Jaguars limp into bye week with 6th straight loss as questions mount

Jacksonville is 1-6 following 39-29 loss to Chargers; will changes be made?

Full Screen
1 / 8

2020 Getty Images

Keenan Allen of the Los Angeles Chargers runs the ball against CJ Henderson of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first quarter at SoFi Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

One more loss and dozens of lingering questions.

The Jaguars went back and forth with the Chargers, but couldn’t close things out on the West Coast in a 39-29 loss in Los Angeles on Sunday.

What happens now, if anything?

The Jaguars enter the bye week at 1-6 and losers of six consecutive games. It’s the second-longest losing streak for coach Doug Marrone with the Jaguars. Jacksonville lost seven in a row in 2018. Former coach Gus Bradley lost nine consecutive games in 2016 and lost his job because of it.

The questions have come with ferocity over the past month and Marrone hasn’t had the answers. He’s said that no changes were planned, but that he wouldn’t hesitate to make them if he thought they made the Jaguars better.

Is quarterback Gardner Minshew able to lead the team? A report earlier Sunday said that the Jaguars could pull him if he had a bad game against the Chargers. Minshew was 14 of 27 for 173 yards and pair of touchdowns, but the performance was average overall. Is the defense going to ever improve? Todd Wash’s defense was singed again and has given up 30 points in all six of those losses.

James Robinson had a stellar day (22 carries, 119 yards, two total TDs), but even his hard running couldn’t overcome another rough day.

At this point, there’s little to point to as a positive.

Five of the Jaguars' six losses have come to previously winless (Dolphins, Bengals, Texans) and one-win teams (Lions, Chargers).

The second half was back and forth and entertaining, something that can’t be said about most games during Jacksonville’s losing streak, but the Jaguars just couldn’t keep it up for four quarters.

Minshew connected with Chris Conley on a 28-yard touchdown pass and found Ben Ellefson for a two-point conversion for a 29-22 lead. The Chargers surged back instantly, getting a 70-yard pass from Justin Herbert to Jalen Guyton and then recovering a fumble by Dede Westbrook on the ensuing kickoff. Herbert polished that drive off with a 5-yard scoring run and that put the Chargers in front to stay. The Jaguars had a punt and turned it over on downs after that.

Herbert, a rookie who was drafted No. 6 overall, picked Jacksonville apart. He was 27 of 43 passing for 347 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown, too.

The desire — and perhaps the realization that the season is on the brink — upped the stakes for Jaguars. Jacksonville went for two-point conversions three times and went for it on fourth down four times.

Jacksonville roared back from a 16-0 deficit with 21 unanswered points, including a blocked punt by rookie Daniel Thomas that he returned 16 yards for a touchdown and a 21-16 Jaguars lead less than two minutes into the second half.

The Jaguars fell into a familiar hole with a woeful offensive effort. Jacksonville’s first four drives ended in three-and-outs and a 16-0 deficit. But the Jaguars finally got going midway through the second quarter with a two-touchdown burst from Robinson.

His second score was a play of beauty.

Facing a third-and-goal from the 9 came, Minshew found Robinson on a swing pass in the right flat. Robinson caught the ball, headed to a cluster of traffic near the end zone and laid out, switching the ball from right hand to left in the air and touching the pylon.

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.