JACKSONVILLE -- Senior writer John Oehser examines what we learned from the Jaguars' 19-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at EverBank Field in Jacksonville Sunday …
1.Losing stinks.To be fair, we've known this a while, but it hit home following Sunday's third consecutive loss to start the season and the sixth consecutive loss overall. Fans are tired of losing, and there's no question players are tired of it. The postgame locker room was a quiet place Sunday. "I feel sick right now," tight end Marcedes Lewis said. He wasn't alone.
2.The NFL is a cruel league.There are plenty of specifics to discuss about the loss to the Ravens, and many involve ways the Jaguars must get a lot better. But the cruel reality of the Jaguars' season is as poorly as they have played at times, they're a play or two from being 2-1. If Allen Robinson comes down with a pass against Green Bay, if the Jaguars get a fourth-down stop on Sunday. If, if, if …
3.Blake Bortles is struggling.The third-year quarterback is really, really struggling – more than anyone anticipated this early in the season. He has thrown six interceptions in three games, with five coming in the last two weeks. His first-half interception Sunday on a pass intended for Allen Robinson ended a scoring opportunity. His first fourth-quarter interception ended a chance for a game-clinching touchdown. His last interception ended whatever chance the Jaguars had to win. It's impossible to win in the NFL with that many turnovers.
4.Bortles' pocket awareness must improve.The Jaguars allowed four fourth-quarter sacks. The offensive line is taking some heat for those among some observers, but Bortles moved into at least two of the sacks and needed to get rid of the ball more quickly under pressure in the fourth quarter.
5.The run game is struggling.We didn't actually learn this Sunday, but the season-long trend was reaffirmed. The return of Chris Ivory didn't help, with the line struggling to create space throughout a long, difficult game. T.J. Yeldon rushed for 17 yards on six carries; Ivory rushed 12 times for 14 yards. That's not enough for a team that wants to emphasize the run.
6.Jalen Ramsey is confident …Ramsey's late-game and post-game altercations with Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. made headlines and spawned many, many retweets. Ramsey didn't back down from Smith throughout the game and played him well. Of the post-game altercation, Ramsey said afterward, "He came up to me. He's an old man acting like that."
7. … and he's really good, too.The Ramsey-Smith incident surely will fade quickly. It's players talking trash, which is good entertainment and not too important in the big picture. What's important in the big picture is that Ramsey is more than living up to his No. 5 overall draft status. He's already very good in coverage and his physicality/tackling ability is elite for the cornerback position. He looks like a future star and it looks like you may be able to remove "future" from that phrase pretty quickly.
8.Yannick Ngakoue is playing above his draft status.The third-round defensive end has two sacks in the last two games. He also is pressuring the passer fairly consistently – certainly more consistently than you usually would expect from a rookie defensive end.
9.Dante Fowler Jr. must play more disciplined.The second-year defensive end has had more penalties than is ideal early in the season. The one he drew late in the first half for "leverage" trying to block a missed field-goal attempt gave the Ravens a second chance. Justin Tucker hit the second field goal, and those three points were big in what became a two-point loss.
10.Paul Posluszny is on the field for a reason.The veteran middle linebacker seemingly comes under criticism from observers weekly, but he played big-time against the run Sunday. And his fourth-quarter interception should have been the game's biggest play.
11.Telvin Smith is playing at a high level.Remember the preseason when there was talk among fans and media of Smith's snaps reduced? There's a reason that hasn't happened. The reason is that Smith is playing at an extremely high level, and has been more consistent than seasons past.
12.Allen Robinson is still good.The Jaguars' offense didn't do nearly enough to win Sunday, but Robinson came up big twice in the red zone. His touchdown receptions of three and 11 yards gave the offense mid-game life and gave him four multiple-touchdown games in his 29-game career.
13.Marqise Lee is showing good signs.The third-year wide receiver seems to be gaining confidence by the week. He and Bortles narrowly missed hooking up for a first-half touchdown, and it appears the Jaguars are figuring more ways to have him more involved in the offense. His playmaking ability is starting to show and that could be huge for this offense.
14.Losing stinks.At 0-3, it's worth mentioning twice.