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Without putting up much of a fight, the Jacksonville Jaguars became the first team since the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1976-77 to lose 20 consecutive regular-season games. Things went south on the very first possession, as a fumble from tight end Dan Arnold was recovered by the Titans and taken back for a touchdown, and the Jags would find themselves playing from behind the rest of the way.
They eventually lost 37-19 as the defense struggled to slow down the run game led by the NFL’s leading rusher Derrick Henry in the second half. Now 0-5 on the season coming off a controversy-filled week, the Jags have to prepare to hop across the pond to take on the Miami Dolphins in London next week.
Here are the takeaways from the loss to Tennessee.
Robinson breaks out to lead a solid offensive day
Jacksonville had its most offensive success this season against the Bengals last week, and James Robinson’s play was a major reason for that. He took a lot of the pressure off rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and that was once again the case today.
Robinson rushed for 149 yards, a season-high, and a score on 18 carries. Once again, that production allowed Lawrence to have a fairly efficient day. Lawrence was 23-of-33 with 273 yards and a touchdown, and while he couldn’t avoid turnovers for the second-straight game, his only giveaway came on an interception in the end zone as time expired, well after the game was out of hand.
Earlier, when the Jaguars were still in it, Lawrence found tight end, Jacob Hollister, on a beautiful throw and catch for a score. He also scored one himself on the ground. Lawrence is progressing in front of our eyes, but Jacksonville’s receiving corps just isn’t doing him any favors right now.
Add in the fact that the team lost star center Brandon Linder late in the game when the veteran was carted off the field with an apparent injury, and it may be difficult for Jacksonville to sustain this kind of offensive balance, which resulted in 454 total yards for the unit.
Derrick Henry is still well on his way to a rushing title
It was a bit of a mixed-bag performance from the Jacksonville defense on Sunday. On one hand, it gave up 37 points to a Titans team that hadn’t been particularly dangerous offensively leading up to this game, and the group was without leading receiver Julio Jones.
But on the other hand, the Jaguars still managed to outgain Tennessee by almost 100 yards, and while 368 total yards of offense allowed is certainly not ideal, you wouldn’t expect it to result in nearly 40 points on the scoreboard.
However, this team still continues to struggle mightily against even middling NFL offenses. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was very efficient against the Jags, throwing for 197 yards and a touchdown on 14-of-22 passing. Henry, meanwhile, wasn’t incredibly efficient but still ran for 130 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries.
After the C.J. Henderson trade, the Jags’ depth in the defensive backfield has been tested, and so far, the returns aren’t great. Holding Henry in check is a bit of a fool’s errand, but allowing a lot of success through the air to Tannehill isn’t very encouraging.
The tight ends are playing a bigger role, which probably should have been expected with the injury to D.J. Chark Jr. Arnold led the team in targets (eight) in his second game with the Jags, notching six catches for 64 yards. Meanwhile, Luke Farrell and Hollister made one catch each.
Without Chark, Tavon Austin and returner Jamal Agnew are seeing more action at receiver. Agnew led the group in catches with six for 41 yards, while Austin had five catches for 54 yards. Laviska Shenault Jr. wasn’t targeted until later in the game, but his lone catch in this one went for 58 yards. Marvin Jones, the leading receiver entering this game, had just one catch for 25 yards, though he was targeted five times.
With Tyson Campbell missing the game with a toe injury, the Jags started Chris Claybrooks alongside Shaq Griffin. It was a rough game for the second-year cornerback who was targeted by the Titans’ offense and it will be interesting to see what the Jags do at corner if Campbell can’t play in London.
K’Lavon Chaisson hasn’t had a strong start to his sophomore year after struggling as a rookie, but the former first-round pick had one of his best games as a pro on Sunday, totaling six tackles (two for loss), a sack, and three quarterback hits. That’s an encouraging sign for the Jags, who need their pass-rush to step up heading forward.
With Linder being carted off the field and A.J. Cann already on the injured reserve, Jacksonville’s depth at offensive line, a position group where it really couldn’t afford injuries, is being tested. Ben Bartch started in Cann’s place on Sunday, and he is likely to retain the right guard spot until Cann is healthy. That means that if Linder is to miss extended action, the Jags will likely rely on veteran Tyler Shatley to start. That could make things difficult both on the run game and Lawrence.
With Myles Jack and Dakota Allen both exiting the game in the second half with injuries, Shaquille Quarterman had a big-time opportunity to contribute on Sunday after a big preseason. However, even in extended action, he didn’t make too much of a difference, totaling two tackles. Jack was listed as questionable to return but didn’t, and the Jags will hope he’s able to go moving forward.