NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Senior writer John Oehser's five takeaways from the Jaguars' 42-39 loss to the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee Sunday …
1. Disheartening defense.We begin this takeaways on defense, and Sunday represented one of the unit's low points this season. The Jaguars not only had their usual problems generating pressure with four down linemen, and they not only allowed 467 yards and five touchdowns defensively, they allowed 210 yards rushing. "It is disheartening," Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said. "We didn't play up to our capabilities – the missed tackles, the third downs, the not getting pressure … I don't want to make a snap judgment right now, but we have to find a way (defensively). We're better than what took place." Even discounting runs by quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Titans rushed for 98 yards. Mariota threw three touchdowns passes, and his 87-yard touchdown scramble after evading a blitz was the game's key plays. "We're still giving up big plays, and that's what we have to stop," said linebacker Telvin Smith, a bright spot defensively with two sacks. With the pass rush continuing its season-long struggles, the Jaguars tried a variety of defensive approaches Sunday, from rushing seven on the 87-yarder to rushing three and dropping eight into coverage. "To be honest with you, we tried everything," Bradley said.
2. Six for six.So much for those much-discussed red-zone woes. After entering the game 30th in the NFL having converted 15 of 36 red-zone opportunities into touchdowns, the Jaguars turned that statistic around in the biggest way possible with touchdowns on all six red-zone possessions. "We felt like the (red-zone) scheme was good – it's just timing and tight windows and making plays," Bradley said. "Overall, I just thought we executed better down there." The touchdowns included three passes by quarterback Blake Bortles to wide receiver Allen Robinson, one pass to rookie wide receiver Rashad Greene, one pass to tight end Julius Thomas and a one-yard run by rookie running back T.J. Yeldon. "We'll have to continue to stay after it," Bortles said. "Early in the season we had some struggles in the red zone. We corrected it, then went back and slumped a little bit. We'll stay on it."
3. Breaking out – again.You might call this a breakout game for second-year wide receiver Allen Robinson except that he has been breaking out all season. Still, his performance Sunday was memorable: 10 receptions, 153 yards and three touchdowns. He now has 65 receptions for 1,080 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, and when he moved past the 1,000-yard mark for the season Sunday he became the first Jaguars player with more than 1,000 yards receiving since Jimmy Smith in 2005. But Robinson's game Sunday was about more than statistics, and his season has been about more than reaching a plateau that hasn't been reached around the Jaguars in too long. He has become a bonafide, go-to receiver and has the look of a budding, elite superstar."He's something special," Bortles said. While his performance Sunday came in a loss, there were times an emotional, focused Robinson seemed to will the Jaguars to stay in the game almost single-handedly. That's elite-level stuff, and he more and more has that look.
4. Record-setter.Bortles not only threw five touchdown passes, he set the franchise record for touchdown passes in a season – then set it again and again. Bortles' second touchdown pass Sunday gave him 24 for the season, one better than David Garrard's franchise record set in 2007. "I'd definitely rather break the franchise record for wins," Bortles said. Bortles's five-touchdown, no-interception performance with more than 320 yards passing Sunday made him the youngest players in NFL history to accomplish the feat. Bortles, after throwing 11 touchdowns and 17 interceptions as a rookie last season, has 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions through 12 games this season. "I think Blake has had a hell of a year," Robinson said. Bortles also completed 24 of 36 passes for 322 yards and finished with a passer rating of 134.5. Bortles' performance came in a game in which Allen Hurns – the Jaguars' second-leading receiver – did not play. "It's a tribute to those guys that filled in," Bortles said. "Those guys do an unbelievable job, and I thought we protected well. It's a good sign to have one of your top guys not play and still play well."
5. Another tough day.Jason Myers' struggles continued Sunday in a big way. The rookie kicker improved his field-goal accuracy in the last month and a half, but his two missed extra points on Sunday were costly. Not only did the misses cost the Jaguars two points, they missed another point on a failed two-point conversion following their second touchdown. That missed point after came with the Jaguars trailing 14-12, with the deficit prompting Bradley to attempt the two-point conversion rather than kicking. While the chart that dictates such decisions indicated the Jaguars should have kicked, Bradley said he went for two in an effort to give the team energy. "I think we needed some momentum going our way," Bradley said. "The chart said to kick the extra point. It was on me. I decided to go for two to stimulate our guys and get the energy back to where, 'All right … What took place took place. Let's move on.''' Myers now has missed six extra points this season, including three in the last two games.