JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser, senior correspondent Brian Sexton and team reporter Kainani Stevens offer quick thoughts on the Jaguars’ 37-17 loss to the Houston Texans in a 2023 Week 3 game at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville Sunday.
John Oehser, Jaguars Senior Writer…
- This was shocking. Sunday doesn't end the season. It's September, and 14 games remain. Still, the loss was a shock – and Head Coach Doug Pederson's serious demeanor in his post-game availability was warranted. "Right now, it's not good enough and that starts with me," he said. The Texans entered the game injured on the offensive line and in the secondary. They were winless with a rookie quarterback who had been sacked 11 times in two games and hit many more times than that. The Jaguars not only never led Sunday, they never got the Texans' lead below double digits in the second half. Much of the one-sided nature of the loss can be attributed to first-half missed opportunities, untimely dropped passes and untimely penalties. Those are correctable and the talent is there for this team to be much better than Sunday. Still: This was fairly touted as a game a team expected to win the division should win. That they didn't come close isn't good. This is the sort of game that can be looked back upon as a turning-point game and a harbinger of things to come if the Jaguars continue to play as they did Sunday. It's not time to panic. But it's time to start executing and doing what this team believes it can do. "Hopefully this will be good for us and we'll respond," quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. Hopefully.
- Wash, rinse, repeat. The opponent was different, but the theme was the same. The Jaguars lost a winnable home game Sunday largely because of missed opportunities and mistakes – particularly in a first half Pederson called "unacceptable." The Jaguars moved relatively effectively throughout Sunday's game and outgained the Texans 404-366, but they failed to score on four possessions past midfield in the first half: A missed 48-yard field goal by kicker Brandon McManus, a blocked field goal, a drive that ended on a punt after a costly penalty on guard Brandon Scherff negated a fourth-down conversion and a lost fumble by wide receiver Jamal Agnew. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley also dropped a would-be touchdown pass and another would-be first down pass in Texans territory. Those mistakes defined the first half and essentially repeated the first half in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last week in which the Jaguars scored six points on five possessions past midfield. Lawrence called it a "bad day, a really bad day, execution-wise." Sunday was that on a baffling level, and that's two consecutive weeks that has been the case. That's a trend few expected.
Brian Sexton, Jaguars Senior Correspondent …
- Early adversity. It doesn't matter who is playing for the opponent and who is inactive if you stumble and bumble all over the field. For that matter, it doesn't matter that they had a rookie quarterback. The Jaguars didn't just let the Texans hang around Sunday; they let them dominate. I wrote "early adversity" in my notebook after Ridley's drop at the goal line in the first quarter. He followed that with two penalties and another drop in the first half, McManus missed a routine field goal and had another blocked and the Jaguars shot themselves in the foot with penalties and turnovers the rest of the way to a 17-0 halftime deficit. What doesn't show in the stats is the complete absence of pressure against a makeshift offensive line or the inability to control the line of scrimmage against a defensive front that isn't that talented or deep. It was as difficult a half of football to watch since the first half of the Wild Card game in January.
- It didn't get any better. Just when you thought the Jaguars were going to rally, they allowed 255-pound fullback Andrew Beck – who muffed the kickoff – to pick it up on the bounce and run away from the coverage for an 85-yard touchdown to push the lead to 24-10. Then, after the Jaguars cut the lead to 10 with more than 10 minutes remaining, cornerback Darious Williams blew the coverage on Texans wide receiver Tank Dell and allowed a 68-yard touchdown pass to put the game out of reach with nine minutes remaining. Credit the Texans. They made the Jaguars pay for every mistake they made. But the Jaguars played as poorly as you could possibly imagine a week after talking about how poorly they practiced preparing for a Week 2 loss to Kansas City. I couldn't write this script with Asher Grodman's help.
Kainani Stevens, Jaguars Team Reporter/Producer ...
- Comedy of errors. The Jaguars in the first half looked every bit the team they were early last season – making mental mistakes, committing costly penalties and just overall underperforming to start the game. This was another poor week of offensive play as the Jags didn't score until the third quarter. The Jaguars dug themselves into a hole early then frantically attempted a second half comeback. Sound familiar? After consecutive lackluster performances, it is becoming clear the 2023 Jaguars have not changed their spots ... at least not yet.
- Keeping on running. If there was a silver lining Sunda, it would be the establishment of the run game. Running back Travis Etienne Jr. continues to look impressive this season and rookie running back Tank Bigsby played the goal-line role to perfection with the first Jaguars touchdown of the game. I hope the continued success of the run game will open things up elsewhere on the offense, but it remains to be seen.