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What We Learned: Lions 34, Jaguars 16


JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines what we learned from the Jaguars' 34-16 loss to the Detroit Lions at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday …

1.The struggles are real. There's no single area to blame for Sunday's loss – or for the Jaguars' five-game losing streak. The Jaguars have trailed throughout the fourth quarter in their last four games and have trailed by double digits in the last five games. When that's the case, there are many reasons.

2.The offense is struggling … After scoring 27 and 30 points in Weeks 1 and 2, the Jaguars have scored in the teens three of the last four games – a 31-13 loss to Miami in Week 3, a 30-14 loss to Houston in Week 5 and a 34-16 loss to Detroit Sunday. That's not a one-off. That's a trend.

3…. and the defense is, too. The defense has allowed 30 or more points in five consecutive games. That's the first time that has happened in a five-game stretch in one season in franchise history.

4.Todd Wash is safe. Head Coach Doug Marrone confirmed this after Sunday's game, saying that as long as he is the head coach Todd Wash will be the defensive coordinator. Marrone long has supported Wash, doing so throughout last season. It's not a surprise that Marrone feels this way, but it's news that he said so publicly Sunday.

5.Gardner Minshew II is still struggling. This has become a theme in the last few weeks. The questions that surrounded the second-year quarterback entering the season – arm strength, pocket presence, field vision – are still questions.

6.But Marrone isn't considering replacing Minshew. Marrone specified this following Sunday's game. He didn't rule out eventually replacing Minshew but said this in the context that anything must be considered if the team is struggling. He said he absolutely didn't consider it Sunday.

7.The answer isn't as easy as just "handing the ball to Robinson." A theory bandied about in recent weeks was that the solution to the Jaguars' struggles was simply using rookie running back James Robinson more. The Jaguars tried to establish the run against the NFL's 32nd-ranked run defense. He rushed for 21 yards on eight first-half carries and 29 yards on 12 carries for the game. When teams are stacking the box and bringing safeties down against the run, you must be able to throw to win.

8.The Jaguars miss Josh Allen. No, the second-year defensive end wasn't dominant in the first four games of the season. But he had two sacks and he was pressuring quarterbacks more consistently than any other member of the defensive front. He has been out the last two games with a knee injury. Without him, the pressure is even less consistent.

9.Keelan Cole is having an impressive season. Give the fourth-year veteran credit. After surprising many as an undrafted free agent early in his career (2017 and early 2018), he struggled late in 2018 and early 2019. He started to show good signs late last season and has emerged this season as a very good third receiver. His six-reception, 143-yard performance Sunday marked the second-most yards of his career and his fourth 100-yard game – his first since the Jaguars' Week 2 victory over New England in 2018.

10.Jack is still hurting … He has been the Jaguars' best defensive player – maybe the best player, period – this season. He missed a Week 5 loss at Houston with an ankle injury and had four tackles Sunday before leaving with an ankle injury. Credit to Jack for gutting it out as long as possible.

11. … and so are many others. An injury list that has been a concern grew a little longer Sunday. Like Jack, tight end Tyler Eifert (neck) left with an injury that had been a pre-game issue. Guard A.J. Cann left Sunday with a shoulder injury, and rookie Ben Bartch struggled at times in his place. Allen also remained out and defensive tackle Abry Jones missed with an ankle/hamstring issue. The Jaguars already has a small margin for error. It's getting smaller.

12.Josh Lambo matters. The Jaguars have had five kickers in the last five games, including four in the last four games after placing Lambo on injured reserve with a hip injury. All four kickers have missed kicks in the last four games, with Sunday's kicker – rookie Jon Brown – missing from 32 yards. Sigh.

13.Run defense is a "thing" again. The Jaguars were OK in this area through three games. With the interior of the defensive line struggling, it has creeped back in as a concern. The Lions rushed for 180 yards on 39 carries and ran effectively in too many big situations Sunday.

14.Opportunies are still getting squandered. This was a theme a week ago and remained one Sunday. The Jaguars had three possessions inside Detroit territory in the second quarter and early in the third. They failed to score on any of the three, with Brown missing a 32-yard field goal, Minshew losing a sack fumble from the Lions 45 and the offense turning the ball over on downs from the Detroit 20.

15.It only gets tougher. The Jaguars remain in what many initially believed was a manageable part of their schedule. The results so far: losses to four teams with losing records – Miami, Detroit, Houston and Cincinnati. They play the 1-4 Los Angeles Chargers Sunday and 1-5 Houston next. After that? A three-game stretch against 4-1 Green Bay, 5-0 Pittsburgh and 4-2 Cleveland. Buckle up.

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