Jacksonville entered its Week 12 matchup against the San Diego Chargers a game out of first place in the AFC South and thinking playoffs. Instead the Jagaurs' defense allowed quarterback Philip Rivers to throw four touchdowns as the Chargers snapped a six-game losing streak. That defeat effectively ended Jacksonville's chances at the postseason and the team went on to lose four of their last five games down the stretch.
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The Jaguars began the year without having had a 1,000-yard receiver since 2005. By the end of the season they had two, as both Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns reached the plateau. The second-year wideouts combined to form one of the NFL’s top receiving duos, with both catching at least 10 touchdowns as well.
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Wide receiver Marqise Lee’s juggling catch in team’s Dec. 20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons was a thing of beauty. The second-year receiver bobbled the ball before batting it in the air as he fell to the ground. Lee then hopped up and made a diving catch for an incredible 30-yard reception. An impressive display of perseverance and soft hands.
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Jacksonville travelled to Indianapolis in Week 4 with a prime opportunity to knock off the Andrew Luck-less Colts. Instead, kicker Jason Myers missed two potential game-winning field goals and Indianapolis emerged with a 16-13 overtime win.
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Quarterback Blake Bortles made a big leap in his second season, finishing second behind Tom Brady with 35 touchdown passes while also setting a single-season franchise record for passing yards with 4,428. His 18 interceptions were an NFL-high as well, so room for improvement remains. However, Bortles’ 2015 season should give Jacksonville fans significant reason for optimism moving forward.
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Best offseason acquisition
Cornerback Davon Houston started 15 games after signing as a free agent last March and emerged as Jacksonville’s top defensive back. He was benched for one game after failing to contain Houston star receiver DeAndre Hopkins in the fourth quarter of Jacksonville’s 31-20 loss on Oct. 18, but bounced back to finish the year with 60 tackles, four interceptions and a forced fumble. The five-year veteran set a new franchise record with 23 passes defensed as well.
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We knew Allen Hurns was good, but maybe not this good. Hurns showed his surprisingly productive rookie year was no fluke, following it up with a breakout second season. The former undrafted free agent out the University of the Miami caught 64 passes for 1,031 yards and 10 touchdowns despite playing much of the year with a sports hernia. With Hurns and Robinson catching passes from Bortles for the foreseeable future, opposing defenses have legitimate reason to worry.
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The Jacksonville defense continues to be a glaring weakness for the team. The Jaguars finished the season having given up 448 points, second most in the NFL and 24th in yards allowed. Jacksonville’s inability to generate a consistent pass rush remained an issue all season and must be addressed in the offseason. While the offense shows much promise, there’s still plenty of work to be down on the defensive side of the ball.