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Sexton-Oehser quick thoughts: Colts 33, Jaguars 13


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Senior writer John Oehser and senior correspondent Brian Sexton both offer three quick thoughts on the Jaguars' 33-13 loss Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday …

Oehser …

1.This wasn't remotely what Nick Foles and the offense wanted coming out of the bye. That's an understatement to end all understatements, but it's the first statement that must be made following Sunday's loss. The Jaguars played poorly in most phases – and things were particularly rough offensively after a couple of effective early drives. Foles, starting for the Jaguars at quarterback for the first time since sustaining a broken clavicle in Week 1, started hot and gave the Jaguars brief hope and optimism with a 34-yard first-quarter touchdown pass to wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. The Jaguars had moved effectively on the first drive, and it seemed the attributes the Jaguars saw in Foles – field vision, accuracy, tempo a quick release – were conspiring for the needed consistency on offense. The Jaguars instead managed 48 more yards in the first half and didn't score again until too late to matter. Foles entered the game with enormous and perhaps unfair pressure, likely needing to lead the Jaguars to five or six victories in the last seven games to make the postseason. He remained calm after the game, talking about the need to watch film, improve and focus on one week at a time. Either way, what little margin for error there was is even thinner now. And Foles was absolutely right afterward when he said he must play better moving forward.

2.This wasn't the run defense the Jaguars wanted coming out of the bye. If there was a bye-week goal for the defense, it was consistency against the run. Defensive coordinator Todd Wash talked about it this past week, and so did the players. The Jaguars responded to that talk by playing one of their worst halves of the season against the run Sunday, allowing Colts running back Marlon Mack to rush for 83 yards on 11 first half carries and the Colts as a team to average 7.4 yards per carry. It only got worse, and the Jaguars' 266 yards rushing allowed for the game marked the third time this season – and the second time in as many games – they have allowed more than 200 yards rushing. Head Coach Doug Marrone afterward said the Jaguars basically tried everything throughout the game to stop it, adding that it's never just one thing when a team gives up that many rushing yards. What was it? Gap control? Missed tackles? Getting manhandled up front? Check all of those boxes, but know this: if the Jaguars can't achieve their goal of being more consistent in this area quickly, any remaining playoff hopes will disappear quickly.

3.Josh Allen continues to look like a superstar in the making. Who knows if this will get much play nationally? That's because the Jaguars' record dictates that they'll continue to be off the national radar in the coming weeks. But it's hard to imagine a rookie looking better than Allen has through 10 games this season. Allen on Sunday registered his eighth sack of the season, tying the franchise rookie record set by end Yannick Ngakoue in 2016. He narrowly missed another sack in the half and had to held later in the half to prevent him from having another. If there is a silver lining in an otherwise abysmal week – two weeks counting a pre-bye week loss to the Texans – it's that Allen continues to look like a franchise player. That may not feel like much considering the team's dwindling playoff hopes, but at least it's a positive.

Sexton …

1.Another BIG game, another BIG loss. These Jaguars were supposed to be contenders with Nick Foles at quarterback this season but when it mattered the most and they had Foles back on the field they looked like pretenders instead. The simple truth is this team isn't good enough to even talk about the playoffs. In back to back games against the best two teams in the AFC South they were beaten by a combined score of 59-15, they gave up 480 rushing yards and they looked rattled. They're not mathematically eliminated but the eye test never fails, and this team looks like it has more questions than it can possibly answer before this season comes to a close.

2.Leonard Fournette is the Jaguars best offensive player and he was a non-factor for the second consecutive game. He carried the football only eight times on a day in which the Jaguars ran it only nine times, the fewest carries in franchise history. I know Foles was supposed to change the Jags personality somewhat, but this team was always built on the running game and in back to back weeks they have run it 15 times or fewer. This team can't win when the most explosive player on the field, the guy who can change the tempo of the game isn't engaged and on Sunday he wasn't engaged….again.

3.The run defense is bewildering. The Colts are now the third team this season to run for more than 200 yards, the second team in the last two games and the third time in the last five. Is Marcell Dareus that critical to the scheme? Poor tackling is an understatement and they should understand the concept of gap control by now. Calais Campbell was at a loss in the post-game locker room and the Jaguars will be again next week when the face Derrick Henry if they don't do something dramatically different in Nashville. They'll never get the chance to get after the quarterback and create turnovers if they can't force a team to have to throw the ball. On Sunday in Indianapolis the Colts hardly needed to pass the football.

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