It was fun while it lasted.
Two weeks after winning their first game in more than a year, the Jaguars returned to reality on Sunday afternoon.
They’re still not a very good football team.
A beaten-up Seahawks team with one of the worst defenses in the NFL and starting Geno Smith at quarterback rolled over the Jaguars 31-7. Jacksonville avoided its first shutout since 2009 with a touchdown with just under two minutes to play to gloss up a blowout loss.
But make no mistake about it — the Jaguars were beaten as bad as they’ve been under coach Urban Meyer.
This one was set up to be so much different, a chance to put back-to-back wins together for the first time in two years. A chance to end its West Coast doldrums. A chance for fans to see sustained progress.
Instead, a massive step back.
All the momentum from a 23-20 win over the Dolphins in London on Oct. 17 that ended a 20-game losing streak and stretched across the bye week?
Jacksonville (1-6) was out of synch and out of sorts all game long, not at all surprising for a West Coast trip. The Jaguars dropped to 3-14 all-time on the West Coast, four of those losses to Seattle.
This one, like so many other before it, was embarrassing for how poorly Jacksonville played. And coming off the bye week, a time where coach Urban Meyer said that he and the staff spent serious time breaking down and reanalyzing everything, it was even more discouraging.
After steady progress, Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars offense took significant steps backwards. Seattle entered allowing teams a staggering 414.7 yards per game, yet the Jaguars couldn’t budge the Seahawks.
Running back James Robinson left early with an ankle injury and didn’t return. That allowed Seattle to crank up the pressure and kept Lawrence scrambling to escape it throughout the day.
He threw a second quarter interception on a poorly thrown — or poorly run route by Tavon Austin — pass that Quandre Diggs easily snatched. Eight plays later, Smith found DK Metcalf in the front right side of the end zone and he made an excellent catch over Shaquill Griffin for a 14-0 Seattle lead.
Lawrence finished 32 of 53 for 238 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
The other bad news for the Jaguars — they made Smith look like an All-Pro quarterback.
Starting in place of an injured Russell Wilson, Smith tore apart Jacksonville’s defense in a blistering performance that had fans asking the same question.
Geno Smith? Really?
He went 20 of 24 for 195 yards, set a season-high for consecutive completions and tossed two touchdown passes.
The career backup strafed the Jaguars from the outset, completing his first 14 passes before throwing his first interception with 18 seconds left to play before halftime. That didn’t matter. Ex-Jaguars player Jason Myers came on to boot a 31-yard field goal for a 17-0 lead at the break.
That streak was a career-best for Smith and the most consecutive completions in the league this year, breaking 12 in a row by Aaron Rodgers. Smith’s second pass of the game was a sign of things to come. He found Tyler Lockett for a gain of 27 that went down to the 1. Lockett was covered by second-round draft pick Tyson Campbell, who didn’t even turn around on the play. Smith polished off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown sneak on fourth down.
Lockett had 12 catches and 142 yards on 13 targets. Metcalf caught both of Smith’s touchdowns.
It was an all-around miserable performance, as bad as it’s looked under Meyer.
The offensive line was as bad as its been all season.
The Jaguars were called for 12 men on the field twice, and on back-to-back plays. The only thing that saved Jacksonville the embarrassment of penalties like that — which are often seen on the high school level — is that it was able to get a timeout called before the flag came in.
And even when the Jaguars did something positive, like Lawrence’s touchdown pass to Jamal Agnew with 1:49 to play, they went wrong. Meyer opted for a PAT to get within 24-7, a decision that made no sense. A two-point try could have made it a two-possession game. Jacksonville went for the onside kick and the Seahawks returned it 44 yards for a touchdown.