JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines five key plays/moments that shaped the Jaguars' 34-16 loss to the Detroit Lions at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday
1.Adrian Peterson touchdown, midway through first quarter. The key here wasn't as much a particular play as the Lions' dominance on the first two drives. Peterson – the Lions' veteran running back – capped a 50-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run with 7:37 remaining in the first quarter, but the Lions took momentum early by forcing the Jaguars to go three-and-out on the game's first possession. The Lions then drove quickly – and too easily – for the go-ahead touchdown. Lions quarterback Matt Stafford keyed the drive with a 17-yard scramble on 3rd-and-7 from the Jaguars 37 and then kept the drive alive again with a two-yard sneak on 4th-and-1 from the Jaguars 1. The drive marked the fourth time in six games the Jaguars' opponent has scored on its first possession.
2.D'Andre Swift 54-yard run, late first quarter. This came early on the Lions' second series, with Swift popping through a huge hole on the right side of the line for a 54-yard gain to the Jaguars 21. This came immediately after Jaguars kicker Jon Brown converted from 31 yards to pull the Jaguars to within four points, 7-3. "It's just execution," middle linebacker Joe Schobert said. "Schobert said. "You've got a gapped-out defense. Everybody has their gap, and everybody has to do their job. And when one guy pops out of his gap, somebody behind him doesn't have the chance for the quick reaction to make them right – whether that's D-line, linebackers or secondary." Swift capped the drive with a one yard run early in the second quarter to push the Lions' lead to 14-3 with 13:41 remaining in the second quarter. Swift rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries and the Lions outrushed the Jaguars 180-44. "You've got to be accountable," Schobert said. "We've got to get better at that, and it's been preached and preached to us. Guys take it seriously, but, [we're] a young, young team and sometimes you've got to learn trial by fire and how quick that can hurt you in the NFL."
3.Gardner Minshew II fumble, late in first half. This didn't lead to a Lions score, but it cost the Jaguars a chance to get back in the game. The Jaguars took possession at their 25 just after the two-minute warning -- time to cut into a 17-3 Lions lead. The drive reached the Lions 45 with :39 remaining, but Minshew – the Jaguars' second-year quarterback – threw incomplete to rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. Minshew on the ensuing play was sacked by Lions defensive end Trey Flowers, who stripped the ball as Minshew tried to throw. It was Minshew's second turnover of the first half and the Jaguars finished the half with seven first downs and 108 total yards. "They're a very good defense and very well coached," Minshew said. "They did a good job mixing their blitzes and mixing their coverage. We never really got settled in and we just need to do a better job starting faster and getting in that rhythm a little sooner."
4.Four and out, early third quarter. This came early in the second half for the Jaguars, and all-but secured the Lions' victory. Schobert and defensive end Jabaal Sheard combined to bat Stafford's pass into the air, with Schobert alertly intercepting to give the Jaguars a first down at the Lions 20 early in the third quarter. The Jaguars squandered the opportunity to cut into what was then a 17-3 Lions lead when Minshew's pass to wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. to the short left on 4th-and-4 from the Lions 14 was batted into the air by cornerback Amani Oruwariye for a turnover on downs. "On the fourth-down play, the ball was a little bit behind them on the slant route," Head Coach Doug Marrone said. "A lot of times, it's just trying to keep trying to dial it up until you can find ways to create some separation and create some plays. Right now, we're not able to do that, we're not able to get the clean pocket, step it up and go in at times when we need it. And then times when we have the clean pocket, we're not probably getting it either opened enough or we're not throwing it enough. There are just so many things that are going into it and I think that's where it leads to the frustration. We've tried everything and we're going to continue to keep trying."
5.Golladay's flying leap, early third quarter. The Lions controlled the game throughout, but the Jaguars stayed within two touchdowns throughout the first half. Then, they had a chance to cut it to a touchdown after Schobert's interception. But after the Jaguars went four and out, the Lions drove quickly to a three-touchdown lead – with wide receiver Kenny Golladay keying a nine-play, 86-yard drive with a spectacular leaping reception for a 48-yard gain to the Jaguars 6. Golladay adjusted when the ball was in the air and jumped over cornerback Sidney Jones IV to make the reception. The Lions scored four plays later, taking a 24-3 lead when Stafford passed one yard to tight end T.J. Hockenson on fourth-and-goal from the 1. The Jaguars never got closer than two touchdowns again.