The Jaguars lost their sixth straight game, while matching and NFL record for consecutive game giving up 30 points or more in a 39-29 loss to the Chargers in Los Angeles. It was the first time in NFL history that a game ended with that score. The Jaguars head to the bye week at 1-6. Here are my four biggest takeaways from the game.
The QB question at the bye
With the Jaguars bye week pushed back to the first weekend of November, the team has played seven game with Gardner Minshew as the quarterback this season. In much of the first half, Minshew looked lost and unsure of this protection. He was timid and inaccurate with his passing and the offense sputtered.
In fact, the Jaguars didn’t achieve a first down until there was less than 11 minutes left in the second quarter. Thereafter, things changed. Minshew looked more settled for most of the rest of the game, finishing with 173 yards and two touchdowns. That being said, when the Jaguars needed Minshew to make plays in the fourth quarter, he did not. He held onto the ball too long, missed open receivers and was inaccurate with his passes early and late.
One of the biggest questions for the Jaguars coaches to wrestle with now: do they stick with Minshew after the bye week or make a change at quarterback. Minshew isn’t the biggest problem on this team, but quarterback play has become an issue the past month.
Robinson a shining star
Robinson accounted for all 14 points in the first half and totaled 97 yards from scrimmage before halftime. Not only is he a guy the Jaguars can build around for the future, he is the present of the Jaguars offense. While DJ Chark has a Pro Bowl under his belt and Laviska Shenault looks like a player to watch for the future, Robinson has been the best offensive player on the Jaguars and one of the best running backs in the NFL this season.
Robinson finished with 119 yards rushing, a career high, with a rushing touchdown and a team-high four catches for 18 yards and a touchdown. Jay Gruden should take note: more James Robinson will benefit the Jaguars.
(Pre) Second-half adjustments
The Jaguars came out of the halftime locker room trailing 16-14. On the Chargers' first possession, Daniel Thomas blocked a punt, recovered it and returned it for a touchdown to give the Jaguars a 21-16 lead. That was a big play, but the true turnaround actually took place in the second quarter when the Jaguars offense and defense started to show up.
First, the offense put together a six-play, 78-yard drive that was capped by a 4-yard touchdown run by James Robinson. Robinson then ran in the two-point conversion.
The defense followed with consecutive three-and-outs and Robinson scored again on a short pass. They took the lead on the blocked punt. Jacksonville couldn’t keep the lead, but that 10-minute stretch from the middle of the second quarter to the early third quarter turned the game from a runaway to an entertaining loss. That’s progress.
The Jaguars are heading into the bye week with a 1-6 record and a six-game losing streak. There do not appear to be any answers coming anytime soon. Will the Jaguars make a change at quarterback now? Will they work to change the offensive approach?
We saw some more aggressive approaches on defense Sunday, several times getting to Justin Herbert, but totaled only one sack. The most important thing that can happen in the second half of the season is for the Jaguars' young players to show improvement as attention turns toward 2021.