LONDON – This one was rough. Really rough.
It felt like much was lost during a 26-3 Jaguars loss to the Houston Texans at Wembley Stadium Sunday. A chance to move into the postseason conversation. Momentum. Etc.
The Jaguars played poorly offensively, and rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II had perhaps his most rookie-like game in eight starts. He got little help from the rest of the offense.
Defensively, the Jaguars struggled to stop the run early. That gave Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson a chance to evade the pass rush and turn third downs into first downs, and to gradually frustrate a Jaguars defense that for a while kept the team in a very important game.
The Jaguars kept this one close through a half, then squandered an opportunity to get back in the game early in the third quarter. Officials didn't help with a questionable pass-interference penalty on wide receiver DJ Chark Jr., a play that turned a red-zone opportunity into a lost drive that ended with a botched field-goal attempt from which the Jaguars never recovered.
It was that sort of day. A rough one for the Jaguars.
Let's get to it…
John from Jacksonville
Watson is the single most frustrating player I may have ever seen...
Watson indeed frustrated the Jaguars Sunday, and the third-year veteran in many ways defined the game. The Jaguars as expected were able to pressure the quarterback Sunday by beating the Texans' depleted offensive line – particularly early when the game was in doubt. But Watson routinely evaded the Jaguars' rushers in the first half, turning potential losses into first downs or positive down-and-distance situations. He is beyond frustrating for a defense, and he was the difference in the game. Most frustrating ever? I don't know about that. There have been many quarterbacks able to avoid the pressure and make plays. Is he as good at this as there is right now? No doubt.
Brian from Jacksonville
The truth is this: Watson is so good.
He's better than I thought he would be when he entered the NFL. He's impressive.
Joe from San Antonio, TX
John, what can we do about this terrible officiating? From the bad offensive PI, no call on PI, then the bad call on Calais Campbell … that was practically sabotage.
Some days are better than others on this front. The stretch you're referring to in the third quarter, the one that changed momentum in the Texans' favor at that point? That was a rough stretch. I can't say for sure the outcome would have been different – or that the Jaguars deserved to win Sunday – but a questionable pass-interference call on Chark certainly changed momentum at that point.
Phil from Woodmere, NY
Why are we so stubborn and/or dumb? Let's see, our defense plays best with a lead. Our offense, predicated on the run, plays best with a lead (when we can stay balanced.) So against Carolina and New Orleans we elect to kickoff. We fall behind from the very first drive and lose both games. Against NY and Cincinnati we receive the ball to start and win both games. So Jags win the toss today and what to they do? Defer. Genius. Go Jaguars.
Coaches like to have the ball coming out of halftime. They believe it gives them a chance to control not only the end of the first half, but the beginning of the second. The Jaguars nearly got some significant momentum from having the ball first in the third quarter Sunday. Had they scored on that first drive after halftime and taken the lead, it might have been a different game. They didn't, so it wasn't.
Jaginator from (formerly of Section124)
I'm really excited to see the Jags' name/colors in both end zones today. Because this is a HOME game and we wouldn't paint the opponent's name/colors on our own field during a HOME game, right? RIGHT???
This was received before the game. The Jaguars' name was painted in both end zones for their annual home game at Wembley Stadium Sunday. I can only imagine your excitement when you saw it.
Jaginator from (formerly of Section 124)
Section OK, I guess it's time to happily eat some crow. I dunno who in the NFL front office finally decided to stop making a mockery of our "home" games – but there are no Texans names/logos in either endzone. I know that most people don't care about this. But it always used to bug the heck outta me. One fer treating London as a "real" home game!
Well, if you're happy I'm happy.
Mark from Crescent Beach, FL
If we can't stop Houston after a first-and-35, it's going to be a very long day.
This was the much-anticipated, oft-ballyhooed, never-overlooked First Email of the Game – and the Texans indeed faced an unusual first-and-35 after back-to-back penalties. They managed a field goal out of the drive, but Jaguars got them off the field.
Scott from Rehoboth Beach, DE
Horrible on every facet of the game ...
Well, it sure wasn't good.