third-down pass, which would have produced a first down. As a punt returner, he muffed a catch, which forced the ball deeper into Jacksonville territory in overtime. He was able to recover the fumble, but the blunder pinned the Jaguars deep. 

Those two negative plays were instrumental in the Jaguars' loss. Moving forward, the Jaguars may not have that much trust in Lee, who is in a contract year. This loss highlighted some clear deficiencies for the young receiver.

3. Bortles starts fast, but slows down mightily after first score

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles completed 4-of-5 passes for 42 yards and a touchdown on his first offensive series. The young quarterback led an impeccable drive, which was capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass to running back Leonard Fournette (more on him later). 

Following the scoring drive, Bortles' production fell off. He overthrew a few targets, had three passes batted down by Jets defensive end Kony Ealy and was intercepted deep in his own territory. This looked a little too close to Bortles' performances in 2016.

He didn't give away the game, but he certainly wasn't much help throughout. If Myles Jack didn't return a backward pass for a touchdown, Bortles and the Jaguars probably would have been blown out. Bortles led three scoring drives, but only the first one was really manufactured by him.

This will be a good test for the young quarterback who has offered more positive than negative this season. He has been hit in the mouth, let's see how he responds.

4. Math may not help Myers' future in Jacksonville

The Jaguars lost by three points. Jason Myers missed a long field goal Sunday.

Myers hadn't missed a field goal since Week 1, so he probably gets a pass on the failed 52-yard attempt.

However, the team has worked out several kickers over the last few weeks and Myers never seems to go for a long stretch without a miss. 

Still, Myers has been successful on 9-of-11 field goal attempts this season.

It's worth noting Jets kicker Chandler Catanzaro missed a 41-yard field goal attempt as well.

5. Fournette is the Jaguars' offense

While he was taken off the field during some questionable moments, Fournette was easily the most prominent offensive player against the Jets. He produced 145 total yards and a receiving touchdown in the game. 

Fournette frequently picked up extra yardage after contact and consistently moved the chains. He received 29 touches on Sunday, but that may not have been enough.

The rookie had a second (game-winning!) touchdown reception called back on a holding penalty in the fourth quarter. 

DOWNLOAD: The free First Coast Football App for stats, scores, analysis, stories and more

6. The Jaguars have fewer penalties, but flags are still costly

As previously mentioned, an offensive holding penalty by wide receiver Arrelious Benn wiped out what would have probably been a game-winning touchdown reception for Fournette in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars were forced to settle for a field goal and tied the game instead.

In overtime, middle linebacker Paul Posluszny was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty following a punt return for the Jets. The return by Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley only picked up seven yards but that was enough to get New York to mid-field.

Posluszny's penalty moved the ball 15 yards upfield. He was penalized for yelling at Jets rookie linebacker Dylan Donahue while he was on the ground. It looked like Donahue hit Posluszny with a blindside block before both went down out-of-bounds. Donahue wasn't flagged for a penalty.

The moved-up spot was well within Catanzaro's field goal range. After a few plays, Catanzaro made a game-winning field goal.

The Jaguars were only flagged for six penalties for 47 yards. However, those two penalties were game-breakers for Jacksonville.

7. The Jaguars' pass rush is still very good

While the run-stopping prowess is worth questioning, the Jaguars' pass rush is clearly impressive. The Jaguars' defense sacked Jets quarterback Josh McCown five times Sunday. 

Second-year defensive end Yannick Ngakoue was responsible for two sacks and a forced fumble. Veteran lineman Calais Campbell produced his fifth sack of the season. Fellow defensive end Dante Fowler and safety Barry Church also provided individual sacks.

Campbell continues to dominate opposing offensive linemen. More importantly, Ngakoue and Fowler continue to develop into consistent pass rushers. The young pair has combined for seven sacks and five forced fumbles in four games.

The Jaguars lead the league with 18 sacks in four games, which is also a franchise record.

8. Nortman had a great day

Along with some self-inflicted wounds from the Jets, the Jaguars' punting unit kept Jacksonville in the game. 

Punter Brad Nortman punted eight times with five of the attempts being downed within the Jets' 20-yard line. He pinned the Jets deep in their own territory twice in overtime. That field position forced the Jets to punt after both possessions.

Nortman probably deserves a bit more credit than he gets week in and week out.

9. After big performance in Week 3, Jaguars tight ends shut out by Jets

The Jaguars got 62 yards and three touchdowns out of tight end Marcedes Lewis in London. In New Jersey, he failed to catch a pass. His fellow tight ends failed to get involved in the receiving game as well.

The lack of tight end production hurt the Jaguars' offense.

10. The Jaguars need to respond to this loss

The Jaguars played in their first close game of the season and lost. Now it's time to adjust based on what they saw from their performance.

Everything didn't go right this time. Everything didn't go wrong either. This should be an easier (and more realistic) evaluation than in the previous three weeks.

The Jaguars will head to Pittsburgh next week to take on the Steelers. Jacksonville is 2-2 and needs a win.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment