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Sexton-Oehser quick thoughts: Lions 26, Jaguars 19


DETROIT, Michigan – Senior writer John Oehser and senior correspondent Brian Sexton both offer three quick thoughts on the Jaguars' 26-19 loss to the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, Sunday  

Oehser …

  1. There are times life overshadows football – and for the Jaguars, Sunday was one of those times. Yes, the Jaguars lost a fifth consecutive game by squandering a fourth-quarter lead at Ford Field, but the outcome seemed to matter little when witnessing the scene in the Jaguars' locker room. Weakside linebacker Telvin Smith, the Jaguars' emotional leader, and running back T.J. Yeldon both played Sunday despite deaths of family members this week. Smith – whose brother, Brian Moore – died in a shooting in Valdosta, Georgia, last Sunday, flew to Detroit Saturday following Moore's funeral. Smith delivered an emotional pre-game speech and sat with his head down in his locker long after the game – at times in tears. Middle linebacker Telvin Smith, who attended Moore's funeral with Smith, sat by Smith's side in the locker room for several minutes, arm around his friend. The Jaguars' loss Sunday was frustrating. In many ways, it defined a disappointing, frustrating, painful, emotional season. But for a day at least, it was very painfully and emotionally clear on Sunday that there were things more important.
  1. Penalties, mistakes and lack of discipline continue to plague the Jaguars. This season-long trend continued to hurt Sunday. A false start penalty hurt the Jaguars' first drive and helped extend their streak of games without a first-possession touchdown 24 games. Right tackle Jermey Parnell's false start penalties cost the Jaguars five yards on 3rd-and-9 and helped force a punt on the ensuing possession. Ivory then fumbled early in the second quarter to end a scoring drive. Perhaps most damaging: an offsides penalty on defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks with the Lions facing 4th-and-2 from the Jaguars with 2:34 remaining and the Jaguars trailing 23-19. That enabled the Lions to retain possession and kicker Matt Prader's 43-yard field goal with 22 seconds remaining essentially clinched the victory.  The Jaguars were capable of winning Sunday but they're not capable of winning making this many mistakes.
  1. Special teams have become a major issue for the Jaguars, too, with Sunday marking the fifth consecutive game that area has had at least one huge mistake. The Jaguars on Sunday led 3-0 and had control of the game's moment early in the second quarter. That was when wide receiver Andre Roberts returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown. Kicker Carson Tinker also missed his first extra point of the season after making his first 17. Roberts' touchdown marked the third consecutive game the Jaguars' special teams allowed a long return, with punt returns setting up a field goal in a loss to Kansas City two weeks ago and a touchdown in a loss to Houston last week. Jaguars punt returners Rashad Greene, Marqise Lee and Bryan Walters lost fumbles in a three-game stretch that ended with the loss to Kansas City. Jaguars are a struggling team, and struggling teams can't afford special teams mistakes of such huge proportions.

Sexton ...

  1. You couldn't ask for much more from the defense. The Lions were held in check almost all afternoon. The Jags held them to only 14 rushing yards, brought good pressure notching three sacks and forced a fumble. The game swung on 3rd-and-14 in the fourth quarter when Matt Stafford slid past Sen'derrick Marks and found Eric Enron for a 56-yard gain to set up the game-winning score, and that can't be overlooked. But when you hold the Lions to 13 points in their building, it should be enough. The defense was very, very good - good enough to win.
  1. 2-8 football teams can't get out of their own way. On a day that they were sacking the quarterback and moving the ball and even taking it away, they couldn't avoid stopping their own momentum. A punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter and an interception returned for a touchdown in the third gave a Lions offense that couldn't score on its own a chance to stay in the game. In case you're counting, that's back to back punt returns that either scores or sets up a score. The pick-six touchdown was, for a change, not a bad throw by Blake Bortles, but clanged off the hands of Marqise Lee. It's been one thing for so long, we thought once they fixed it they could find a way to win. Instead, it's a new problem and it seems pretty clear they can't possibly fix all the little things that are killing them before the season is over.
  1. This was a very physical game and the Jags are going to struggle to have practice if the list of injured guys is any indication. Marcedes Lewis, T.J. Yeldon, Patrick Omahmeh and Jalen Myrick were out before the half, and there was a long line at the x-ray room in the post-game. The Jags have been remarkably healthy this year, at least they had that going for them. Now they face a trip to Buffalo and a stadium without a roof and a cold forecast with a number of key players sure to be nursing injuries all week. When it rains...or, better yet, when it snows...

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