JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Ten penalties for 90 yards. Two turnovers. Three sacks for total losses of 20 yards. One ejection. Now a 3-8 record.
A rematch of the Jaguars 2017 AFC Wild Card game victory turned into one of the most tumultuous Jaguars games I have ever seen.
The numbers speak for themselves, and instead of letting solid play speak for itself, the Jags saw their players take matters into their own hands, selfishly costing the whole team a victory and the last hope for a turnaround season.
When you cannot efficiently pass the football, teams look to the run. Obviously. This was exactly the game plan for the Jags going into this game, and it was exactly what was executed in the first half.
Leonard Fournette was drafted to be the downhill, punishing runner that defenses are forced to fear. He was getting it done Sunday. The team rushed for 226 yards on the ground, with Fournette having 95 of them, adding two scores. However, that 95 yards could have been 195 if it were not for a fight that the young running back ran across the field to join late in the third quarter.
One of Blake Bortles’ only good balls on the day came traveling toward Dante Moncrief, who jumped above the defensive back to secure the football at the Bills' 1-yard line. Originally ruled a touchdown, the players came to celebrate. Somewhere in the mix of the touchdown being overturned and both teams convening near the goal line, words were exchanged between Bill’s defensive end Shaq Lawson and Fournette. Punches ended up being thrown between the two and both players were ejected from the game.
Tied 14-14 and 1 yard from taking charge of the game, the Jags were somehow unable to punch the ball into the end zone. Then, after a missed field goal attempt, the momentum shifted and the game was essentially over.
With a little over a minute left in the third quarter and the star running back taking an early shower in the locker room, hope was lost. Fournette single-handedly derailed the Jaguars’ game plan, which all but sealed the fate of the game.
Selfish and undisciplined is the only way to describe that exchange. Taking part in a brawl not only hurts yourself, but your team and your fan base. This team is not built to come from behind, so without the one piece that was clicking for the Jags, all hope was lost. And it falls on Fournette.
In this rut the Jags have found themselves in, players are consistently finding themselves doing their own thing: yelling at one another, committing undisciplined penalties and now fighting opposing players. It is disheartening to see, to say the least, especially with five games remaining on the schedule.
With one selfish act, an entire football game turned on its head. Who knows what could come next? Injuries continue to mount, with Andrew Norwell carted off the field, and Bortles’ confidence continues to disintegrate with each outing. The proverbial ship is sinking fast.
What should have been an easy win turned into an ugly, embarrassing outing, which all but sums up the season thus far. Acts like those displayed by Fournette should not be tolerated.
We look to next week to see if there is any change. As always: Go Jags.