JACKSONVILLE – Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said it best: "This one stung."
OK. Let's get to it …
Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL:
I have not seen the stats, but all day it felt like the Jaguars held on first and second down and gave up a predictable pass up the middle on third and long. That's both a killer and super frustrating - to fans and coaches alike. Did you notice that, too?
John: You didn't need to see the statistics; you had a good feel for the game without them – and yeah, me, the coaches, the fans, the Roar, the guy checking credentials and pretty much everyone else watching Sunday saw it, too. Pass rush – especially third-down pass rush – has been a season-long issue and it showed up in a big way Sunday. The Falcons converted six third downs of seven or more yards in the second half. One was on a pass interference penalty and the others were on completions by Matt Ryan. When you can't stop a pocket quarterback from converting third and long, that means your pass rush isn't getting pressure. That's not a new thing for the Jaguars' defense, but it did help define the second half Sunday.
Matt from Mattcave:
No. 2 pick … you can't be beat two times in the first quarter by an awful Falcons defense three years into your career. I know you defend Luke Joeckel and it would be expected if he was an undrafted free agent or something, but we spent the No. 2 pick that year for mediocre play.
John: I know where Joeckel was selected. I also know he has played fine this year for the most part, and that he struggled in the first quarter Sunday.
Brian from Neptune Beach, FL:
People are going to say the defense lost this one. WRONG. You can't score 17 points and expect to beat the Atlanta "we-have-Julio Jones" Falcons. Offense didn't do near enough. #throwthefadeitrarelygetspicked
John: You're correct and outside your hashtag, I don't know that anyone around the Jaguars would disagree with you. The pass rush struggled, but the offense's struggles – particularly on third down – hurt as much if not more. #thefadeisnotthecureall
Drew from Duval:
It would be nice if we had a pass rush. Probably the most frustrating part of this season #DTWD
Eric from New York City:
Anger did NOT have a good day, did he?
John: Bryan Anger struggled through much of the first half. He also had a big-time 60-yard punt early in the fourth quarter that kept Atlanta from getting really good field position at a critical time, so credit where it's due. But for the most part … no, it was not Anger's best day.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Is there a worse defense than the Jags?
John: This was the much-ballyhooed, long-awaited, much-anticipated first email of the game, and it unsurprisingly came on the game's first series. The Jaguars' defense was struggling at the time. It struggled again on a drive in the second quarter. By game's end, it was far from the Jaguars' worst defensive game of the season, and it actually felt like a lot of games this season. Not a bad defensive effort for the most part if you don't count the pass rush. The problem is the pass rush counts.
Jason from Colorado Springs, CO:
Now maybe you all will shut the hell up about playoffs ... for good! Jinxed by you again!
John: My bad.
Sean from Jacksonville:
My frustration with this team has reached an all-time high. 1) Why are "experts" still defending Luke Joeckel? He is as bad as they come at left tackle: constant holds and miscues. Admit draft bust and move on. 2) Defense is giving up points at near record-breaking levels, why has there been no change at either personnel or coaching? 3) While admittedly the offense is looking much better, anyone with eyesight can see what play they are calling. Run, run, pass, and punt. That has been their formula far too often in the game and its clear defenses key in on it.
John: I understand the frustration. Losing is difficult. As for your questions … 1) People "defend" Joeckel because he's not remotely as "bad as they come at left tackle," and although he had a bad start Sunday he for the most part has been OK much of the season. 2) The defense allowed 23 points to a Top 10 offense Sunday, so while it wasn't the best defensive day it was not horrible. It entered the game allowing 27.1 points per game, which though not great is nowhere near record-breaking. 3) The Jaguars' offense entered Sunday 11th in points scored, so for the most part defenses might want to key a bit better.
Andrew from Tehachapi, CA:
Story of this one: mistakes on offense and atrocious third-down defense in the second half.