It doesn’t matter where they play their home games. Through eight weeks, what matters in the grand scheme of things is they can still be called the winless Jaguars.
As was the case a week earlier in their loss to the San Diego Chargers, the Jaguars dug themselves a 14-0 hole in the early going against the San Francisco 49ers. Had this been taking place at EverBank Field, it might have been grounds for grumbling in the stands.
But since this was the first of four home games the Jaguars will play at Wembley Stadium over the next four seasons, there was no early rush to the exits or donning of paper bags over heads.
How many more steps backward can this team continue to take?
Here are five observations from the 42-10 drubbing which extended the Jaguars’ streak of double-digit defeats to begin the season:
1. For all the problems the Jaguars are having on offense, their defense might be even worse.
A defense which was giving up an NFL-worst 153.3 rushing yards per game lived down to expectations. By halftime, Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick had already done enough damage to turn the game into a rout.
The 49ers got rolling with a drive which covered 76 yards, capped by Gore’s 19-yard run.
So for the second week in a row, the Jaguars trailed 7-0 before their offense could take a snap. By the time Kaepernick’s second rushing touchdown made the score 28-0, the 49ers held a whopping 245-40 advantage in total yards. At least the Jaguars were able to force a punt by halftime, which was something they couldn’t accomplish against the Chargers.
It’s not just the front seven which continues to struggle. The secondary has still come up with one interception. The player responsible for that, cornerback Will Blackmon, was flagged for pass interference at the start of the 49ers’ second drive, with the 31-yard mark-off being the longest penalty against the Jaguars this season.
2. The Jaguars still haven’t scored a touchdown in the first half of a home game this season.
Only a 38-yard field goal by Josh Scobee 10 seconds before halftime prevented the Jaguars from going into the locker room scoreless. Chad Henne, making his third start in a row at quarterback in place of Blaine Gabbert, couldn’t guide the offense into 49ers territory until around a minute to go in the second quarter.
If you’re looking for positives, the Jaguars got a lot more productivity out of Maurice Jones-Drew (19 carries, 75 yards) a week after their featured back ran the ball only nine times. And their inability to find the end zone at home finally came to an end — even if it happened on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean — when Henne hit Mike Brown from 29 yards out in the third quarter.
3. Having your top four wide receivers in uniform doesn’t ensure a successful passing game.
The Jaguars didn’t have Brown, Cecil Shorts III, Justin Blackmon and Ace Sanders available at the same time since the preseason until Sunday. But Blackmon, who had 14 receptions three weeks ago in his first game back, never made a catch against the 49ers until the game had all but gotten out of hand.
Shorts (seven catches, 74 yards) had no recurrence of the problems with drops he experienced against the Chargers which cost the Jaguars two potential touchdowns.
On the flip side, tight end Marcedes Lewis was shut out until early in the fourth quarter — and when he caught a pass from Henne, he promptly coughed up the ball, with 49ers linebacker Dan Skuta returning the fumble 47 yards for a touchdown.
4. The offense should be red with embarrassment over its non-productivity in the red zone.
The Jaguars were one of just two teams — the other being the Pittsburgh Steelers — with less than a 40 percent conversion rate when it comes to scoring touchdowns inside the other team’s 20-yard line. Any hope they had of saving face in the second half died when a drive which began at their 16 ended more than eight minutes later with an unsuccessful fourth-and-goal call from the 49ers 6.
To compound those frustrations, the Jaguars reached the 4 in the fourth quarter but got only a yard on a fourth-down completion from Henne to Jones-Drew.
5. Next week’s bye can’t hurt.
Maybe having two weeks to prepare for the Tennessee Titans will make a difference. At this point, fans of the Jaguars can be excused for grasping at straws.