Ken Hornack gives his five observations about another bad loss by the Jaguars, this one to the Chargers.
By KEN HORNACKFS Florida
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It had become commonplace, bordering on comical at times, over the previous six weeks for coach Gus Bradley to address the media following a loss by the
Jacksonville Jaguars in largely positive language.
While he didn't turn into a raging madman Sunday, there was no attempt by him to put a revisionist spin on a listless 24-6 defeat at the hands of the San Diego Chargers either.
"I've said that to you before," Bradley said. "If I have any credibility with you and our fans, I cannot say that today. That would be inaccurate and would not be credible."
Not since the 1984 Houston Oilers had there been an NFL team to drop its first seven games by 10 or more points. And this was clearly a huge letdown from the week before at Denver, when the Jaguars found themselves trailing only 21-19 late in the third quarter after going into the game as 27-point underdogs.
"It just seemed like we didn't have it," said defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks, who contributed to their downfall with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Chargers' second touchdown drive. "When all the talk is about us getting better and continuing our process, we really took a step back today. We didn’t get better. Not at all."
Here are five additional observations:
1. If you're keeping track of such things, the Jaguars' offense now has no touchdowns at home this season in 35 drives.
Why can't Chad Henne, Maurice Jones-Drew, Cecil Shorts III and their cohorts get into their driveways? Answer: Because someone painted them to look like end zones.
But seriously, folks, the Jaguars have been outscored 89-11 in their three home games. It wasn't as if they didn't have opportunities against the Chargers. They kept the ball for 18 straight plays in the second quarter and reached the red zone again in the third quarter with the help of a 43-yard completion from Henne to wide receiver Mike Brown. On both occasions, they ended up settling for chip-shot field goals by Josh Scobee, who has now converted 31 consecutive attempts in October dating back to 2009.
"We moved down the field with how many drives with over 10 plays," Henne said. "We've got to capitalize and score. It’s tough to swallow."
Of his decision to not go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 5 and the Jaguars trailing 17-3, Bradley said: "We haven't been tearing it up when we get down there. So I think at that time, we needed points and felt like, 'OK, let’s put the challenge back on the defense to get a stop.'"
2. The defense couldn't get a stop.
Through the first three quarters, the Chargers amassed 378 yards of total offense and never had to punt. Only an ill-advised attempt by Philip Rivers to try scrambling in from a yard out with no timeouts remaining at the end of the first half kept the Jaguars from being down by a margin of two touchdowns or more.
It certainly looked as if the Chargers were facing a punting situation late in the first quarter after a hold against guard Jeromey Clary and a sack by Marks. But one play after getting to Rivers, Marks lost his cool at Clary toward the end of a short running play on second and 34 to give the Chargers an automatic first down.
"I actually did push his helmet, and it was like, 'Dude, don't hold me no more,' " Marks said. "But the ref said I tried to poke him in the eye."
To his credit, the fifth-year pro who was one of the Jaguars' top free-agent signings didn't hide out in the training room or try to change the subject with reporters.
"I accept all the blame for that," he said. "That whole skirmish was my fault. And that continuation of the drive was all my fault."
3. Shorts had a day to forget.
After spraining the joint that connects his breastbone to his collarbone against the Broncos, it was a minor miracle that he was even in uniform. He went to the sideline favoring his shoulder after making a catch in the second quarter but returned shortly thereafter.
Shorts unsuccessfully attempted to cradle a pass on third down and 3 to go from the Chargers 12, forcing Scobee to come on and kick a field goal. He also had a ball go off his hands in the end zone after the two minute warning, long after most of those in attendance had left.
"I was hurting today. That's still no excuse," he said. "I should have made those two slants. They were routine for me. I've made them 100 times in practice, 100 times in my career."
Tight end Marcedes Lewis made an immediate impact in his return from a lingering calf injury with a 31-yard catch-and-run, but that was his only reception of the game. While Justin Blackmon had six grabs for 58 yards, he failed to get both feet inbounds near the pylon on an incompletion where he accidentally bowled over a security person along the sidelines.
4. The Chargers were able to adapt to losses at left tackle much better than the Jaguars.
King Dunlap, perhaps the top run-blocking tackle in the league, went out with a concussion in the second quarter. His backup, Mike Remmers, needed to be carted off soon thereafter. But the Chargers moved first-round draft pick D.J. Fluker from the right side to the left and shifted Clary to right tackle without missing a beat.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars felt the full impact of Luke Joeckel's season-ending ankle injury two weeks ago for the first time. Cameron Bradfield was responsible for two of the six sacks of Henne and was also flagged for a false start.
As bad as things were last year when the Jaguars allowed 50 sacks, they have now given up 28 through less than half a season.
5. Teal jerseys with black numerals are a terrible idea.
While they were by no means a contributing factor to the loss, it doesn't help a team trying to build an identity when fans have to strain to identify who's who.
Next up: San Francisco (at London). The Jaguars plan to leave Monday night for their first game overseas. The 49ers will have an even longer trip, but it wasn't as if too much air travel was an issue Sunday for the Chargers.