JACKSONVILLE – Leonard Fournette didn’t know his number of carries Sunday.
As the Jaguars’ running back saw it, the number mattered little.
“It’s all about winning at the end of the day,” Fournette said Sunday after the Jaguars’ 16-13 loss to the Washington Redskins in the 2018 regular-season home finale at TIAA Bank Field.
Fournette, the No. 4 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft and the Jaguars’ starter at running back when healthy this season, rushed 11 times for 46 yards Sunday. He rushed just once for 25 yards in the second half. Fournette said he was not injured.
Reserve running back Dave Williams rushed four times for 21 yards in the second half, with reserve running back T.J. Yeldon running two times for six yards in the second half.
Head Coach Doug Marrone said Williams had a good week of practice.
“We wanted to see Williams in there,” Marrone said.
Added Fournette: “That was the game plan coming in.”
The Jaguars rushed for 172 yards on 26 carries, with quarterback Cody Kessler leading the team with 68 yards on six carries. Fournette rushed for 46 yards on 11 carries with Williams rushing for 32 yards on five carries and Yeldon rushing for six yards on three carries. Wide receiver Dede Westbrook rushed once for 20 yards.
“We’ve just got to get our chemistry better with our offensive line,” Fournette said. “A lot of us aren’t used to playing with each other. It’s about communication with us, too, the running backs and the offensive line.”
Running back Carlos Hyde, acquired in a midseason trade with the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a fifth-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, was a healthy inactive for the Jaguars Sunday.
Fournette on Sunday also was the Jaguars’ kickoff returner, marking the first time in his two NFL seasons he has played that role. The Redskins kicked away from Fournette on their first kickoff and had touchbacks on their ensuing three kickoffs. Fournette said he last returned kickoffs as a college freshman. “Just trying to do as much as I can and help the team out,” he said, adding that his returning kickoffs was his idea and that of the coaches.
Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith said he dedicated Sunday’s game to Barry Church, who started 16 games last season and the first 12 this season for the Jaguars at strong safety. Church, who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent from Dallas in the 2017 offseason and who was expected to be released following this season for salary cap reasons, was released on Friday. He had been inactive in his final game with the Jaguars – a 30-9 loss to Tennessee last week. “You don’t ever want to start a season with somebody and end up losing [them],” Smith said. “At the end of the day, you’re a part of it, you know what I mean? Yeah, it’s his job to go out and do whatever, but it’s family. You start a journey with everybody, you finish it together and then work it out.”
The Jaguars’ highlight of the game: a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown by Westbrook with :04 remaining in the first half. It marked the Jaguars’ first special teams touchdown of the season. “It felt good, but at the end of the day it wasn’t enough,” Westbrook said. “The guys blocked it up great. It’s pretty much how we drew it up. I didn’t get touched, obviously, so that goes to the credit of the guys blocking up front. All I had to do was run.”
Kessler, in his third game as the Jaguars’ starter, completed nine of 17 passes for 57 yards and no touchdowns with a late-game interception that Fabian Moreau returned to the Redskins 45 to set up Washington’s game-winning drive. Kessler, who has been sacked 13 times in three starts, was sacked six times Sunday losses of 37 yards – meaning the Jaguars had 20 yards net passing Sunday, the lowest in franchise history. “They’ve been playing great,” Kessler said of the offensive line. “The guys that are in there right now and guys are playing new positions and bouncing around, but they’ve played great. They played their tails off and like I said, I’d go to battle with those guys any day.”
Defensive end Calais Campbell: “It seems the whole game, we were in control and at the end, the ball bounced their way a couple of times and they capitalized on those opportunities when they needed to. At the end of the day, it’s about making more plays than the other team and putting yourself in a position to win. We pride ourselves on making plays. This season, we’ve been pressing and pressing, close to making plays, but just not making enough to win.”
Campbell: “It’s one of those years where things didn’t go well for us. At the end of the day, we have a lot of talent and a lot to play for. If we can get some momentum going into next year, I believe with the people we have here, coaching staff included, and the players, we can be successful going forward.”
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey on whether he is worried about Marrone’s job security: “I ain’t worried about nobody but myself.”
Smith: “We just have to continue to learn from our mistakes, continue to grow and not stay stagnant.”
Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson: “You play for the name on your jersey and pride and that’s what it.
Defensive tackle Abry Jones: “This is our job and what we love to do, so we’re always going to constantly improve ourselves. But with these last two games, we will need people to step up. Everyone wants to end on a strong note. It’s already a bad year team-wise and you don’t want to end it on a bad year personally.”
Kessler: “It hurts. These ones are tough, especially these close ones. It’s on me. I have to find a way to win that one and put some more points on the board and help the offense out.”