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O-Zone: Be happy

JACKSONVILLE – Stateside. Aahh … Dennis from Winter Park, FL:
Oehs, I'm sure you got a ton of a-a-a-a-a-ngry emails on Sunday night. The second half wasn't good, O-Man. Not good at all. But the Jaguars won, so I'm feeling just dandy, thank you very much!
John: You're welcome very much, and this is a good place to start this next-day Victory Monday O-Zone. Look, we have plenty of time this week and part of next week to discuss all that went wrong in the second half on Sunday. And there's time to discuss all that still ails this team. We'll break down Toby Gerhart and why the Jaguars don't blitz more and play-calling and just what in the world happened in a hard-to-follow, harder-to-analyze second half. The bottom line is the NFL is about those kinds of games. The NFL is nuttiness, weirdness and blown leads. It's comebacks and near-miracle catches. It's feeling great because your team played well for a quarter and a half, then being angry and all bent-up inside because the other team of professional, skilled, highly-paid athletes played well for a quarter and a half, too. It's about breathing a huge sigh of relief following a game because maybe you shouldn't have won, but you did win – in thrilling fashion. The Jaguars haven't been close enough in the last two years to be in a lot of these kinds of games, and now they are. The next step is to be good enough to put teams away. Now, there's no question blowing a 24-point first-half lead was the extreme end of winning in thrilling fashion, but you know what? A whole lot had to go the Jaguars way to get that lead in the first place; it's not often you're going to get defensive touchdowns on back-to-plays and it's not often you get four touchdowns in less than seven minutes. So, that part was a little bit of an aberration. Then, the Jaguars had their own struggles throughout a hold-your-breath fourth quarter. But here's what really mattered: the Jaguars had a chance at the end of the game to win. They put together a go-ahead drive, then the defense got off the field. They closed. Because they closed, they won. Enjoy it, and get back to the angst in a day or two.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
Fans gonna fan. I throw my arms up in disgust, I jump out of my shoes for joy, I tense up, I flip out and give up, I somehow still stick around and feel the joy of a win. Please, sir … may I have another?
John: What you saw Sunday was the NFL. Victories aren't always easy, and sometimes they're scary ugly. Sunday's game in the second half was petrify-ingly ugly. And then it wasn't.
Deb from Jacksonville:
John, How long are we going to continue with Jason Myers? His college record was less than stellar and all he seems to be doing here is hanging on to a paycheck.
John: That's a good question. David Caldwell and Gus Bradley both said when the decision was made to go with Myers that they were willing to ride it out through some ups and down. He has missed three extra points, including two in the last two games. The truth is there have been more downs than ups and even with the longer distance this year, three missed extra points are not good. I don't agree that he's just hanging on to a paycheck. He wants to be good very badly, but it's a struggle right now.
Chris from Jacksonville:
We won in spite of coaching. Glad to get the win; still disheartened by Gus.
John: So, coaching had nothing to do with the first half? Or the long drive at the start of the second half? Or the go-ahead-score? Or the late defensive stop? I'm not saying coaching was the reason for all of the good things. I'm just saying that for the most part it probably contributed the same to good and bad plays.
Moshe from Mexico City, Mexico:
John, please do not defend the coaches this time. After failing to score at the Bills 1-yard line, the Jaguars' offensive play-calling was terrible, ugly. The players saved the game, not the coaches.
John: That's what players are supposed to do. I wasn't big on blasting Gerhart into the line four times, and it's clear the Jaguars have trouble getting push enough on the interior in short yardage, but they overall are improved offensively through seven games. Picking apart play-calling, while fun and easy, is big-time revisionist history. I remember one particular play call in the first half that I thought was just an awful, awful call. Once T.J. Yeldon poked around at the line, cut back and fell into the end zone while being tackled, I reassessed and thought it was a darned, good call.
Zahid from Jacksonville:
I'm having hard time figuring out why the Jaguars are playing poorly after the first half. It's happening a lot and then again today I was like, 'No not again.' We gave up a 27-3 lead and almost lost the game again. I'm a die-hard fan but I almost don't wanna watch the second half each Sunday.
John: Yeah, but aren't you glad you did?
Ron from Phillipsburg:
This win feels like a lose.
John: I'll assume you're saying that the Jaguars' victory Sunday felt like a loss. If so, I get your point to the degree that the Jaguars had a whole lot of things go wrong in the second half. At the same time, what the Jaguars did after losing the lead on Sunday shouldn't be discounted. They drove the length of the field, and as he often does, Blake Bortles played well in a chaotic situation – better than he had throughout much of the second half. Allen Hurns also made a big-time play to win the game. Yes, a lot of the same things that have plagued the team in recent games showed up in the second half. And yes, there was a feeling of Déjà vu all over again when Bortles threw the Pick Six. But the Jaguars turned it around, won the game and did so with an impressive two-minute drive. That's not nothing.
Erik from Jacksonville:
I'm glad for the win even though they tried once again to lose. I am dumbfounded with the lack of ability to play an entire 60 minutes. Hopefully, the bye week will emphasize how much of a problem that is.
John: It's not as if the Jaguars aren't aware of the need to play well for an entire 60 minutes. Remember, though, this is a young team that still is very much working through these situations. The Jaguars in the past three or so seasons haven't exactly played with a lot of double-digit leads. Linebacker Telvin Smith said the team lost some energy in the second half. That's something that can't happen, but again, the Jaguars recovered and won. It's OK to focus on that for at least a day.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
Man... I was really, really angry for a little while.
John: And then?
Andrew from Tehachapi:
Victory, but I'm not happy. That was sloppy and ugly and we didn't earn it. Buffalo did everything they could to lose, and the Jags almost failed to take advantage of it.
John: Yes, but they did take advantage of it. This is where the Jaguars are right now. They're not a team that usually is going to put teams away. Yes, things were brilliant – see what I did there? – early. They were going along swimmingly – there, too – and it looked like an easy victory. They should have put the Bills away, yes, but after getting the lead they struggled – then failed to take advantage of a really, really good drive to start the second half. If the Jaguars get one final yard on that drive, the game probably doesn't get real close at the end and we're talking about how jolly good – all right, enough – the Jaguars played. The Jaguars had been talking about closing out games. On Sunday, Blake Bortles threw a 31-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Allen Hurns on a drive on which Allen Robinson made two huge catches. A drive later, cornerback Aaron Colvin made a big play to deflect the pass to secure the victory. That's game-changing plays from four second-year players – and we haven't even mentioned Telvin Smith. This was a nice victory. Some good, young players showed up. That's OK at this stage.
Chris from Heath, TX:
The Jason Myers experiment needs to end now.
John: I'm getting a lot of this. I don't have a feel for it yet, but it obviously has to be a concern.
Brian from Gainesville, FL:
Big O, why is Myers still a Jaguar? They took a shot on him over Scobee and it is not working out. Time to move on. Please don't give your stock answer of "because the Jaguars believe in him" or some other such response. What is your analysis for why Myers is still on this team?
John: Because the Jaguars believe in him. That's not a stock answer. He has a strong leg and the Jaguars believe he'll get better. That's the only conceivable answer, so there it is.
Kevin from Section 124:
Players, not plays John. Yeldon > Gerhart. Always.
John: Yeah, maybe.
Double G from Houston:
If the London game is a Jags home game, why is there a Bills logo painted in one end zone?
John: I noticed that, too. The best way to put it is while it's a home game, the NFL tries to promote both teams in their international series. The stadium as a whole – from signage to fans – was pretty Jaguars-oriented … and I'll guess you just have to live with the logo.
Michael from Newport News, VA:
Welcome to a happy inbox. I take everything I said earlier back
John: No worries.

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