JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 3-5 start for the defending Super Bowl Champion Eagles and for the assumed Super Bowl contending Jaguars was not how anyone thought the records of either of these teams would be at the midpoint of the season.
After missed opportunities throughout this “must win” game, the Jaguars are the team that fell to 3-5. They allowed the Eagles to make more plays on both sides of the football.
Offensively, the Jaguars are still stagnant when it comes to running the football. Just 70 yards of total rushing for the team is not a winning recipe, especially when 43 of those yards come from a scrambling quarterback.
Moving forward, if RB Leonard Fournette is to remain sidelined, it is imperative for T.J. Yeldon and Carlos Hyde to establish some form of running game. That certainly won't be easy with a decimated offensive line.
This loss is not on QB Blake Bortles. It is easy to blame him for every problem, but this game does not fall on him. Blake made good decisions when throwing the ball and did not turn the ball over once.
He looked good overall and even made plays with his legs that helped extend drives and led to scores. He, however, does not receive nearly enough help on the outside or out of the backfield when he is passing.
Again, drops plagued the team and even stifled a scoring opportunity when rookie receiver DJ Chark dropped a touchdown pass that hit him in the hands. The ball may have not been placed in the best spot, but as an NFL receiver, if a ball hits you in the hands with no defender on you, you have to come down with it.
On the opposite side of the football, the defense got to play like the defense it has been known to be. Two early takeaways were key in getting a fast start for the Jaguars. Four sacks and five tackles for a loss are also a great number for the defense, the likes of which had been spotty thus far in the season.
The number that is concerning is third-down efficiency for the Eagles offense. The Eagles converted seven of 12 third-downs, almost 60 percent.
To be a great defense, which we are far from, you have to get the offense off the field. For example, on third-down and 11, QB Carson Wentz was able to extend a play by scrambling for 13 yards and picking up a much-needed fourth-quarter first down.
The very next play was a touchdown pass from Wentz to Dallas Goedert that put the Eagles up by nine, pretty much sealing the game.
A special recognition should probably be noted here for kicker Josh Lambo. Lambo has yet to miss a field goal this season, only missing one in his year and a half in Jacksonville. Lambo nailed a 57-yard field goal, putting the Jags up 6-3 in the second quarter, giving the Jags their only lead of the game. Good job in London, Lambo.
This was certainly a winnable game. This loss, as tough as it is to swallow, is not a reason to give up all hope for the season. The defense and quarterback played well. The whole team just needs to do so now.
It is time to regroup, get healthy and get ready for a divisional game against Indianapolis in a couple of weeks. There is still hope.
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