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What we learned: Titans 42, Jaguars 20


JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines what we learned from the Jaguars' 42-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, Sunday

1.The playoffs really are over. It's perhaps best to get this one out of the way early. The Jaguars' postseason chances pretty much disappeared a week ago with a loss in Indianapolis, but there was still a smidgen of hope entering this past weekend. No more. Sunday's loss to the Titans didn't officially eliminate them from contention, but it's about as over as it can be without being official.

2.The Jaguars aren't competing in the division. The Jaguars have lost three consecutive games in the division for the first time since 2000, and they have lost those games by 23 (Houston), 20 (Indianapolis) and 22 (Tennessee) points. That's troubling.

3.The problems run deep. You don't lose three consecutive games against three different division opponents by 20 or more points if that's not the case.

4.The run defense isn't fixed … Not even close, apparently.

5…. and the run defense is still the No. 1 issue. A lot went wrong Sunday, but the Jaguars have allowed 216, 264 and 219 yards rushing in the last three weeks. It's a passing league, but stopping the run is still the most important thing to playing defense in the NFL. If you can't do that, nothing else matters.

6.But the offense is a major problem right now, too. Yes, run defense is the No. 1 issue. But the Jaguars have scored three, seven and three points in the first half of the last three games and trailed by less than a touchdown at halftime in each game. Had the offense been able to get halftime leads – which would have meant scoring 14 points – the second halves of those games might have been different. We'll never know.

7.Derrick Henry does Derrick Henry things against his hometown team. Every time you looked up Sunday, the Titans running back was stiff-arming a Jaguars defender and gaining extra yards. Maybe it wasn't that way. But it seemed that way.

8.Quarterback Nick Foles is still rusty. The veteran quarterback hasn't been awful in two starts. He has avoided turnovers for the most part and has had spurts where he has shown arm strength and poise. But he hasn't given the offense the lift that was anticipated when he reentered the lineup in Week 11, and his deep passes in back-to-back starts have been inconsistent at best.

9.The Jaguars aren't going back to Gardner Minshew II at quarterback. Head Coach Doug Marrone was asked for a second consecutive week following Sunday's loss about a possible quarterback change. For a second consecutive week Marrone said he will stay with Foles over rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II.

10.Marrone's not firing defensive coordinator Todd Wash. Marrone was asked for a second consecutive week following Sunday's loss about a possible defensive-coordinator change. For a second consecutive week Marrone said he will stay with Wash in the position.

11.Tight end remains an issue. We didn't learn this Sunday, but we keep getting reminded week after week after week.

12.Leonard Fournette's change really is real … Fournette's transformation off the field has been remarkable this season. He has taken steps toward being a team leader and showed admirable class Sunday when he was one of the first players speaking to the media after the loss. He continues to be a different person than he was during a 2018 season when he was often criticized for behavior on and off the field.

13. … and he's still playing well. A week after he got 15 touches – eight carries and seven receptions – in the loss at Indianapolis, the Jaguars made a point to get Fournette more touches Sunday. He carried 24 times for 97 yards and caught nine passes for 62 yards, running hard and playing at a higher level than anyone else on the Jaguars' offense.

14.The Jaguars have moved back to Quincy Williams at weak-side linebacker. The rookie was back in the starting lineup Sunday after a five-game absence. He made a huge play, but the Jaguars seem committed to giving the rookie a chance to grow at weak-side linebacker.

15.Josh Lambo is still good. Your weekly reminder.

16.The problems run deep. Really deep.

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