JACKSONVILLE – A day after, senior writer John Oehser examines the Jaguars' 26-21 loss to the New York Jets in a 2021 Week 16 game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Sunday
1.The Jaguars are No. 32. It's hard to believe different right now. The Jaguars are 2-13 and have lost seven consecutive games. They have lost the last two games to the Houston Texans (4-11) and New York Jets (4-11). They are in position for the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. So, yes … as of now, the Jaguars are the NFL's worst team.
2. J-Rob is out for the season. This was the big news Sunday – and close to the worst news imaginable. Jaguars running back James Robinson sustained a torn Achilles in the first quarter and is out for the season. The question will be when Robinson can return – and his level of effectiveness when he does return. Achilles injuries are bad for any player, particularly for running backs. "He's such a rock for us," Interim Head Coach Darrell Bevell said. "When one of your bell cows like that goes down like that, it's a tough blow."
3. The offense shows some signs of life. This must be kept in perspective because the Jets were playing with a slew of players out because of COVID-19. But the Jaguars' 384 yards of offense were their most since a Week 6 victory over Miami, their 27 first downs were a season-high and their 21 points were the first time they had been in the 20s since Miami. That's at least a touch of progress.
4. Bevell liked the offensive progress … Interim Head Coach Darrell Bevell: "Our execution was on point."
5. … and so did Lawrence. Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence: "I felt like we were really clicking on all cylinders today on offense. I really feel like offensively we played clean football today, and we took advantage of a lot of our opportunities. I really liked the way we move the ball all day."
6. Communication was an issue late. The Jaguars had a very real chance to win Sunday. They faced first-and-goal from the Jets 5 with :32 remaining, then faced third-and-goal from the 1 with :12 remaining. Lawrence spiked the ball to stop the clock – and Lawrence threw incomplete to wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. on fourth down. "We just didn't do a good job communicating and getting lined up on the last play," Bevell said. "It should have given us plenty of time but we didn't execute very well there."
7. Lawrence had one of his better games of the season. Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, completed 26 of 39 passes for 280 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions Sunday. He completed 6 of 9 passes on the Jaguars' final drive to set up the go-ahead opportunity, and he also rushed six times for 37 yards for the game. "I was really proud of him today," Bevell said. "I thought he did a really good job of managing the game. I like the throws he was taking. I don't know what he ended up (with) but I liked how he played today."
8. Aggressiveness was the watchword. The Jaguars not only took the ball after winning the opening toss, they converted a fake punt from their own 33 on the game's first series. The idea was to get a lead – and they did, with kicker Matthew Wright's 21-yard field goal capping the drive and giving them their first lead since a 9-6 victory over the Buffalo Bills on November 7.
9. The run defense struggled in a big way Sunday. This was a major offseason focus, and the Jaguars' defense mostly has been improved against the run this season. But the unit allowed 273 yards rushing Sunday, their highest of the season. "When teams are running the ball it's a function of everybody and you have to do a great job of playing gap-integrity defense," Bevell said.
10. Drops remain an issue. Jaguars wide receivers dropped a slew of catchable passes Sunday. Again. Some were tough catches. Some weren't. Either way, the impact of drops on the passing game can't be overstated.
11. … and missed opportunities do, too. The Jaguars dropped at least two interceptions Sunday. This team doesn't get enough takeaway opportunities to squander them and win.
12. The Jaguars have a kickoff return coverage problem. The Jaguars allowed Jets wide receiver Braxton Berrios to score a touchdown on a 102-yard, second-quarter kickoff return. The play gave the Jets a 13-9 lead they never relinquished and marked the second kickoff return for a touchdown against the Jaguars in as many weeks. "We have to do a better job in coverage," Bevell said. "We gave up one last week, we gave up one this week and it ends up being a difference in a game. Whoever we put out there, it's those guys' responsibility to be able to go out and make plays. We'll continue to look at it, but the guy didn't even break stride as he ran through our kickoff team; we have to do a better job. We'll go back, we'll look at it, we'll evaluate it and continue to work on it."
13. Lawrence isn't quitting … Lawrence: "It's a bad feeling, but I'm proud of these guys the way we fought and had a chance to win. So, we've got to get better. Good teams win those games, so we've got to get better. … Obviously didn't get the result we wanted. But we've still got two more games and just trying to finish strong."
14. … and neither is Griffin. Jaguars cornerback Shaq Griffin: "Even though we lost, the momentum is definitely going in the right direction going in the next two games (and) going into the offseason. That's what we needed. This team, this organization is going to flip around, and I felt that today. I felt that."
Check out these top game photos of the Jacksonville Jaguars as they take on the New York Jets for Week 16 of the NFL Regular Season at MetLife Stadium.