JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars lost to the Titans 37-16 Sunday in Jacksonville's home opener. After a a surprising 29-7 win over the Houston Texans to open the season, the Jaguars could earn their first 2-0 start since 2006. Here's how they answered the four biggest questions coming into the game:
1. Is the team we saw last week the real Jaguars?
Still to be determined. Last week, the Jaguars were plus-10 in the sack margin and plus-4 in turnovers. This week, they were minus-2. Last week, the Jaguars got a lead and were able to play their game. This week, they led 3-0 after a Jason Myers field goal on their initial drive, but never led after that. Defensively, the Jaguars have shown enough in the first two weeks to say that they are the unit that head coach Doug Marrone can count on. The offense has a long way to go.
2. Can Leonard Fournette hold up to the pounding?
Against the Texans, Fournette ran the ball 26 times for 100 yards and caught three passes. Those 29 touches are more than any Jaguars player had in a game all of last season. Fournette ran hard, but is still looking for that breakaway. The Jaguars coaches freely rotated Fournette and Chris Ivory in the game, but neither could replicate the kind of success that Fournette enjoyed last week. And by the time the Jaguars trailed by 20 entering the fourth quarter the running game became an afterthought.
3. Can the Jaguars defense create a pass rush against a much better Tennessee offensive line?
After a 10 sack game the week before, the Jaguars got occasional pressure on Marcus Mariota, but his elusiveness kept the sack numbers down. The only sack the Jaguars recorded was on a blitz by Myles Jack in the first half. There were too many plays where Mariota had time to survey the field, and even with the Jaguars good coverage downfield, the Jaguars pass rushers didn’t get home. The Titans offensive line did what they wanted to do. The Titans played their game, and the Jaguars did not. It’s a simple as that.
4. Can Blake Bortles avoid turnovers?
The answer: no. Bortles fumbled in the first half, but it didn’t cost the Jaguars because Telvin Smith intercepted Marcus Mariota on the ensuing drive. But two interceptions led directly to Tennessee field goals. The Jaguars cannot afford to give the ball away on three straight possessions, even in the best of circumstances, much less in a game where they are trying to come from behind to win.