JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On a cold day with blowing snow, the Jaguars won an ugly game in Cleveland 19-7, improving to 7-3 on the season, staying in first place in the AFC South, and keeping the Browns winless. Here's how the Jaguars answered the four biggest questions I had entering the the game:
Which Bortles shows up?
He didn't have a lot of help from an offensive line that played without two starters and wide receivers who couldn't hold on to several passes, but Bortles didn't make many plays. His inconsistency continues to be the biggest issue. On the same drive, he threw his best pass, a pinpoint deep ball to rookie Dede Westbrook, then, a couple of plays later, he had a pass batted down, his league-leading 10th of the season. By the middle of the third quarter, offensive coordinator Nate Hackett went run-heavy with the play-calling.
Can the Jaguars run with all of the injuries?
Yes and no. Playing without right tackle Jeremy Parnell and left guard Patrick Omameh and with Chris Ivory and Leonard Fournette playing at less than 100 percent, the Jaguars weren't consistent in the running game until the Browns defense started to wear down. Fournette went over 100 yards, but it wasn't always pretty. That being said, when you are a defense and running game focused team, sometimes you have to just stick with the running game, especially when facing a struggling offense like the Browns.
Will the cold be a factor?
The cold, and a bit of snow, appeared to have impacted ball security. The Jaguars fumbled five times, losing just one, and dropped several passes, some of which could be attributed to the cold. The poor performance, overall, was not, in large part, attributable to the weather.
Will the Jaguars take the Browns seriously?
I don't believe the Jaguars overlooked the Browns. However, the offensive play-calling appeared to indicate that the Jaguars coaches felt that the Jaguars offense would be stronger against the Browns. In-game adjustments didn't really show up until the third quarter, when the running game became more pronounced.