O-Zone Late Night: 49ers 44, Jaguars 33
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – This sure wasn't the way the Jaguars wanted to win their first AFC South title.
Not even close.
The Jaguars lost to the San Francisco 49ers, 44-33, at Levi's Stadium Sunday afternoon – creating the odd dynamic of losing in disappointing fashion on the day they accomplished one of their most significant preseason goals.
Yes, clinching the division was cool. And important. And it must be noted that the Jaguars very much earned at least some feeling of satisfaction from doing so. They hadn't won a division title in 18 years, and winning the South the way they won all season will be and should be remembered as a major accomplishment.
It just didn't feel right Sunday. Quarterback Blake Bortles threw a season-high three interceptions and a Jaguars defense that dominated opponents much of the season let 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo have a huge day for a fourth victory in as many 49ers starts.
There also were errors and discipline issues that severely hurt the Jaguars' chances in the second half.
Sunday didn't mean the Jaguars won't have a chance for a postseason run. It does mean they have some significant areas to get right in the coming couple of weeks.
Let's get to it …
Josh from Savannah, GA:
This is undisciplined and immature. The age of the defense is showing.
John: This was sent during a third/fourth-quarter drive by the 49ers on which the Jaguars committed two 15-yard, after-the-whistle penalties – one on linebacker Myles Jack and another on defensive end Yannick Ngakoue – and a holding penalty by defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. You're absolutely right, right, right. The 49ers led 23-19 at the time and the Ngakoue penalty turned a third down into a first down. This is a big-time talented defense, but the lack of composure on that drive was glaring. Head Coach Doug Marrone talked extensively afterward about the need to get this corrected and he's right. You can't give away yards and first downs in tight games and expect to win. Not in the regular season and certainly not in the postseason.
Matt from Midlothian, VA:
Ummm, we can't start like that against the Patriots and expect to come back like this.
John: Worry about the future when it comes. The Jaguars probably will have to win a first-round game to get to either the Patriots or Pittsburgh Steelers. If they start like that – or finish like that – in any postseason game it will be tough to come back.
Kevin from Section 124:
John, I don't understand how that fumble play is non-reviewable.
John: You're referring to a play on which 49ers running back Carlos Hyde appeared to fumble early in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars appeared to recover. The fumble didn't count because forward progress had been ruled and the rules state that that's a non-reviewable play. That's the explanation. It's not satisfying, but it's unfortunately correct.
Andrew from Los Angeles, CA:
This team does not deserve to win this game. There have been a lot of penalties and mental mistakes. This is the first time in the season that they look unfocused.
John: No argument.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Looks like the slipper finally came off Cinderella foot. Jags getting exposed.
John: Jerell's back.
Ron from Orlando, FL:
I sent you a message before the season started and the day after the trade deadline disgusted because we didn't make a move for Garoppolo. You actually posted it here in the O-Zone with the following response "Garoppolo is not a franchise quarterback. If he were a franchise quarterback, he would have drawn multiple first-round selections and not a second-round selection. What Garoppolo is, is an unproven product." We were THAT CLOSE to having the permanent answer, but clearly you and management don't have a clue and force us as fans to sit through watching an elite team be held back by a deficiency at the most important position. Nice job guys... maybe we can draft another prospect or pickup a castaway in free agency. The opportunity was there and the Jags blew it.
John: What I write has nothing to do with management, Ron – and when you find the incorrect word or phrase from my answer, give me a heads up. Merry Christmas.
Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL:
Jimmy G looked like Tom Brady on that first possession. I hope the defense wakes up from their jet lag ... or it could be a long day.
John: This wasn't the first email of the day, but it sure caught the tone of the day early, didn't it? Garoppolo at times looked like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning all rolled into one. And it did start off what with rare exceptions indeed was a long, long day.