JACKSONVILLE – In a weekly feature for the 2021 season, NFL Media and Jaguars Media analyst Bucky Brooks breaks down the Jaguars' performance in a 30-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at TIAA Bank Field Sunday.
The Jaguars were outclassed by the 49ers in a game not nearly as close as the final score indicated. From the first play to the final whistle, the 49ers manhandled the Jaguars on each side of the ball with little resistance. The 60-minute domination not only showed the talent disparity between the Jaguars and a playoff contender, it revealed a lack of physicality and toughness that must be addressed before the Jaguars team can consistently compete at a higher level.
KEYS TO VICTORY
The 49ers' physicality on both sides of the ball was the game's deciding factor in this game. 'Niners Head Coach Kyle Shanahan and the offense set the tone with a 20-play drive that ended in a field goal but established the street fight that took place at the line of scrimmage. The Jaguars did not respond well to the physicality, and it showed in how easily the 49ers controlled the game from start to finish. From the 49ers' offense bludgeoning the Jaguars with an assortment of creative and hard-hitting runs between the tackles to the defense suffocating Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Co. on nearly every drive, the Jaguars were whipped from beginning to end by a superior team.
The No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft continues to struggle as a leader of a punch-less offense. Despite his immense talent and potential, Lawrence has been unable to spark the unit with his playmaking ability or passing prowess. Part of his failures can be attributed to a static scheme and the lack of weapons around him, but he also has missed a handful of throws that should be considered "gimmes" at this level. While accuracy issues are common for a passer throwing to receivers unable to gain separation, Lawrence must continue to sharpen his tools while working through a tough season that has not worked out the way the Jaguars expected.
Hats off to Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen and Myles Jack for continuing to compete with the outlook looking bleak for the Jaguars. The veterans bring outstanding energy and effort each week, and their playmaking abilities continue to shine when reviewing the tape. Although their stellar work has not translated into more wins, the Jaguars' young players should be encouraged and inspired by their play during a disappointing year.
The Jaguars' offense has been mired in a season-long slump that has sucked the air out of the stadium. The lack of creativity, talent and production has made it challenging for optimists to remain hopeful the unit will turn it around before the end of the season. Against the 49ers, the offense could not move the ball when it mattered, and the series of three-and-outs enabled the opponent to build an insurmountable lead in the first half. Perhaps the coaching staff can come up with a few wrinkles that enable the offense to perform better down the stretch, but it is hard to watch an offense that is unable to produce first downs and touchdowns each week.
The 49ers whipped the Jaguars behind a dominant rushing attack that leaves scars. It was not only the 171 rushing yards gained on 42 attempts that left a lasting impression on defenders, but it was the physical dominance of the 49ers at the line of scrimmage that will force each Jaguars' defender to look in the mirror and determine how they want to close the 2021 campaign. For the competitors in the group, the nauseating feeling of watching Jeff Wilson, Trey Sermon and Deebo Samuel run through the heart of the defense will prompt them to get back to work with a renewed energy and sense of purpose. In addition, the shellacking will force coordinator Joe Cullen to reexamine how he intends to play run defense going forward. While observers will focus on the schematic failures that led to the loss, the lack of physicality and toughness exhibited by the squad needs to be fixed before the Jaguars can play big-time football against the better teams in the league.
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