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Jaguars Plagued By Mistakes: Quick Thoughts on Loss to Browns

Quick Thoughts (postgame) - Week 14

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Senior writer John Oehser, senior correspondent Brian Sexton and team reporter Kainani Stevens offer quick thoughts on the Jaguars' 31-27 loss to the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium in a 2023 Week 14 game in Cleveland, Ohio, Sunday

John Oehser, Jaguars Senior Writer…

  1. Not enough – but not tragic. Sunday was frustrating at times for the Jaguars, encouraging at others and ultimately disappointing. While the gutsiness of quarterback Trevor Lawrence – and much of an injured roster – shouldn't be overlooked against a Browns team that is really good at home, the bottom line is the Jaguars on Sunday lost a second consecutive game and missed a chance to extend their AFC South lead to two games with four regular-season games remaining. The defense for a second consecutive game struggled against a reserve quarterback, though it somewhat made up for those struggled with big takeaways at key times. Perhaps the best news for the Jaguars Sunday: They still lead the AFC South by a game over the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans, both of whom lost in one-sided fashion Sunday – the Colts to the Cincinnati Bengals and the Texans to the New York Jets. One thought here is this team deserves credit for playing scrappy and giving themselves a chance in difficult circumstances, the most notable of which was Lawrence playing six days after sustaining a high-ankle sprain. On Sunday, adversity was a bit too much to overcome. This loss will sting. It would have stung a lot more if the Jaguars didn't still lead the division and control their postseason destiny.
  1. Too many turnovers. Multiple issues hurt the Jaguars Sunday. Injuries played a role, as did a Jaguars defense that allowed two quick – and long – touchdown drives in the first half to allow the Browns to take control of the game. Perhaps most harmful to the Jaguars' chances: The inability to protect the ball for much of the game, with their four giveaways perhaps the game's key statistic. "The turnovers were big," Head Coach Doug Pederson said. "You can't do that." Lawrence was intercepted twice in the first half, with wide receiver Calvin Ridley not looking for the pass on the second interception. That ended a potential tying drive at the Browns eight with 1:47 remaining in the half and the Browns leading 14-7. The Jaguars the started the second half with their third turnover of the game when wide receiver Parker Washington losing a fumble at the Jaguars 22. Browns running back Kareem Hunt's four-yard run capped the ensuing drive for a 21-7 Browns lead. "You can't play that way and win typically," Lawrence said. The Browns are good. They're really good at home. But the way the Jaguars turned the ball over Sunday made it easier at times for the Browns than was necessary.

Brian Sexton, Jaguars Senior Correspondent …

  1. Trevor tried. Lawrence on Sunday was calm in the pocket with near constant pressure from Myles Garrett and Co. and he was willing to scramble on that bad ankle. But it was just too much to ask for a quarterback playing much of the game with a fourth left tackle (Blake Hance), without his security blanket wide receiver (Christian Kirk), whom always is where he is supposed to be and whom the passing game runs through. Lawrence got few meaningful practice reps and it showed. The numbers say his performance wasn't strong. However, if you watched the game, you know what you saw.
  1. Back-to-back? The Jaguars' defensive deserves credit for three takeaways, and the outcome would have been a lot worse without the defense creating short-field scoring opportunities. However, in back-to-back weeks they've allowed Cincinnati Bengals journeyman Jake Browning in his first NFL road start and 38-year-old Browns quarterback Joe Flacco – fresh off his parent's couch – to throw for more than 300 yards and score more than 30. It would be one thing for Joe Burrow and Deshaun Watson to get that on your defense; they're both $200-million-plus quarterbacks and are expected to get theirs. But Flacco and Browning combined won't make $1 million this season. It's a bad look. Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens is on tap. If they make the playoffs, the Jaguars must face quarterbacks such as Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs), Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins), Josh Allen (Bills) and maybe C.J. Stroud (Texans). They need to figure out what the problem is and who can solve it – and find out fast.

Kainani Stevens, Jaguars Team Reporter/Producer ...

  1. The big play is still a big problem. The Jaguars were shorthanded in the secondary heading into Sunday, with cornerbacks Tre Herndon and Tyson Campbell both sidelined due to injuries. The Browns were able to exploit that early on with a touchdown throw in the first quarter to tight end David Njoku – a ridiculously easy catch and jaunt into the end zone as the Jaguars sent eight players on the blitz with no one covering the deep ball. Njoku burned Jacksonville's defense all day long as the defense looked completely outmatched.
  1. Are they who we thought they were? I'll speak generally and say "we" all had high hopes for the Jaguars' offense this season. The addition of Ridley combined with the impressive winning streak at the end of last season meant high hopes heading into 2023. As Week 14 comes to a close, I think it's fair to say that high-powered offense we expected is not showing up. I've hammered the secondary for having poor communication all season, but today it was the wide receivers and Lawrence. All three interceptions thrown by Lawrence today resulted from either wrong routes or the quarterback and the receiver not being on the same page. The loss of wide receiver Zay Jones stunted this offense for weeks and it's apparent the loss of wide receiver Christian Kirk could even more painful.

It's going down in Cleveland 🐆 View game photos of the the Jaguars vs Browns matchup and come back for more second half photos added throughout the game 🏈

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