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O-Zone Late Night: Ravens 40, Jaguars 14

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Jacksonville Jaguars against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL football game, Sun, Dec. 20, 2020 in Baltimore.

This felt like a bad matchup for the Jaguars before the game.

It never felt different.

The Jaguars on Sunday afternoon lost to the playoff-contending – and therefore highly-motivated – Baltimore Ravens by a score of 40-14, a loss at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md., that felt every bit as one-sided as the score indicated.

The Ravens led 26-0 at halftime. They sacked quarterback Gardner Minshew II for a safety to start the scoring, then scored 24 points on their next four possessions. The Ravens at one point scored on six of seven possessions, with the only non-scoring possession coming when kicker Justin Tucker missed a 57-yard field goal on the final play of the first half. They sacked Minshew five times for the game, and former Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue had two sacks and a forced fumble.

Minshew was making his first start since late October and never looked comfortable. The offense was ineffective until the Ravens had the game well in control.

There was more to the game. But those things pretty much cover it.

Let's get to it …

Andres from Los Angeles

At the beginning of the year, I was excited about Gardner. Now I am just looking the end of the year to get a rookie quarterback. Gardner is making bad decisions. I just want this season to end.

Minshew started Sunday for the first time since Week 7. He and the Jaguars' offense struggled mightily in the first half. He was sacked four times in the half, with some looking like he could have gotten rid of the ball before the sack and some looking like the offensive line could have protected him better. Either way, the Jaguars' offense produced just 61 first-half yards. Things looked a lot better for Minshew and the offense in the second half. But things often look better for struggling quarterbacks and struggling offenses when opposing teams are protecting 26-point leads – as the Ravens were when the second half began Sunday. The answer at quarterback does not in any way appear to be on the roster. It already had been a long season. Sunday made it feel longer.

Nick from Milton, Ontario

The 2020 Jaguars in a nutshell: Momentum-changing interception on the first drive of the game with a nice return, penalty brings the ball back to the one-yard line and Minshew gets tackled for a safety. One step forward, two steps back.

You're not wrong.

Jim Jagsonville

So Minshew gives us the best chance to win, huh?

This was the much-anticipated, oft-lampooned, always-included First Email of the Game. It spoke to Minshew's early struggles Sunday – and made a sarcastic reference to Head Coach Doug Marrone having repeatedly changed quarterbacks in the last two months trying to find the one who gives the Jaguars the best chance to win. It has been written often in this space in recent weeks that perhaps neither Minshew or the Jaguars' other two quarterbacks – Mike Glennon and Jake Luton – give them a particularly good chance to win. That still feels correct after Sunday.

Jeremy from Jacksonville

I know the defense has improved in points allowed but looking at the game at halftime I feel like they could pitch a shutout in the second half, and it wouldn't matter. Being down 26-0 just stinks as a fan.

This email came in the second half, but it still felt pertinent after the game. The Jaguars' defense did improve immediately following the bye. Their guts and effort during that time were impressive. Such gutty, try-hard efforts typically only last so long until attrition and human nature take over.

Tim W from the Southside

Reminds me a little of Legend of Bagger Vance, "This is getting embarrassing! No, it has been embarrassing for quite some time now!" Can we just forfeit the remaining games and reduce this embarrassment?

No.

Nick from St. Augustine

One fer Rosas?

Jaguars kicker Aldrick Rosas punted for the first time professionally Sunday because the Jaguars' regular punter – Logan Cooke – was unavailable because of late-week sickness. He punted three times for 36.7 yards. He averted disaster after mishandling a second-half snap, punt, getting the kick away under duress. So, one fer Rosas? Absolutely.

Sam from Mandeville, LA

Ouch...

Yep.

Sean from Jacksonville

I think it's time for Gus Bradley to be fired. I mean, Doug Marrone. The excuses aren't corrected week to week. How can I tell? I look at their record. Like the oft repeated mantra with Blake Bortles... It's time to move on.

Marrone isn't big on excuses – and I haven't heard a lot of excuses when the Jaguars talk this season. They're not good enough or experienced enough at a lot of key positions. That means they're not good enough to win. They must improve. No excuses.

Tommy from Jacksonville, FL

Zone, would you recommend laughing or crying? Laughing would make it less painful in the short term, while crying may eventually help me move past this season.

I cry a lot. Not about the Jaguars so much. Just because.

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