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4 takeaways from Jaguars loss in Houston

Jaguars go for two, lose by one point on road

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The Jaguars went to Houston shorthanded and came inches shy of a win.

Instead, they came up short in a 13-12 loss to the Texans. If the Jaguars had won Sunday, they would have been in a first-place tie in the AFC South.

Yes, it's early, but starting 0-2 is not where the Jaguars want to be. Only about 10 percent of teams who start the season 0-2 make the playoffs, so this one hurt — not just that they lost, but how they lost. Here are my four biggest takeaways from the game: 

Discipline continued to be an issue. The Jaguars committed 10 penalties last week in the loss against Kansas City. This week, nine penalties for 70 yards. One of those penalties was a holding call on rookie right tackle Jawaan Taylor that wiped out a 29-yard completion to DJ Chark that preceded a Gardner Minshew fumble that led to the Texans only touchdown of the game. Then there was the sideline kerfuffle involving Jalen Ramsey and Doug Marrone. After Marrone did not challenge a catch by DeAndre Hopkins, Ramsey lost his cool and the two had to be separated. Not a good look. 

Minshew magical, but not perfect. While Minshew wasn't as effective as he was last week, the rookie continued to look unphased by the NFL stage. His performance in the clutch was something to celebrate. Leading a touchdown drive in the final minutes while trailing is a rare thing in Jacksonville and Minshew delivered in his first start as a Jaguar. Minshew needs to do a better job of protecting the football in the pocket. He fumbled three times, not all his fault. Minshew can benefit from tuning up the clock in his head. With the Jaguars offensive line struggling in pass protection, he has to get rid of the ball sooner, or tuck it and run. He should improve as he gets more experience at this level.

Second-year stars. A pair of players have shown marked improvements from their rookie seasons. Chark looks like a guy worthy of a second-round pick. Chark followed up his career-best game last week with another solid performance. Seven receptions, several of them tough catches, for 55 yards and the only Jaguars' touchdown of the game. He looks like a guy they can count on in the passing game. The other second-year player worthy of note is punter Logan Cooke, who averaged 48 yards per punt and who dropped four of his six punts inside the 20-yard line, including one that was downed at the one-yard line. Cooke has been terrific since the preseason. With a rookie quarterback and an offense that hasn't look explosive yet, the punting game could frequently impact wins and losses this season.

Late game decisions. After Minshew found DJ Chark for a touchdown with 30 seconds remaining, Doug Marrone rolled the dice and decided to go for two, trailing 13-12. The play call left something to be desired. A handoff to Leonard Fournette. No run-pass option for Minshew. Instead of putting the ball in the hot hand of the rookie quarterback, the Jaguars decided to give it to Fournette, who came up inches short of the goal line. That sent the Jaguars to an 0-2 start. It's a play call that will be second-guessed all week.


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