ARLINGTON, Texas – The fact the Jaguars offense struggled on Sunday in their 40-7 loss to the Cowboys isn’t a surprise. No Leonard Fournette. No Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Plus a third stringer starting at left tackle.
However what happened on the defensive side of the ball came as a total shock. Entering Sunday the Cowboys offense ranked 30th in the NFL in points (16.6) and passing yards (172). The expectation was that the Jaguars defense would play well enough to give them a chance.
Dak Prescott had other ideas. Dallas scored on all four of their possessions in the first half.
The Cowboys opened with a 9-play, 51-yard drive that resulted in a field goal. After a quick 3-and-out by the Jaguars offense, Dallas then drove 48-yards in 7-plays to take an early 10-0 lead.
Prescott came into Sunday only completing 62% of his passes. The Cowboys did a great job of getting him into a early rhythm by letting him run the ball. Prescott had a 17-yard rushing TD in the first half and finished with a career-high 82-yards on the ground.
Perhaps it was the threat of Prescott running because when he dropped back to pass he found receivers wide-open. Specifically Cole Beasley. Five of Prescott’s eight completions in the first half went to the Cowboys slot receiver. Obviously Dallas found something on film this week. Beasley routinely found holes in the Jaguars zone defense. He scored two touchdowns in the first half and there wasn’t a defender anywhere near him on either score.
"We have to look in the mirror and figure out how we can win ball games," said Jaguars defensive lineman Calais Campbell. "This was ugly. It wasn't pretty at all. When you lose like this everybody has to look in the mirror and figure out what we can do better. Each one of us. We all have our hands in this."
Even after last week's blowout loss to Kansas City the Jaguars still came into Sunday No. 1 in the NFL in yards (292.2) allowed per game. After giving up over over 350 yards of offense in back-to-back games Jacksonville's claim to be the No. defense in the NFL has come into question.
"We're not playing like it," said Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey when asked does he feel the Jaguars are still the best defense in the NFL."
Sunday’s defeat is only the second time under Doug Marrone that the Jaguars have lost two in a row. At 3-3 on the year next week’s game against the Texans is huge. Houston comes to Jacksonville as one of the hottest teams in the NFL. They started the year 0-3 but have responded by winning three straight.