The early approach and early feel were different for the Jaguars Sunday.
That was too much the same.
The Jaguars' defense was sound at times early before struggling late. That theme defined a 33-25 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday afternoon at Paul Brown Stadium that began encouragingly for the Jaguars and finished as a third consecutive loss.
"I can't ask more from the players and coaches," Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said. "It's not from a lack of effort or lack of trying, it's more of a lack of whether we execute. And today we were in position at times and they just made the plays. And we made some."
The Jaguars, who fell behind by a touchdown or more early in the first three games of the season, led 13-10 at halftime Sunday. But the Bengals dominated afterward, taking control with scores on their first three second-half possessions.
The Jaguars took the opening kickoff after winning the pregame coin toss, the first time this season they have done so after deferring in that situation in the first three games.
Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II cut the lead to 30-22 with a two-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. with 6:14 remaining. The Bengals then held possession for nearly five minutes, pushing the lead to 33-22 with a 30-yard field goal by Randy Bullock with 1:46 remaining.
A 30-yard field goal by Jaguars kicker Aldrick Rojas with :08 remaining provided the final margin. The Bengals recovered the ensuing onside kick.
"[It's] just the small things we have to fix, but also, every week we can't say we have to fix it," said Chark, who caught eight passes for 95 yards. "We have to step up and do it and I feel like we can. I feel like we will, and I feel like we just have to be determined."
Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow completed 25 of 36 passes for 300 yards and one touchdown with one interception. Bengals running back Joe Mixon was the dominant storyline of the second half, scoring touchdowns on runs of 34 and 23 yards on the Bengals' first two third-quarter possession.
That turned the Jaguars' three-point halftime lead into a 24-13 Bengals lead midway through the third quarter. Mixon rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries for the game.
The Bengals outgained the Jaguars, 505-429.
Minshew II completed 23 of 35 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns with a first-drive interception – with both touchdowns going to Chark.
The Jaguars registered one sack – by defensive end Josh Allen – and now have four sacks in four games this season; Cincinnati entered the game having allowed a league-high 14 sacks.
The Jaguars finished the game without both linebacker Myles Jack and rookie cornerback CJ Henderson, the latter of whom left the game with a first-quarter shoulder injury and did not return.