JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser, senior correspondent Brian Sexton and team reporter Ashlyn Sullivan offer quick thoughts on the Jaguars' 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans in a 2022 Week 5 game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville
John Oehser, Jaguars Senior Writer
- This one hurt. A lot. There will be consternation and angst over this one. That's fair considering the Texans entered the game as the NFL's only winless team – and considering the enthusiasm and confidence around the Jaguars through the season's first month. And that's what was so discouraging about Sunday – that the Jaguars had a chance to build on the momentum/good feeling of one-sided victories over the Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Chargers in Weeks 2 and 3 and a narrow loss last week to unbeaten Philadelphia. Instead, the opposite happened. And make no mistake: While positives could be found in the loss to the Eagles, that was not true Sunday. The Jaguars on Sunday had an opportunity to do something they hadn't done in several seasons: Win as a favorite at home and stay in first place in the division. "We shot ourselves in the foot too much all the way around," Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. "You have to play well to win. We definitely didn't play well. You have to play a complete game to win in this league to win no matter who you're playing. We didn't do that." They had a chance to show that they are as good as they believe they are. But that didn't happen and made this one hurt in a way that hasn't been felt around here in a while.
- This was about mistakes, plain and simple. It's an NFL truism that most games are decided by a play (or two or three) and therefore by a mistake (or two or three). But this was particularly true for the Jaguars Sunday. While Lawrence struggled with accuracy, his defining moment came early in the third quarter when he capped an impressive half-opening drive with an end-zone interception that ended the Jaguars' best chance of the day to score a touchdown. And while the Jaguars' defense was stout far more often than not, the unit's day was defined by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on third-and-twenty on rookie outside linebacker Travon Walker that extended a fourth-quarter drive and led a game-winning touchdown run by rookie running back Dameon Pierce. Head Coach Doug Pederson's post-game assessment of the two plays essentially was the same – that you can't make plays such as that and win. "Those are hard to overcome," he said. The man knows football.
Brian Sexton, Jaguars Senior Correspondent…
- I kept waiting for the offense to flip the switch. It didn't and maybe it couldn't. Lawrence's first pass Sunday sailed over wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr.'s head and wide receiver Zay Jones dropped the first pass in his direction. The offensive line gave Lawrence time and the running game was consistent, but Lawrence looked rattled by his early struggles and never recovered. The decision to throw instead of running on the first drive of the third quarter was inexcusable. The Jaguars then had possession at midfield with 2:00 remaining trailing by the final margin – and Lawrence threw four consecutive incompletions. He wasn't the only problem; his receivers were as inconsistent as he was with too many dropped passes. But he's the quarterback, so it's troublesome – particularly considering the importance of Sunday's game in the AFC South hopes.
- This was supposed to be a statement game. An improved Jaguars team was supposed to win. They were favored over a winless opponent in the division. The statement they made isn't one suitable for a family-friendly website. In the big picture, this is just one loss with 12 games remaining, but when you consider that Davis Mills' Texans are now 3-0 against Lawrence's Jaguars you can't help but utter a few expletives of your own. The Jaguars now have lost nine consecutive games to the Texans, the last three to a team with a roster that isn't as good as theirs.
Ashlyn Sullivan, Jaguars Team Reporter…
- Same team. This will be the conversation around the Jaguars for at least the next couple of weeks. We discussed this game as one the Jaguars were supposed to win, a chance to change the narrative, a statement game. The Jaguars didn't get it done. We no longer will talk about winning the division and we no longer will mention playoffs. Until the Jaguars can prove they can beat a team like the Texans, who were winless coming into Jacksonville, we can't discuss those things anymore. "We have twelve games left," Lawrence said. "We have to play better, there is a sense of urgency." For now, the old narratives are back. That stinks, but the team has the power to change that.
- Trevor – bad, bad day for the quarterback. Coming off a five-turnover gam, Lawrence needed a bounce-back game. The opposite happened. No one will be able to forget the end-zone interception in the third quarter where he forced it into the end zone instead of running for the first down. I don't want to say that changed the game, because the game was close even after that mistake, but that showed the day Lawrence was to have. Lawrence throughout the game seemed to force throw – and when he had open receivers, he often threw inaccurately. "We have a lot of room for improvement," Lawrence said postgame. Yes, the Jaguars can improve, but it needs to happen fast – and Lawrence must improve to make that happen.