The Jacksonville Jaguars have outgained opponents seven times in 2016 but have only won one of those games.
Week 13 was another game when the Jacksonville Jaguars defense held the opponent to many fewer yards than the Jags offense racked up. The Jags gained 330 yards to Denver’s 206 but still managed to lose 20-10.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs: 449-231 yards, 19-25 final score
Jacksonville Jaguars at San Diego chargers: 388-357, 14-38 final score
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Green Bay Packers: 348-294, 23-27 final score
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Indianapolis Colts: 331-284, 30-27 final score
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Houston Texans: 327-273, 21-24 final score
Jacksonville Jaguars at Detroit Lions: 285-277, 19-26 final score
Now, outgaining an opponent isn’t going to tell the whole story, of course. Otherwise the Jags would be winning these games. But it does show that the team is doing enough to move the ball but then handing the game away. In addition to those other games, the Oakland Raiders and Jags tied at 344 yards but the Jags lost 16-33.
The yardage just doesn’t translate into points for the Jags. It’s often due to turnovers (Jags offense was 30th in the NFL prior to Week 13 and the defense was the league’s worst at creating turnovers) and big plays by special teams. The offense can keep pace statistically but it just can’t get in the end zone.
Meanwhile, the defense’s strong play doesn’t translate into stopping the opponent from scoring. Despite fielding a top-10 defensive unit in 2016, the Jags are still allowing the too many points (27th in the NFL).
Limiting the opposing offense and outgaining them is a good step toward winning, but it clearly isn’t enough. Most of the games when they outgain the opponent, it’s closer. All but one of those games above was decided by seven points or less and two of them were decided by three points.
But the game against the Raiders, against the Broncos, and against the Chargers were all by a difference of 10 points or more. That’s hardly translating the recipe for success into actual success.
It’s worth highlighting this because it shows just how impactful the mistakes have been in games. The Jags lost the turnover battle in every one of those games except the game against the Colts in which they forced one turnover but the offense didn’t give one up. In many of those games the Jags turned the ball over two or more times.
If there was ever an indication that the Jags need to spend plenty of time coaching specific players (Blake Bortles) on how to make better decisions and play safer, it’s this. The offense is moving the ball. It’s only 23rd in overall offensive production, but it’s been outgaining or tying the opponent in more than 50 percent of games. On a game-by-game basis, the Jags are doing enough.
Some of those yards come once the game is out of reach, but it isn’t all garbage time as many of the scores indicate.
Can the Jags somehow recover later in the final four games of the season to salvage some wins? In order to do so, and end the culture of losing, they need to stop the mistakes. Stop the mistakes and some of these games when they outgain the opponent can be winnable.