JACKSONVILLE – Look-ahead Wednesday … sort of.
With the Jaguars losing to the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football, we'll allow a little looking back in this Wednesday O-Zone. But it's still Wednesday, so we'll mostly look ahead. Maybe. Sort of. Whatever.
Let's get to it …
Michael from Orange Park, FL
Shoot straight with us, Zone. We can take it. How long is T-Law out for? Is the season over?
The Jaguars lost to the Bengals, 34-31, in overtime – and this question's tone is quite understandable in the wake of that loss. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence sustained a high-ankle sprain late in the game, an injury that came after multiple Jaguars players – wide receiver Christian Kirk, defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi and cornerback Tre Herndon – already had left with injuries. Kirk sustained a groin injury and will miss significant time, with Herdon in the concussion protocol and Fatukasi expected to be day-to-day. Left tackle Walker Little (hamstring) and cornerback Tyson Campbell (quadriceps) are also expected to be day to day this week. Considering the injuries, and considering the Jaguars were driving for a go-ahead touchdown in the final five minutes when Lawrence was hurt, and considering that they lost on an overtime field goal … well, considering all that, it was a gutwrenching night on a scale I can't recall around these parts. Jaguars fans went to bed Monday night/Tuesday morning feeling as if hope had been cruelly ripped away, and no doubt they woke Tuesday feeling the same way. It will take a few days to recover emotionally. As for your questions – how long will Lawrence be out and is the season over – the answers are "I don't know" and "no." The vibe around Lawrence was better Tuesday than late Monday, and Head Coach Doug Pederson on Tuesday didn't rule out Lawrence playing against the Cleveland Browns Sunday. Either way, the season's not over. Not even close. This is a week-to-week league. What looks like a lost season one week can be a memorable season the next week and vice-versa. This team has clawed back from emotional losses before. It did it last season to make the postseason and it has done it multiple times this season. I would agree that this feels like a significantly hard gut-punch. How the team responds will be fascinating.
Colette from Wapwallopen, PA
That one hurt. In more ways than just the loss. Can we bounce back?
This is a very fair question. The Jaguars on Monday went from being on the cusp of an emotionally lifting prime-time home victory to an emotionally wrenching loss in minutes. And that wasn't even the most emotional storyline, with Lawrence's injury the clear choice there. The Jaguars have been really good at responding to adversity since Pederson's arrival. This may be the biggest test yet, particularly if Lawrence misses a game (or games). We'll learn a lot about this team in the coming weeks. This road is tough.
Dan from Atlantic City, NJ
Why wasn't Trevor carted off? Was so sad seeing him limp through the tunnel. Was that his choice?
Lawrence following his injury limped with assistance from the field to the Jaguars' locker room. Many observers wondered why he wasn't driven in a cart, with some national observers ridiculing the Jaguars for not having a cart. The Jaguars indeed have a cart. Lawrence opted to walk. As with many things that "draw national attention," perception differed from reality – and the reaction therefore had little merit.
Yoav from St. Johns, FL
Some national media were highly critical of the Jaguars' organization not arranging a cart for Trevor Lawrence after his injury Monday night. The optics certainly didn't look good as he was helped by just a security guard and a trainer while walking slowly and in a lot of pain. What's the real story behind this?
He wanted to walk.
James from Socorro, NM
Why did the Jaguars defense give up 156 rushing yards to the worst rushing offense in the NFL, and 335 passing yards to a backup quarterback making his second start?
The Bengals ran effectively primarily because they blocked the Jaguars' front effectively and the Jaguars' back seven had a difficult game in terms of tackling and run fits. Bengals quarterback Jake Browning had a big game because the Bengals' three wide receivers – Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd – are really good, and because the Jaguars didn't cover great and had some key miscommunications.
Tom from Charlottesville, VA
MVP day from backup QB! Jags will need that from Nathan Rourke to win against Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens! How is Beathard's wrist?
Jaguars backup quarterback C.J. Beathard on Monday said his wrist was fine after the game. He said he fell awkwardly on his shoulder, but that that was also fine. I expect Beathard to start if Lawrence can't play in Cleveland Sunday.
Nick from Palm Coast, FL
Do you think with Trevor sidelined for at least a couple of weeks the Jags will put in some RPO'S to get Nathan Rourke into the game?
James from Socorro, NM
Are the Jaguars cursed?
No. The Jaguars play in the National Football League. It's a hard league.
Don from Marshall, NC
Those players who were hoping to get paid with a new contract can now think about packing sand somewhere else. Those safeties, you can cut now. Nice Monday Night Showing! If we are lucky, maybe the NFL will wait two decades before they show that crap again. The Jaguars are just another team who are legends in their own minds. If I owned the team, you can bet someone is going to get canned for that and I would not be picky about who that would be. Someone on that team is going to go home. What a freaking disappointment of a performance!
When it came to the Jaguars' first appearance on Monday Night Football in 12 seasons, Don was very definitely not "all in."
Pete from Daytona Beach, FL
Zone, all I know is if I took a three-hour lunch break from work, I'd get fired. With the exception of Josh Allen, how do the rest of the defense get away with it?
The Jaguars' defense has been really good most of the season. The team probably isn't in first place had it not been for the defense being good. It wasn't good Monday.
Ben from Jacksonville
Love Doug Pederson, but I have never heard a coach blame the home crowd's loudness for defensive communication issues. That is a ridiculous excuse and a slap in the face to fans that give their all to support this team! Maybe we shouldn't have any more home games.
Pederson on Monday was asked why it appeared the defense was having communication issues in the game. His answer made the point that defensive players had to work harder to communicate when the crowd was loud. He wasn't "blaming" the home crowd for anything. He wasn't making an excuse. He also praised the crowd. All he was trying to do was explain to a reporter why the defense appeared to be having trouble communicating.
David from Maplewood, NJ
John, Totally agree that the game outcome was secondary to Lawrence's injury buuuutttt, any thoughts or comments on that holding call against Harrison? Seemed like a pretty bad call and that flag only get pulled when the defensive end of Cincinnati started begging for it. Might end up being a pretty huge call for the outcome of this season.
You're referencing a key play in overtime Monday, with a 43-yard pass from Beathard to wide receiver Calvin Ridley was negated by a holding penalty on rookie right tackle Anton Harrison blocking Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard. Instead of first-and-goal at the two with a chance to end the game with a touchdown, the Jaguars punted two plays later. The holding call was one that could have gone either way. It didn't appear Harrison held that egregiously. Yes, it was a huge call. You get some in that situation. You don't get others. It's how it goes.
Gerry from Jacksonville
My take: make the kick, win the game!
This point did get somewhat lost in the aftermath of Monday's loss. Jaguars kicker Brandon McManus missed a 48-yard field goal on the play after Lawrence's injury that left the score tied, 28-28. A Bengals field goal on the ensuing possession made it 31-28. McManus' 40-yard field goal in the final minute that forced overtime might have been the game-winner had he made the 48-yarder. That's not guaranteed. Scores can change how teams approach game-ending situations. But McManus' miss was one of many things that went wrong Monday – and the miss darned sure hurt the Jaguars' chances of winning.
Tom from Las Malas Calles de Nocatee
I'll admit I was a little depressed when I woke up this morning. But then I remembered that it was not in fact over after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.
Good eye. It's not over.