JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines the game that was in the Jaguars' 9-6 loss to the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday
"WE DIDN'T EXECUTE"
Blake Bortles put it simply.
"Offensively we didn't play good," the Jaguars' fifth-year quarterback said after the Jaguars' failed to score a touchdown Sunday. "We killed ourselves. We made stupid penalties, drops, missing throws. We have to not hurt ourselves.
"I think especially the way our defense is and the way they play … we have to score one touchdown and win the game … not score six points in four quarters. That's bad as an offense."
Bortles thoughts on the Jaguars' third loss in the last three meetings with Tennessee were echoed through the home locker room Sunday.
"It was all us," wide receiver Keelan Cole said. "We made mistakes in crucial situations."
The Jaguars, a week after scoring four offensive touchdowns in a 31-20 victory over the New England Patriots, did not score a touchdown Sunday. That marked the second consecutive game the Jaguars' offense was held without a touchdown against the Titans; the Jaguars' lone touchdown in a 15-10 loss to the Titans in Week 17 in Nashville last season came on a fumble return for a touchdown by defensive end Yannick Ngakoue.
The Jaguars trailed the Titans 30-3 in Jacksonville in September of last season before scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns in a 37-16 Week 2 loss.
"I know that other times that we've played them since I've been here as head coach that we haven't done a good job in scoring points against them," Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said. "We have to do a better job of that and that comes with execution. …
"We all know we can execute when we do it the right way, but today we didn't execute."
Bortles, a week after a four-touchdown, 382-yard performance against the Patriots, completed 21 of 34 passes for 155 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions Sunday. He had multiple passes dropped and was sacked three times. He also had three passes deflected at the line of scrimmage on a third-quarter series.
Bortles called the effort "a goose egg," adding that scoring six points in a game "is hard to do."
The six points marked the Jaguars' low output in Marrone's tenure as head coach, including two games as interim head coach at the end of the 2016 season.
"They do the same thing everybody else does," Bortles said of the Titans. "We just didn't execute. We have to make plays. We can't be first and 20, second and 20. We get the opportunity, we need to make the play. Do what we do all week in practice. Just translate that to the field. We have to move the ball. Continue to get first downs and put up points. We just didn't do that today. …"
"It just came down to the lack of execution, I think, on our part."
Marrone afterward talked about several turning-point moments Sunday, including an early fake punt attempt that led to a Titans field goal. "That's totally on me," he said. Safety Cody Davis took a direct snap on 4th-and-4 from the Jaguars 46 and handed to running back Corey Grant, who was stopped short of the first down. "I always regret decisions that don't work," Marrone said. "I just wanted to be aggressive early and had the look. It looked good in practice and we didn't execute it." The Jaguars appeared to stop the Titans six plays later, but a sack/fumble recovered by end Dante Fowler Jr. was reversed when defensive tackle Malik Jackson was called for lowering his head to initiate contact on Titans quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Titans kicker Ryan Succop's 39-yard field goal four plays after the would-be fumble made it 3-0, Titans, with 4:59 remaining in the first quarter.
Marrone also commented afterward on the Jaguars punting on 4th-and-3 from the Jaguars 32 with 2:51 remaining trailing, 9-6. The Titans took possession at their 24 and got a key first down when quarterback Marcus Mariota converted 3rd-and-1 with a 15-yard run to the Titans 48. The Jaguars regained possession with :19 remaining but failed to reach midfield "I was thinking about the timeouts," Marrone said. "I was thinking, 'OK, if we stop them I wanted to flip the field.' We didn't do a good job of flipping the field when we had a chance. Flip the field, use the time outs, we were going to go fast. So really that was the thought process, and then get the ball back with better field position."
Marrone: "We put a lot of effort on division games and we went out there today and obviously didn't perform well, including myself."
Bortles: "You go into an NFL season and you want to win every game you play. I think realistically you are going to lose a game. You're going to lose a couple of games. You don't want to. You don't expect to but it's going to happen. I think we need to find out and figure out how we are going to handle it as a team."
Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue: "It's about wins and losses, but at the end of the day, it's all about how you bounce back as a team and organization."
Defensive tackle Abry Jones: "There's nothing to enjoy. We gave up nine points and if we give up three, we win. That's how we see it. There's no set number that makes it a good or bad day. If you take a loss, it's a bad day."