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Jaguars don't have answers for Niners in loss

Jaguars clinch AFC South title despite defeat

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Fresh off their first playoff-clinching win in a decade, the Jaguars lost in San Francisco 44-33 to the 49ers, but still clinched the AFC South championship with the Titans loss to the Rams. Jacksonville continued to struggle in the Western time zone. Here's how they answered the four biggest questions I had heading into the game:

Can Jacksonville win after crossing three time zones?

The Jaguars had not won a game on the West Coast since beating the Raiders to close out the 2004 season. They still haven't. Maybe it was the travel, maybe it was the fact that they had clinched a playoff game the week before, maybe it was more about what San Francisco did and what the Jaguars didn't do. The best news for Jacksonville? No West Coast AFC team will host a playoff game in 2017.

Can Blake Bortles keep it up?

After a slow start, Bortles looked razor sharp on the Jaguars touchdown drive just before halftime. But as the second half unfolded, Bortles, who set a career high for passing yards with 382, started to revert, throwing three interceptions. And as the Jaguars found themselves down by two scores in the fourth quarter, Bortles played his worst. Its the one biggest questions that he has never answered this year: Can he lead the Jaguars down the field in the fourth quarter of a game in which the Jaguars trail. There haven't been too many opportunities for him to do so, but he had one on Sunday, and despite a touchdown pass with 1:50 left to bring the Jaguars to within four points, didn't deliver.

Will the Jaguars avoid a let-down after clinching a playoff spot?

This team has done a very good job of taking care of business this year. In the first quarter, they looked like a team that wasn't ready to play and didn't have the urgency in the first quarter that they had shown recently. I suspect that it will be a teaching point for Doug Marrone this week leading into the season finale in Nashville and moving forward into the playoffs.

Can the Jaguars slow down Jimmy Garoppolo?

Doug Marrone noted this week that Garoppolo was the hottest quarterback in the NFL, saying, "The guy has never lost a game. You better make sure you understand what you’re going against -- a guy that has won. Right now he is the best quarterback in the league.” 

IMAGES: Jags fall 44-33 to Niners

Garoppolo very much looked the part as he won his fourth straight game as the San Francisco starter, posting some of the best numbers of any quarterback against the Jaguars defense this season.

The slow start, the lack of composure and the worst day the defense has had this year left the Jaguars with a 10-5 record with one regular season game remaining. They will host a playoff game for the first time since the 1999 season.


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