JACKSONVILLE – In a weekly feature for the 2020 season, NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks breaks down the Jaguars' performance in a 27-25 loss to the Cleveland Browns Sunday
Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone deserves a lot of credit for getting his team to play with outstanding effort and energy each week. Despite entering Sunday with a nine-game losing streak, the Jaguars went toe to toe with a playoff contender for sixty minutes. The gutsy effort wasn't enough to earn a victory, but the Jaguars' competitiveness should boost the confidence of a young team that's close to turning the corner.
KEYS TO VICTORY
The Jaguars' inability to contain the Browns' ground-and-pound running game – and their Pro Bowl WR1 – led to loss No. 10. The Browns rumbled for 200-plus rushing yards (207) on 33 rushing attempts with running back Nick Chubb posting his fifth 100-yard game of the season. The big-bodied runner bludgeoned the Jaguars on an assortment of off-tackle runs that showcased his unique combination of strength, power and burst as a hard-nosed cutback runner. Kareem Hunt chipped in 62 rushing yards on 10 attempts as the Browns' complementary rusher in the backfield. With Chubb and Hunt thriving as the runners, the Browns were able to target wide receiver Jarvis Landry on a handful of play-action passes that exploited the Jaguars' loaded boxes. The Pro Bowl pass catcher finished the game with eight catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. Despite the Browns' stars impressive individual numbers, the game boiled down to the Jaguars' inability to get stops on critical downs. The Browns converted 45-percent on third down, including a crucial third-and-12 situation on a screen pass to Chubb with 1:37 remaining in the game. With the Jaguars' defense unable to get off the field with the game on the line, the Browns escaped TIAA Bank Field with a hard-earned victory.
Jaguars veteran quarterback Mike Glennon played one of his best career games against the Browns. Glennon completed 20 of 35 passes for 235 yards with two touchdowns, delivering pinpoint passes to the Jaguars' perimeter playmakers and managing the offense like a pro. In fact, Glennon's management skills played a significant role in the offense looking like a well-oiled machine against the Browns. The veteran kept the offense on schedule with sound pre- and post-snap decisions, and his overall composure steadied an offense that has been in flux for most of the season. Although Glennon wasn't perfect and his athletic limitations are problematic, the veteran gave the Jaguars a chance to win and that is all you can ask from a backup quarterback.
UNDER THE RADAR
Jaguars rookie running back James Robinson is no longer a feel-good story as a former undrafted free agent who rose to prominence as a surprise starter. The Illinois State product is one of the NFL's top running backs with a diverse set of skills that should encourage the Jaguars to build game plans around his talents. Against the Browns, Robinson amassed 159 scrimmage yards on 27 touches. The rookie continues to dazzle as a rugged runner with outstanding balance, body control and vision. With Robinson also displaying soft hands, superb receiving skills and stout blocking ability, he is a three-down running back with the traits to become an elite RB1.
Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden put together a solid game plan against the Browns with a veteran quarterback at the helm. The Jaguars were able to establish the running game with Robinson as the workhorse plunging between the tackles. Glennon threw to six different pass catchers as the Jaguars attacked the Browns' defense with a balanced approach. Although the plan didn't result in a victory, Gruden's strategy should be applauded based on the production and performance of the unit.
With coordinator Todd Wash and two other assistants unavailable due to COVID-19 protocols, Joe Danna ran the defense on game day. The Jaguars' safeties coach utilized a familiar plan that mixed traditional zones with a few selected blitzes with man coverage behind the pressure. The balanced plan helped contain the Browns, but the defense lacked the talent and firepower to stop their top playmakers. Kudos to the coaching staff for getting the team to play hard, but this team needs more talent and experience to win these competitive contests.