Four takeaways: Why abandon the running game against Texans?

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Laviska Shenault Jr. of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs the ball against Tyrell Adams and Eric Murray of the Houston Texans in the first quarter at NRG Stadium on October 11, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Jaguars gave up 30 points for the fourth straight game, and the offense didn’t pull its weight in a 30-14 loss to the Texans in Houston. Here are my four biggest takeaways from the game:

Afraid of the running game?

Too many times, the Jaguars had chances to run the ball in key situations and instead, they opted to try to trick the Texans. This is not a sign of confidence in the offensive line and running back James Robinson.

It doesn’t make much sense since the line has been better run blocking than pass blocking this year and Robinson has been the Jaguars' offensive MVP of the first quarter of the season.

Case in point, two plays in the third quarter with the Jaguars inside the Texans' 10-yard line. On third-and-2, instead of giving it to Robinson, Minshew threw an out route to tight end Tyler Eifert for a gain of 1.

Then, on fourth-and-1, the Jaguars went for it, but instead of letting Robinson use his vision and running it into the line, they sent Minshew out wide and put Robinson in the wildcat and called a pass play. It did not end well. Neither did the game.

Defense did as well as can be expected

Without Myles Jack, Josh Allen and C.J. Henderson, the Jaguars defense did a decent job in the first half, giving up just 10 points before halftime. Things got out of hand in the second half.

Once again, without talented and experienced players on the field, I don’t know what you can expect from this unit. That’s why the offense has to pull its weight. Just like the last three games, the Jaguars would have had to scored more than 30 to win.

Kicking issues

Since Josh Lambo went out with a hip injury, the kicking game has been brutal. Stephen Hauschka got his chance on Sunday and proceeded to miss a pair of field goals. I can’t imagine he’ll be around for long. The Jaguars have used four kickers in five games this year. Next week, it will likely be five in six games. Then, Lambo is eligible to return from injured reserve. He can’t get back soon enough.

Now what?

Teams that start 1-4 don’t typically make the playoffs. It has happened, but it’s rare. I don’t see any way the Jaguars have the players to be one of those rare teams in NFL history to overcome a 1-4 start.

Will it impact the Jaguars approach? It’s not like they are going to pull veterans from the lineup (there aren’t many to pull). Perhaps the bigger change is going to be in the focus of the coverage. Now, the season is all about what the future looks like. Maybe it always has been.