DETROIT, Mich. – This was ugly and one-sided from the start.
It wasn't remotely what the Jaguars wanted or expected after entering Sunday with an encouraging – if fleeting – combination of momentum and hope, and the best thing for the Jaguars in a 40-14 loss to the Detroit Lions at Ford Field Sunday came at the start of the second half.
That was when quarterback Trevor Lawrence returned to the game after being hit hard on the final play of the first half – and after remaining down for several minutes.
The game by then was essentially over. But Lawrence's health was perhaps as important.
As for the specifics of the loss Sunday …
The offense was too slow to start and had way too many mistakes and dropped passes. And an early fumble by running back Travis Etienne Jr. hurt a lot. The defense? Well, the unit allowed points on all eight Lions possessions until a late kneel-down drive – marking the most difficult game for a unit that has had way too many difficult games this season, particularly in the last two months.
That's a decent synopsis, I suppose. Or maybe not. We'll dig into details as we move forward.
Let's get to it …
JT from Palm Coast, FL
Just let out one big, "whew."
That indeed was a big "Whew." Lawrence went down on the final play of the first half in ugly, frightening fashion. It was also a more than a little frightening when he didn't return with the team at halftime. The "Whew" came when he jogged onto the field during the Lions' opening drive of the second half and played until the game was completely decided late in the fourth quarter. Sunday stunk on many fronts for the Jaguars. It would have stunk out loud had Lawrence been seriously injured and unable to continue developing in the last five games of the season.
_Michael from Cincinnati _
Defense has too many highly paid players and highly drafted players to be this bad.
This was a common refrain in the in-box Sunday and promises to be the common O-Zone theme moving forward – and possibly into the offseason. The Jaguars' defense has struggled pretty consistently since about six weeks into the season. They appear fatally flawed in coverage with the inability to generate enough pressure to make up for that flaw. And while the Jaguars held the Lions to 3.1 yards per carry Sunday, Detroit ran effectively at critical times. The Jaguars' offense has shown clear signs of growth and appears to have a solid foundation for the future. It doesn't feel that way defensively. Not even close right now.
Eric from Columbus, IN
This fumble thing is turning into a trend… concerned?
This was the much-ballyhooed, sometimes-witty, oft-distracting First Email of the Game. It came immediately after a fumble by Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. on the second play of the game. It was a critical play that led to a 38-yard Lions drive for the game's first touchdown. Yes, the fumbling is a concern. Etienne's fumbles have been costly in some really big situations this season.
Mr. NFL from Unfortunately Jacksonville
The worst secondary in the NFL didn't take very long to show their stench, did they?
Mike from Azores
Why do the Jags always seem to shoot themselves in the foot? Fumbles, penalties and dropped passes? Is it coaching, lack of mental preparation, or is it just the Jags?
The Jaguars are an improving team, but they're not yet a good team. Teams that aren't yet good fumble, commit penalties and drop passes at key times.
Vincent T. Lombardi from Green Bay, WI
What the hell's going on out there??
I actually smiled at this. So, thanks.
Jim from Jagsonville
End of an Era. A very short Era but that's the Jaguars for ya. There's always next year!
What era? The Jaguars are 4-8. This was likely going to be a six-to-seven victory team this season with a few real stinkers in the mix. That's pretty normal for a young franchise with a first-year head coach and a lot of building needed. Sunday was the first major stinker of the season. This was a bad loss, and the defense needs work, but one stinker doesn't mean there hasn't been progress this season.
Ben from Jacksonville
The Jaguars are a hopeless and worthless franchise. The NFL should eliminate the team. No team will be forever worthless like the Jaguars. I give up (just like the pathetic defense).
Scott from Mid-Atlantic by way of Jax
O-man, how concerning is it for a team to regress this much this far into a season?
We may define regression differently. The Jaguars won two of three games entering Sunday and had one of their biggest victories in recent memory last Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. Considering that, I don't know that it's fair to say the Jaguars are regressing. It is fair to be concerned about the defense. The unit has struggled for a couple of months and some season-long issues got exposed big-time Sunday. That's not an aberration, certainly. I just don't know it's regression.
Santa from North Pole
A lump of coal for this team!
Fair, Santa. Fair.