ATLANTA, Ga. – This time, there was no comeback.
This time, a slow Jaguars start was too much to overcome. The result: a 24-12 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Jaguars' sixth loss in seven games.
Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II struggled much of the game. He got little help from a group of receivers that struggled to get separation. He also got little help from an offensive line that struggled to pass protect. That's a lot of struggling for one paragraph, but that was the offense Sunday.
The defense? There was a slightly different storyline there. The unit allowed a long drive early and a lot of yards after that, but they intercepted Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan twice and helped keep the Jaguars within two scores entering the fourth quarter.
There was a chance for a comeback at that point, similar to last week's heart-stopping comeback at the Black Hole in Oakland. But Falcons running back Qadree Ollison's three-yard run made it a three-score game. Minshew rallied the Jaguars to within 12, but an incomplete pass into the end zone with just under five minutes remaining ended any chance of another Minshew miracle.
The Jaguars are 5-10. They have lost six of seven games since the midway point of the season, with all six losses by 12 or more points.
Let's get to it …
Bryan from Jacksonville
I'm sorry, O ... I can't take much more. Need to clean house and set a new tone for the franchise. Our guys look slow, overcoached, tired and it just seems like it's time to start a new chapter. I'm a diehard, but Kahn is seriously in jeopardy of losing the fan base if he doesn't make significant changes beyond TC.
Jaguars Owner Shad Khan will decide the direction of the franchise soon – presumably in eight days. He dismissed Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin last week, and time will tell if there are more changes. Yes, the Jaguars have looked bad at the end of this season. And yes, they looked like a slow, tired team. That often happens when seasons are lost. I anticipate Khan looking at the big picture and taking everything into account. It's not at all certain that that will mean he will "clean house," and my sense is that's not his preference. We'll see.
Rusty from New Iberia, LA
I guess it wasn't all TC's fault that this team is so horrible.
Of course, it wasn't.
Jaden from Jacksonville
Is it safe to assume if Minshew was never benched he'd still have the "hot hand."
Not at all. He had one his worst games of the season in Week 9 against the Houston Texans in London, the last game before Nick Foles returned to the lineup. Minshew's struggles in that game were among the reasons the change made sense at the time.
Jeremy from Wise, VA
Is the offensive play calling hampered by the subpar O-line play or is it just VERY predictable play calling because offensive coordinator John DeFilippo is playing it safe? Just seems there is no originality. Whichever it is, it ain't workin!
The offensive line struggles don't help. A receiving/tight end corps struggling to get any separation at all don't, either. When those two things are happening, and when you're not running effectively, getting creative is tricky.
Dave from Jacksonville
BLOW IT UP
Taylor from Columbia, MD
We have wayyy too many undrafted guys on this roster.
The only draft selections starting in the Jaguars' back seven on defense Sunday were safety Ronnie Harrison (Round 3) and linebacker Leon Jacobs (Round 7), so yeah … your point has merit.
Matt from Bradford
Zone, penalties can't stop the run, can't cover running backs or tight ends. Here we go again, I fear.
I admit I didn't quite understand this, but it was the much-ballyhooed, oft-mimicked, always-anticipated First Email of the game and the last part? Here we go again? Well, yeah.
Jeremy from Jacksonville
Mr. O, down 14-0 without even executing a play on offense. Most of the experts and coaches seemed to indicate the key to victory was to get a lead early. How did the Jags manage to do the exact opposite of that within the first five and a half minutes of the game?
They gave up a long drive after the opening kickoff and a short one after fumbling a kickoff. This set the tone for the game, and the Jaguars never fully recovered. Like comes at you fast in the big city.
Jonathan from New York City
Minshew isn't the answer!!!
Hey, one not fer Minshew…
Dave from Jacksonville
I like the pants...
Thanks. I got them at Stein-mart.
Noel from St. Augustine, FL
It's a shame that these games will be an indictment on Minshew's career. Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers couldn't win behind this line!
No, but veteran awareness at the position can help an offensive line look better. Minshew's not there yet – though it's fair to point out that Brady and Rodgers weren't there as rookies, either.
Dave from Jacksonville