INDIANAPOLIS – Close wasn't enough.
The unfortunate thing about how the Jaguars played for theentire month of October and Sunday's first half of the first game of November is this: it made what might have been an encouraging second half Sunday afternoon feel empty.
The Jaguars lost to the Indianapolis Colts, 29-26, at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday.
They played OK offensively for much of the game, and they played better than OK defensively in the second half. The problem was they played perhaps their worst defensive game of the season in the first half, which proved too much to overcome in what essentially was a must-win game.
Quarterback Blake Bortles was good Sunday. The offense for the most part was good. Running back Leonard Fournette returned and had an impact.
But the defense allowed four first-half touchdowns, which negated the feel-good second-half shutout as the Jaguars' offense scraped its way back into the game.
The Jaguars are now 3-6. They are three games behind in the AFC South. The playoffs weren't eliminated as a possibility Sunday, but the hopes are slim enough to not discuss them anymore unless a lot changes.
Yeah, the Jaguars were close Sunday. But close wasn't enough.
Let's get to it …
Jacob from Auburn, AL
Injuries have taken an obvious and massive toll on this team this year. I know the team won't quit, but is it safe to say playoff aspirations are safely out the window after this game?
Mark from Crescent Beach, FL
Our defense just looks lost. Myles Jack is over-pursuing, not making plays. The secondary has looked bad most of the year and on first drive they continue their sorry play. What you think O: let's talk draft?
This was the much-ballyhooed, long-awaited, oft-lauded First Email of the Game. Yeah, the defense looked lost early – really lost. No, I'm not talking draft. Not yet. Go for it, though. Talk amongst yourself. I can't stop you.
Tim from Fernandina Beach, FL
John: Please explain Malik Jackson's roughing-the-passerpenalty. The Jags called a time out and that stops everything. Why was the play allowed to continue and a penalty called? The ref should have blown the whistle to stop the play!
The play indeed was stopped, but the stoppage of play does not give players a free pass for unsportsmanlike conduct. Jackson, for example, couldn't have been called for holding on the negated play. He could be called for unsportsmanlike conduct – and that was what happened.
Lost Hope from Up North
3-13 here we come. I guess last year was a fluke.
You don't make the AFC Championship Game on a fluke. You also aren't guaranteed anything the following season by playing in the AFC Championship Game. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said that repeatedly throughout the offseason. The team is proving him very right.
Robert from Titusville
Has this team quit or are they really this bad?
This email came early, but it's worth addressing in the immediate aftermath. The first-half defense was bad enough that questions about quitting were understandable. But this team has shown in each of the last two games it hasn't quit. That will be something to watch going forward; at 3-6, it's OK to watch for such things. But this team showed heart Sunday.
Jeremy from Wise, VA
Did the defense forget to make the trip to Indy? I thought they could lean on the defense coming out of the break, but jeez, they look lost.
The first-half performance for the Jaguars' defense was about as bad an effort from the unit as I can remember. I'm sure there were worse between 2012-2017 because there was so much bad going on in those seasons, but the early performance at such a critical game coming out of the bye … well, it was unacceptable. And bad. And all of those other words that are negative. It got better in the second half. It was too late.
Big on Blake from Philly
Rashad Greene? RASHAD GREENE?! In one of the most pivotal downs of the entire season, why was he even on the field? 3rd and 1. In four-down territory, knocking on Lambo's field-goal distance for a tying attempt to force overtime, at the least. And Nate "Too Smart for his Own Good" Hackett draws up a pass (wrong) to Rashad Greene Sr. atrocious). C'mon Man.
When wide receiver Keelan Cole played his way out of some playing time in recent weeks, it created an opportunity for Greene. As Marrone said afterward, the Jaguars lead the league in fumbles after receptions. That's a bad statistic. The Jaguars have a lot of them this season. It felt kind of fitting that the loss that might effectively end the team's playoff hopes ended on a late-game giveaway. This team avoided plays like that for the most part last season. This season? Not so much. Hence, 3-6.
Jordan from Jacksonville
Good teams don't lose five in a row.
This is fair.