Advertisement

Studs and duds in the Jaguars’ 28-20 loss vs. Titans

The Jacksonville Jaguars’ season ended Sunday with a 28-20 loss in a win-or-go-home Week 18 game against the Tennessee Titans.

For the offense, things started strong in Nashville. In Trevor Lawrence’s return from a shoulder sprain that caused him to sit out   a game for the first time in his career, he led the team into field goal range on the first possession and connected with Calvin Ridley on a 59-yard deep ball early in the second quarter.

While Jacksonville’s offense lagged at times, the issue for most of the day was the defense. Despite focusing on stopping the wholly unsurprising run-heavy approach from the Titans, the Jaguars allowed 8.1 yards per carry to the duo of Derrick Henry and Tyjae Spears.

With the season on the line, the Jaguars turned in a dud and lost for the fifth time in six weeks. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there’s not many Jaguars performances to celebrate in Week 18:

Dud: Jaguars run defense

Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK
Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

As previously mentioned, Henry and Spears averaged 8.1 yards per carry and combined for 178 yards and two touchdowns on the day. The only consolation for the Jaguars is that they finally don’t have to deal with Henry anymore.

Dud: Doug Pederson

Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

When preparation, miscues, mistakes, mental errors, and miscommunications are the weekly issues that kneecap your season, who else can you point to? It’d be a surprise if the Jaguars made any major changes like firing Pederson or general manager Trent Baalke, but so much of this failed season falls at their feet.

Dud: Jaguars run game

Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK
Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

Etienne managed to finish with 57 yards, enough to eclipse 1,000 yards on the year, but it was far from an efficient or smooth day for the back. The third-year running back was dropped for a loss or no gain on five plays along with a sixth play that was nullified by an illegal contact penalty.

Dud: Goal line offense

Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK
Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

With one yard between the Jaguars and a potentially game-tying touchdown, they had two tries to get into the end zone. First, they had Trevor Lawrence roll right where he found no options and eventually threw the ball away. Then he tried to dive over the line of scrimmage and came up inches short.

If the team’s issues could be distilled into a single moment, the incapability to get one yard with the game on the line just about sums it up.

Stud(ish): QB Trevor Lawrence, WR Calvin Ridley, TE Evan Engram

Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK
Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

It could’ve been a great day for all three players if not for one brutal play each.

Trevor Lawrence had stellar moments in his return, finishing with 280 yards and two touchdowns. His errant throw to Zay Jones that was intercepted was the kind of mistake he keeps making and has to erase, though.

Calvin Ridley finished with over 100 yards and hauled in a 59-yard bomb. But he also dropped what would’ve been a tough play, but a potential season-saver in the final minutes.

Evan Engram had 10 receptions and a touchdown. He also had a brutal drop on a third down that turned into an interception that set up a Titans touchdown.

All three were mostly good, but not quite good enough to make up for a brutal day on defense.

Story originally appeared on Jaguars Wire