JACKSONVILLE – In a weekly feature for the 2021 season, NFL Media and Jaguars Media analyst Bucky Brooks breaks down the Jaguars' performance in a 23-13 loss to the Denver Broncos in a 2021 Week 2 game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville …
The Jaguars played a very competitive game against the Broncos, but their combination of effort and toughness was not enough to scratch out a win. Despite a valiant effort from the defense and special teams, the offense did not hold up its end of the bargain. Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Co. only mustered 189 yards of total offense on 50 offensive plays, and the lack of production forced the defense to stay on the field for nearly 40 minutes (38:52). With the Jaguars also surrendering a pair of turnovers, the lack of offensive production put the team behind the eight ball against a playoff-caliber team.
KEYS TO VICTORY
The Broncos won due to an outstanding defensive effort that left the Jaguars dazed and confused. Lawrence in particular struggled with his reads and the uncertainty led to poor performance in the pocket. The Jaguars' receivers also failed to perform up to standards, with drops and sloppy route running contributing to the quarterback's dismal effort. The overall performance of the offense needs to improve or the Jaguars will continue to fall short on game day.
The No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft definitely will walk away from his second career start armed with some valuable lessons that will serve him well later in his career. Lawrence completed just 14 of 33 passes for 118 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. The disappointing effort featured a few highlights, particularly a game-opening drive that showcased his talents as a rhythm passer with A-plus arm talent. But most of his day was littered with misreads, late throws and turnovers. Lawrence was unable to find a rhythm against Broncos Head Coach Vic Fangio's defense and his overall uncertainty as a passer resulted in a poor showing. From his interceptions to his wild pitches, the Jaguars' QB1 could not get it going against one of the NFL's top defensive minds.
UNDER THE RADAR
Jamal Agnew is an All-Pro kick returner but his signing with the Jaguars flew under the radar on the national scene this past March. Against the Broncos, the fifth-year pro reminded the football world of his greatness with a 102-yard kick return touchdown that showcased his dazzling running skills. Agnew's combination of speed, quickness and elusiveness make him a threat to score whenever he touches the rock. He took the return the house on a planned cutback return that required the speedster to weave through traffic like a cop on a motorcycle chase. Agnew's agility and wiggle set him apart from others, and the 100-plus yard return should make Jaguars' officials applaud their decision to sign the spectacular returner.
The Jaguars' offense is in need of repair after another disappointing showing. From scheme to personnel, the Jaguars need to rethink their choices after failing to top 200 yards of total offense against a playoff-caliber squad. Fangio is one of the best defensive minds in football and his schemes have neutralized explosive offenses for years, but the Jaguars lack an offensive identity, and it is apparent in their play-calling sequences. The team fails to establish the running game despite that being touted as a priority. James Robinson finished with 11 carries for 47 yards and has just 16 rushing attempts on the season. Meanwhile, Lawrence has 84 pass attempts on the season with a 50-percent completion rate and a 57.1 passer rating. With four touchdowns and five interceptions added to those totals, it is apparent that the Jaguars' coaches need to find a way to make the game easier for him and his teammates to inch closer to a win.
It is hard to knock coordinator Joe Cullen for the Jaguars' defensive performance against the Broncos. The defense might have allowed 300-plus passing yards, but the unit shut down the run (96 rush yards on 30 attempts) and got off the field on "money" downs (Broncos converted just 2 of 11 third-down attempts). Although the secondary allowed a few explosive plays, the defense put on a winning performance that should net the Jaguars a win in most instances. With better play from the offense, the Jaguars can win games playing complementary football with defense leading the charge.
Check out these top photos from the Jacksonville Jaguars Week 2 home opener against the Denver Broncos