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What We Learned: Chargers 39, Jaguars 29


JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines what we learned from the Jaguars' 39-29 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., Sunday

1. The fight is real … Fight and guts don't make up for a 1-6 record. But if you want signs the Jaguars are playing hard for Head Coach Doug Marrone, look to Sunday's game. The Jaguars trailed 16-0 and went three-and-out on their first four possessions. They scored three touchdowns in the next 10 minutes to take a 21-16 lead and the game was back and forth until the fourth quarter. The Jaguars are playing hard.

2. … but the frustration is, too… The Jaguars have lost six consecutive games and 12 of 15 since a 4-4 start last season. Ten of those 12 losses have come by double digits. This is a struggling team right now for many reasons.

3.James Robinson is the Jaguars' best offensive-skill player right now… The rookie running back is the Jaguars' best story this season – an undrafted rookie who had a career-high 119 yards and a touchdown rushing Sunday. He's for real, and the Jaguars are better the more opportunities they give him.

4… and that's not ideal. The Jaguars need their quarterback to be their best player. Or wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. It's a passing league, and it's tough to win if your running back is your best player. But the passing offense isn't consistent enough – and doesn't hit enough big plays for that to be the case.

5.The defense continues to believe … The Jaguars' defense fought Sunday and did so without players such as linebacker Myles Jack (ankle), safety Jarrod Wilson (hamstring) and cornerback Sidney Jones IV – who left Sunday's game with a back injury. The score didn't show it but there were encouraging moments in the pass rush (six hurries, one sack) and run defense for this young unit Sunday.

6. … but it also continues to struggle. The Jaguars have allowed 30 more points in six consecutive games, becoming the first team since the 1984 Minnesota Vikings to allow 30 or more points in six consecutive games in a single season. The encouraging moments are positive, but it's tough to win allowing 30 points a week.

7.Josh Lambo is really good. The weekly reminder is back because Lambo – the Jaguars' veteran kicker – is back after a four-game absence because of a hip injury. Lambo only kicked one kick Sunday – an extra point. But he made it, and that marked the first time since Week 1 the Jaguars didn't miss a point after or field goal.

8.Special teams giveth … Not that special teams being important is news, but it showed again Sunday. The Jaguars stayed in the game in part because of safety Daniel Thomas' blocked punt/return for a touchdown early in the third quarter.

9. … and special teams taketh away. The game was back and forth through the third quarter, and the Jaguars led 29-22 with 3:00 remaining in the period. Then, Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert found wide receiver Jalen Guyton for a 70-yard touchdown to tie the game – and then Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Chargers recovered. Six plays later, Herbert's five-yard run gave the Chargers a 36-29 lead they never relinquished.

10.Doug Marrone wants it. The Jaguars' head coach entered Sunday wanting to be aggressive. He stayed true to that pregame goal, going for first downs on fourth down four times and also going for two points after three of the Jaguars' four touchdowns.

11.Minshew's a battler … Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II didn't complete a pass on the Jaguars' first four series and he was sacked three times during that span. But Minshew responded by throwing touchdown passes in the second and third quarters, helping the Jaguars not only get back in the game – but take control of the momentum until late in the third quarter.

12. … but the concerns remain. Minshew completed 14 of his last 24 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns, but he said later a few of the early sacks were on him because he held the ball too long. He also continues to check down too much instead of throwing downfield, the same concerns that have been issues here for a while.

13.Turnovers still matter. The Jaguars were outgained 484-294 but the key statistic remained giveaway-takeaway ratio. The Jaguars lost that 1-0, with Westbrook's fumble changing the game's momentum. The Jaguars won the turnover battle in Week 1 and beat Indianapolis. They haven't won it since and haven't won since, either.

14.Lost opportunities are still hurting. The trend that has defined recent losses continued Sunday. Four scoreless red-zone trips hurt in losses to Houston and Detroit the last two weeks. Sunday's missed chances came when the Jaguars failed to convert fourth and short in the second quarter and again in the third. It wasn't that the Jaguars didn't have a chance Sunday. They once again just couldn't make the plays they needed to take advantage of their opportunities.

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