LONDON (AP) — Jacksonville’s first visit to its “home away from home” in London didn’t do much to turnaround its already abysmal season.
Playing the first of four games over four seasons at Wembley Stadium, the Jaguars’ performance was all-too familiar to those at EverBank Field this season following a 42-10 pounding by the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
Jacksonville was hoping the overseas trip might shake them from their winless start and provide encouragement going into the second half of the season.
It did not.
Linebacker Paul Posluszny did not shy away from saying the discouraging loss could lead to personnel changes ahead of next week’s trade deadline.
“I’m sure we’re going to take a close look at schematics and personnel because we’re obviously not doing something right and we need a lot of help,” Posluszny said. “We need to start moving in a positive direction. If changes are needed, (management is) going to do that.”
The Jaguars finished the first half of the season at 0-8 and the bye week couldn’t come any sooner.
“We can take time to evaluate where we’re at with our whole team and recommit to take the next step,” coach Gus Bradley said. “We need to figure out some of the things that we’re lacking and keep building on those things.”
The offense sputtered until the game was already out of reach, and the defense was careless with its tackling as the 49ers racked up 398 total yards.
“Defensively, we didn’t play as we should do. You can’t give up those yards,” Posluszny said. “We couldn’t stop them at the beginning of the game. We can’t have that if we want to win games.”
49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and running back Frank Gore combined for 295 of San Francisco’s total yards, with each scoring a pair of touchdowns.
San Francisco (6-2) was 6 of 9 on third-down conversions and set the tone by converting a fourth-and-1 on its first possession as it ran out to a 28-0 lead by the midway point of the second quarter. Jacksonville was 4 of 14 on third downs.
“There are definitely some plays that we needed to make, and the red zone really killed us,” said quarterback Chad Henne, who was 29 of 45 for 228 yards passing, including one touchdown. “If it’s just players needing to make plays, we have to make them. We need to man-up.”
The Jaguars converted three of five fourth-down opportunities, but the two misses came in the red zone where the team has scored just five touchdowns from 20 opportunities, including 0 for 2 at Wembley.
But for every gamble or step forward, the team seemed to just as soon stumble as the 49ers created a pair of fumbles, including one that led to a touchdown.
Bradley had called out his team’s performance following last week’s 24-6 loss to San Diego, which was followed by personal tragedy for the coach with news of his father’s death. But Bradley will be encouraged by the Jaguars, who face AFC South rival the Tennessee Titans next, commitment to play a full 60 minutes despite coming up against a much better opponent.
“We’re not going to let anyone break our will. Some (49ers players) were like, `Why are you still playing?’ I’m like `why are you talking to me?'” running back Maurice Jones-Drew said after rushing for 75 yards from 19 carries. “I think every week we feel we have a chance to win.”
While nearly 84,000 NFL fans attended Sunday’s game, the Jaguars will need to be better by their next visit to London in a year, when they face the Dallas Cowboys. Or these overseas trips could quickly lose their shine to both the team and the local “home” fans.
“We have to put a winning performance on the field to expect people to cheer for us and support us. We can’t just say, we’re the home team, support us,” Posluszny said. “It doesn’t work that way.”