At least the loss this time came with a perk.
The Jaguars tied the record for the longest losing streak in franchise history, dropping their 13th straight game with a 40-14 loss to the Ravens on Sunday. Jacksonville’s only other skid of this magnitude came across the 2012 and ’13 seasons with coaches Mike Mularkey and Gus Bradley.
The Jaguars (1-13) return home next week with the Chicago Bears visiting TIAA Bank Field and a dubious streak on the horizon. Jacksonville’s worst-ever season, a 2-14 mark in 2012, is within reach. A loss next week would also set the franchise record for longest losing streak ever.
Quarterback Gardner Minshew II of the Jacksonville Jaguars is sacked by linebacker Matthew Judon of the Baltimore Ravens in the end zone for a safety during the first quarter of their game at M&T Bank Stadium on December 20, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
But good news followed a horrendous effort on the field. Hours after the Jaguars wrapped up a listless effort, the New York Jets came through with a win over the Los Angeles Rams to end their 13-game losing streak. That loss moved the Jets down from the No. 1 draft spot and elevated the Jaguars. That means Jacksonville has the inside track on the No. 1 pick and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence in next year’s draft.
If the Jaguars and Jets both finish with the same record, the easier strength of schedule is the tiebreaker. Jacksonville’s schedule is easier than New York’s and should remain that way if the teams remain tied.
That was the shot of adrenaline that a battered fanbase needed because the boost didn’t come on the field.
Even by the low standards of a lost season, this one was bad.
Gardner Minshew was sacked for a safety on his first pass attempt of the game. The next two Jacksonville drives stalled out on downs and the final one of the half ended with a punt.
In between all of the offensive ineffectiveness, the Ravens picked apart a Jacksonville defense that made all of one stop in the opening half, an end zone interception by Josh Jones that wound up leading to the safety on Minshew.
Even 32-year-old Dez Bryant, who hadn’t caught a touchdown since 2017 when he played with Dallas, got in on the scoring, an 11-yard grab from Lamar Jackson for a 26-0 lead at the break.
Jackson went to the bench after throwing his third touchdown pass of the game early in the fourth quarter and the Ravens up 40-7. He finished 17 of 22 for 243 yards and three touchdowns. Jackson also rushed for a score.
So bad was this effort that a 344-pound rookie offensive guard on Baltimore had a play that went for more yardage than all but one Jaguars offensive play.
That came when Jackson fumbled on a play in the third quarter and lineman Tyre Phillips scooped it up and rumbled for 22 yards. Jacksonville’s longest offensive play of the game — a 28-yard pass from Minshew to a leaping Tyler Eifert that went down to the Ravens 10.
Three plays later, Minshew lost a fumble on a strip sack by former Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue that wound up leading to Baltimore points.
Baltimore (9-5) entered 2-3 over its final five games and teetering on the brink of slipping out of playoff consideration.
The Jaguars proved the cure for Baltimore’s recent struggles.
Outside of Jackson’s pick on his first drive — which wound up ultimately benefitting the Ravens — Baltimore was seldom challenged. Take away a Jaguars drive to open the second half that ended with a gorgeous toss from Minshew to James Robinson for a 17-yard touchdown and the entire day was a mess. Minshew threw a garbage time 13-yard scoring pass to Chris Conley with 1:44 to play. He finished 22 of 29 for 226 yards and was sacked five times.
Robinson rushed for 35 yards on 16 carries and left the game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.