No end in sight: Jaguars dominated in loss to Lions

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Duron Harmon of the Detroit Lions intercepts the ball intended for D.J. Chark of the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second quarter in the game at TIAA Bank Field on October 18, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Make that Duvalllll — with five straight Ls.

The slide continued for the Jaguars, who were knocked around from open to close by the Lions in a 34-16 loss at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday.

Jacksonville (1-5) dropped its fifth consecutive game and looked, once again, inept while doing it. The defense allowed more than 30 points for the fifth straight week and the offense couldn’t piece much of anything together when it mattered.

Gardner Minshew struggled to move the offense again, had a pair of turnovers in the opening half and only managed a flicker of hope late with a 14-yard touchdown pass to James Robinson.

It was far too little too late for the Jaguars, who will spend another week trying to figure out what, if anything, can be done to salvage what has become another agonizing season that’s positioned for a high draft pick next year.

Coach Doug Marrone said that there were no immediate changes planned for the Jaguars coaching staff, including defensive coordinator Todd Wash.

After three straight losses to previously winless teams (Dolphins, Bengals, Texans), the Jaguars found the one-win Lions just as challenging to stop.

They gave up a touchdown on the Lions' first drive of the game and played from behind throughout as Detroit’s lead grew to 21 midway through the third quarter.

After Minshew’s 6-yard rushing score in the third quarter, the first of his career, trimmed that deficit to 24-10, Detroit (2-3) countered with a D’Andre Swift 6-yard touchdown run on the ensuing drive to squelch any sort of Jacksonville momentum. Minshew’s scoring pass to Robinson with 5:18 left was a non-factor.

The defense gave up 185 rushing yards, the bulk of those to Swift (116 yards on 14 carries, two TDs) and 40 more (and a TD) to Adrian Peterson. Matthew Stafford passed for 223 yards and a touchdown for the Lions.

Minshew was 25 of 44 for 243 yards. Keelan Cole had a stellar day, catching six passes for 143 yards.

So, what now for a team that hasn’t even sniffed the most challenging part of its schedule?

Detroit was arguably the easiest remaining game left on paper for Jacksonville, and the Lions, sloppiness and all, looked dominant.

The Jaguars travel to the Los Angeles Chargers next week and then return from their bye with games at home against the Texans, travel to Green Bay, and then host both Pittsburgh and Cleveland to close out November.

Jacksonville continued to find ways to struggle.

In the Bengals game on Oct. 4, the Jaguars faced one of the worst pass protecting offensive lines in the NFL and managed just one sack. Against the NFL’s worst run defense on Sunday (Detroit entered allowing a staggering 170.3 rushing yards per game), Robinson had no room to work and the playcalling didn’t give him many chances.

He finished with 29 yards rushing on 12 carries. As a team, the Jaguars finished with 44 yards rushing on 16 carries.

Kicker Jon Brown hit his first field goal try, a 31-yarder. He became the fifth Jaguars kicker in as many weeks, and it was the first kick of any kind at any level for Brown.

Elias Sports Bureau said that the Jaguars were the first team since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 to have five different players attempt a field goal or PAT in five consecutive games. Brown had never attempted a field goal at any level, including high school, in his career.

Brown missed his next attempt, a 32-yarder midway through the second quarter. That inconsistency in the kicking game kept coach Doug Marrone hesitant about even attempting a chip shot. He elected to go for it on fourth-and-4 from the Lions 14 following a Jaguars defensive stop in the third quarter and Minshew’s pass was knocked away.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.