INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Calais Campbell saw Sunday simply.
His outlook for the season is simple, too.
Campbell, the Jaguars’ veteran defensive end and team captain, said the Jaguars simply didn’t stop the run close to well enough in a 33-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday – and added that the Jaguars absolutely must improve in that area moving forward.
“We can’t let them run the way we did today,” Campbell said, adding, “No ifs, ands or buts about it. That’s the deal.”
Running back Marlon Mack rushed for 109 yards in 14 carries and running back Jonathan Williams rushed for 116 yards on 13 carries, becoming the first Colts players in franchise history to rush for more than 100 yards in the same game. The Colts finished with 264 yards on 36 carries as a team.
“We tried to stop the run a couple of different ways and we weren’t able to do it,” Head Coach Doug Marrone said. “We’ve got to take a good look at ourselves and figure that out.”
Marrone said the Jaguars “tried everything” to stop the run Sunday, and that the problem was a matter of multiple issues including tackling, bad fits in run gaps and being out of gas physically.
“When a team rushes for that many yards, it’s not going to be one thing – I can tell you that,” Marrone said. “It’s going to be multiple things and it seems like we could never get it stopped.
Sunday’s game marked the third time this season the Jaguars have allowed more than 200 yards rushing, and it marked the second time in as many games that has happened. The Jaguars allowed a season-high 285 yards in a loss to Carolina in Week 5 and 216 in a loss to Houston two weeks ago – the game before the team’s bye week.
“We’ll wear it,” Campbell said. “We missed a lot of tackles. We weren’t assignment-sound at different times. They capitalized when we made mistakes. This is very reminiscent of the Carolina game and last week when we were missing tackles and not being assignment-sound. We have to wear it; it has happened too many times.
“When we shut down the run, we give ourselves a great opportunity to win. But when we don’t stop the run, you’re going to lose that game every time.”
Marrone was asked after Sunday’s game if he planned to start Nick Foles at quarterback the rest of the season. He said he did. Foles played for the first time since sustaining a broken clavicle in Week 1 against Kansas City, completing 33 of 47 passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. “They did a nice job in their zone,” Foles said of the Colts. Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II had a 4-4 record in Foles’ place.
Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette rushed for 23 yards on eight carries Sunday, with the team as a whole rushing nine times for 29 yards. The nine carries marked the lowest number in franchise history. Fournette afterward answered questions succinctly. “That’s a coach question,” Fournette said when asked about the number of opportunities. “I couldn’t tell you. There are certain things that are out of my control.” Marrone afterward also addressed the issue. “We were trying to make plays,” Marrone said. “We felt good. On the second possession we went down there and scored [on a touchdown pass from quarterback Nick Foles to wide receiver DJ Chark Jr.], and we felt good about it. We had some negative stuff in there [in the running game]. We were throwing the football and felt good about it, but obviously it wasn’t good enough. That’s on me.”
Marrone blamed himself for challenging a non-defensive pass interference call Sunday, a failed challenge that therefore cost the Jaguars a timeout. Foles on the play from the Jaguars 34 threw deep to Chark, and Marrone challenged that the Colts defender interfered with Chark. “It was right in front of me,” Marrone said. “I’ve got to better job, obviously, between what in my mind of clear and obvious and what is egregious. I thought it was clear and obvious to me. I think the way it’s going, it’s got to be egregious. Obviously, there wasn’t enough for them to put the flag down. I just felt like it was a foul. I was wrong.” The NFL implemented a rule this past offseason allowing coaches to challenge pass interference, but officials this season rarely have overturned calls on the field.
Marrone: “I told the team that if you practice well, if you prepare well, you’re going to perform well … that’s on me. I’m responsible for penalties. I’m responsible for the way the team plays. I’m responsible for how they get ready to play on Sunday. I’ve got to do a better job getting this team ready to go.”
Foles: “I think the big thing is, ‘Don’t press.’ It’s easy to press in this situation and think the sky is falling and the world’s over. It’s not. We’re blessed to play a game. The leadership will come from everybody because it will be looking at the film and being critical of yourself and then going out there and improving. It’s extremely hard [to not press] if you’re outside looking in, because you don’t understand how you can handle it. You lose a game and you get beat pretty good. It’s like, ‘How can a team bounce back?’ The guys in the locker room, their personalities and who they are, is going to dictate that.’’’
Chark: “I felt like we were always one or two steps away from a big play. They were out there. We just didn’t capitalize on the opportunities we had.”
Wide receiver Chris Conley: “As an offense, we all need to elevate. There were some things we missed and not all of that is his [Foles] fault. Some of that is us as receivers, we have to tighten things up for him and get on the same page with him.”