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O-Zone Late Night: Bengals 33, Jaguars 25

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Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark (17) tries to get past Cincinnati Bengals cornerback LeShaun Sims (38) in the second half of an NFL football game in Cincinnati, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

JACKSONVILLE – There's no need for a long intro on this one.

The Jaguars lost to the Cincinnati Bengals, 33-25, Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The game wasn't as close in the fourth quarter as the score.

The defense struggled, allowing 505 yards. It also sustained a slew of injuries, with cornerback CJ Henderson and linebacker Myles Jack leaving the game. Circle the ankle injury to Jack as a key point in the game and the early part of this season.

Jack has been at a Pro Bowl level. A struggling team and defense can't afford to lose him.

There's much to discuss offensively on this one, too. Quarterback Gardner Minshew had great statistics but didn't look great most of Sunday – and he struggled again against the soft-zone defenses and contain-oriented rushes that have worked against him in the past.

We said before this one 1-3 would feel a lot different than 2-2. We were right.

Let's get to it …

Zone from Cover 3

Just sit in that zone, keep sitting in that zone. Please try something different we don't get pressure anymore.

I got many emails like this Sunday. I got many emails criticizing defensive coordinator Todd Wash, too. When left the game, the Jaguars had a seventh-round rookie (Chris Claybrooks) across from third-year veteran Tre Herndon at corner. They had third-year veteran Josh Jones and second-year veteran Andrew Wingard. Claybrooks was the only player of that group drafted by the team. The secondary struggled in the first three games. It did again Sunday. And all of that was before nickelback D.J. Hayden left on a cart in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. I don't know who is at "fault" for such a young secondary. I also don't know that there's that much to try considering the circumstances.

Bernard from Tucson, AZ

I was drinking the Kool-Aid so much I never asked this important question: how do you truly evaluate Minshew if you don't have a serviceable O-Line?

The Jaguars' offensive line is playing fine. The Jaguars have trailed by seven points in every game this season. They have trailed by at least 14 points in their last three games. No offensive line can protect a quarterback perfectly when that's the case. Is the Jaguars' offensive line among the best in the NFL? I wouldn't say that, particularly without center Brandon Linder the last two and a half games. But there is nothing about the offensive line that makes it difficult to evaluate Minshew.

Zac from Austin, tejas

OK, even though that INT just happened - it still felt better starting with the ball.

This was the much-ballyhooed, oft-anticipated, sometimes-discussed First Email of the Game – and it made the point that it felt better to take the ball than defer. Even with a first-drive interception thrown Minshew. I'm still lukewarm to taking the ball early. Get the early stop and get off the field and then get the ball to start the second half. But hey … to each their own.

Zac from Austin, tejas

So, we just pushed the opening drive score to the third quarter then …

First Email of the Second Half and considering it came after an easy first-drive-of-the-second-half touchdown by Cincinnati … so fair.

James from Salt Lake City via Jacksonville

After a few more losses, they won't be must-win games. They will be keep-on-losing games. Go Jags.

OK.

Eric from Duval

Are you a fan of how the defense is currently ran? Seems as if receivers are always running wide open, and no adjustments are being made?

I'm not a "fan." If I were, I would rather the Jaguars' secondary cover players better.

Gary from Section 440

How much longer will Todd Wash be our DC? His continued use of zone defense without blitzes really exploits our young guys. Doug Marrone must not like his job because if this keeps happening, he will no longer be a head coach.

Wash's use of zone defense without blitzes exploits the Jaguars' young guys? Perhaps. But maybe – just maybe – blitzing and leaving those young secondary players one on one in coverage would exploit them, too. At least a little?

Tony from St. Louis,

Time to switch the narrative to this season was never about winning but finding out if Minshew is the guy and fix the cap. Lol

The Jaguars' 2020 offseason was always about fixing the salary cap and that has been said often in this space. And the 2020 season always has been in part about finding out if Minshew is the guy, and that also has been said often here. But it also always about winning, so nah … no change in narrative. At least not here.

Garrett from Edgetown

Are you happy now, fans??? You made Doug take the ball to start the game. We didn't score and the Bengals score going into halftime and get the ball back. Now John's gotta come in here and try to correct all the attitudes. Good luck, zone.

Why do you ask fans this? They're never happy. But you know what? After Sunday, fans shouldn't be happy. Hell, I'm not particularly happy. And I'm always happy.

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