Instant analysis from the Jags’ embarrassing 50-10 loss to the Patriots

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The Jacksonville Jaguars entered Week 17 as the biggest underdog in the NFL, yet the New England Patriots managed to cover that spread more than three times over in an absolute beatdown at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Patriots broke the half-century mark, beating Jacksonville 50-10 as a lost season seems to have reached its nadir.

The Jags, whose already thin roster is very depleted from COVID-19, were never really in this one, as the New England offense went down the field and scored on its opening drive. A field goal from the Jaguars cut the lead to 7-3, but that was the closest it ever got. It was another entirely ineffective game for the offense until garbage time, and the defense gave up more than 450 yards of offense as a rookie quarterback still hasn’t won a game in Foxborough since 1995.

The Jags — now sitting at 2-14 with a rematch against the Indianapolis Colts looming in the final game — are now locked into a top-two pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and a loss in Week 18 would clinch back-to-back first overall picks. With an interim coach, a rookie quarterback in limbo, and a lame-duck general manager who could return in 2022, this team hasn’t had much of a motivation to compete for a while now, and that was more apparent on Sunday than ever before.

Here are the takeaways and notes, if you dare.

Another mistake-filled outing for Lawrence

Let’s get the good out of the way first. With his 193 passing yards, Lawrence broke the franchise record for passing yards by a rookie, which was previously set by Gardner Minshew II in 2019 with 3,271. Though that’s probably all Lawrence will want to remember the game for.

Otherwise, it was one of his rougher performances of the season. His completion percentage wasn’t great, sitting at just 63%, and he threw three more interceptions, giving him 17 on the year. One of those picks wasn’t really on him, as it bounced off the hands of running back Ryquell Armstead and into the arms of a Patriots defender.

But the other two were certainly on Lawrence, and he’s not ending the year with much momentum to speak of. With that being said, as has been the case in most games this season, it wasn’t all bad. Lawrence found Laquon Treadwell on a 40-yard deep ball, weaving the pass through traffic in what was one of the most impressive throws of his career.

He also found running back Dare Ogunbowale for a 28-yard score late in the game, and though it was in garbage time, it also marked Lawrence’s first passing touchdown in five games. Still, overall the passing game was unsuccessful, and the running game didn’t do much to make up for it.

Ogunbowale saw the bulk of the carries once again, but he was less productive than in last week’s loss to the Jets, taking nine carries for 36 yards. Armstead, meanwhile, had just six carries for 28 yards. Overall, the team was an abysmal 3-of-9 on third downs, it was out-possessed by 13 minutes, and it ran 46 plays to New England’s 70. Not exactly a recipe for success.

Half a hundred

Fifty points allowed for a defense speaks for itself. It was Jacksonville’s worst defensive performance since it allowed 51 points in 2015 (also against the Patriots), and it didn’t make a good case for first-year defensive coordinator Joe Cullen to stick around on the new staff.

In a duel between rookie first-round pick quarterbacks, Mac Jones — a Jacksonville native — was the clear victor. He was as efficient as he has been when at his best this season, completing 22 of 30 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns. He was aided by a very strong rushing game, which was even more productive.

Rhamondre Stevenson gashed the Jags for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, and Damien Harris was an effective red-zone threat as well, finding the end zone twice himself. The Patriots ran for 191 yards, and a depleted Jags defense that was without one of its best run-stoppers in Dawuane Smoot and three starters in the secondary, including No. 1 cornerback Shaquill Griffin, didn’t have an answer.

The defense seemed to have taken strides a few weeks ago, but it hasn’t performed very well down the stretch, and this game was the worst it has looked all season.

Other Notes

  • In addition to Treadwell’s big grab that was mentioned above, he led the team with 87 receiving yards, catching all six of his targets. He continues to make a strong case for being a part of this receiver rotation next year, and he’s standing out while Marvin Jones Jr. and Laviska Shenault Jr. only had two catches each.

  • James O’Shaughnessy was inactive on Sunday, and that opened the door for Luke Farrell to see some snaps after missing the last several games. He only caught one of his two targets for seven yards, though, and Chris Manhertz didn’t have a catch and was only targeted once.

  • Jacksonville’s offensive line fared decently well despite missing three starters along the offensive line. Rookie Walker Little made the start at left tackle, while Tyler Shatley and K.C. McDermott started at center and right guard, respectively. Still, Lawrence was only sacked twice and the Patriots defense was only credited with three hits on the quarterback. It’s good for the team to get reps for these young players, especially Little, and the dropoff from the starters hasn’t been particularly noticeable.

  • Chris Claybrooks got the start with Griffin out, and the secondary struggled. Jakobi Meyers had 73 yards on eight catches, while Kendrick Bourne led the team with 76 yards. Even Kristian Wilkinson, who had spent most of the season on the practice squad and didn’t have a touchdown in his career entering the game, scored twice. Claybrooks did lead the team with nine tackles and had two pass breakups, though. Daniel Thomas and Andre Cisco started at safety and finished behind Claybrooks in tackles with eight and six, respectively.

  • The front seven didn’t have a lot of success. Myles Jack and Shaquille Quarterman led the unit with six tackles each. Josh Allen, who returned from the Reserve/COVID-19 list alongside Jack, was the only player with a tackle for loss. Linebacker Damien Wilson, meanwhile, was the only Jaguar other than Claybrooks to have a pass deflection, totaling two as well.