JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars were gutty for three quarters.
The defense played remarkably well for that same period, particularly considering it was playing without three of its best players – defensive end Josh Allen, linebacker Myles Jack and rookie cornerback CJ Henderson.
But a very real chance for what could have been an inspiring victory disappeared amid a few key missed opportunities – and the result was a 30-14 loss to the Houston Texans Sunday at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
Two missed field goals by kicker Stephen Hauschka hurt. A lost fumble by running back James Robinson on a 4th-and-1 goal from a point-blank situation hurt, too – and the play call there undoubtedly will be the subject of debate Sunday evening and into Monday.
Gutty doesn't mean much. The Jaguars are 1-4 and have lost four consecutive games. There will be plenty of angst and anger in the in-box over this one. We'll discuss it here and again in Monday's O-Zone. Sigh.
Let's get to it …
Mike from Boscobel, WI
So, end of the second quarter and Minshew forces a dump pass to wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr., who is well covered. We had a receiver slanting across the middle wide open. He has been missing a lot of open receivers this year. I don't see him as our answer at quarterback. Do you?
Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II again put up some impressive statistics Sunday. He made some impressive throws and I thought he played well in stretches Sunday – particularly on a drive in the second quarter when he went eight for eight and finished with a touchdown pass to wide receiver Keelan Cole. But he continues to struggle at times in the pocket, and you're correct that he also appears to miss too many open receivers downfield. It's hard to always tell that accurately without reviewing game video, but that appears to be a thing. I don't know if he's the answer long-term at quarterback. It seems less likely now than at the beginning of the season, but I still wouldn't say it's out of the question. Stay tuned.
Hunter from New Hampshire
How do you get inside the opponent's 10-yard line THREE times, and don't score a TD? That decided the game.
The Jaguars actually "only" drove inside the 10 and failed to score a touchdown twice Sunday. Making it worse was they failed to score at all on those possessions. How do you do it? You miss a 24-yard field goal and have a rookie running back fumble when trying to throw after a direct snap from center. And yes … those two missed opportunities very much defined the game.
DT from NW AR
Do you remember Mike Hollis? Or Josh Scobee? What is your favorite Jaguars kicker moment?
I can't remember anymore.
Zac from Austin, tejas
Fourth and 1 trick play … that's why you have Shenault. Literally for those plays. That was an odd call to go with Robinson for the quarterback.
Part of the trick was the Houston Texans weren't expecting Robinson to take a direct snap on 4th-and-1 from the Texans 8 Sunday in the third quarter. They certainly weren't expecting him to pass. What a play it would have been had it worked. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden would have been a genius. It didn't work.
Jerell from Columbia, SC
Fair question … but no.
Jeremy from Wise, VA
Cornerback Sidney Jones played really well. Nice pickup.
Indeed. Jones, playing by far his most extensive snaps since joining the Jaguars shortly before the regular-season opener, had an interception Sunday and broke up three other passes – one of which led to an interception by safety Jarrod Wilson. Impressive.
The Other Michael from Middleburg
I love Minshew, but he isn't the answer. He makes everything harder than it has to be. He missed so many wide-open passes today it's pathetic.
He appeared to do this several times. It's a concern.
Josh from Atlanta, GA
That opening drive was befuddling. Get 11 yards by our budding star on the opening play... and not go back to him on three straight plays. Do huh?
This was the much-ballyhooed, oft-extreme, typically-outrageous First Email of the Game – and it had some merit. Robinson indeed rushed for 11 yards on the game's first play, then the Jaguars threw unsuccessfully on the ensuing three plays. This isn't always as simple as it looks. If you don't run on first down and throw incomplete, you're looking at second-and-10 – and that's a tough running down. The Jaguars rushed Robinson extensively on the next series, then got away from him in the third quarter. It felt a bit too soon to abandon the run, but what you don't know is how much the Texans dictated that with the defensive looks they were showing. As has been the case too often this season, the Jaguars fell behind in the second half Sunday. That makes it tough to keep featuring Robinson.
Joshua from Lynchburg, VA
One of the most frustrating Jags games I've ever watched.
I guess …
Renee from Jacksonville
John, That is the second ejection that was uncalled for. NFL refs are sooooooo biased. They should eject Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt for whining too much.
You're referencing Jaguars safety Josh Jones being ejected for a helmet-to-helmet hit in the third quarter. It didn't feel uncalled for.
Hulky Baby, Yeah! From Las Vegas
Why John? Why???
I don't know.