NFL Wire News

Jaguars defense must play full time to win

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars defense may need to get back to the basics.

And nothing is more basic than the fact that football is a 60-minute game.

For the last three games, the Jaguars played well for only 30 minutes. That worked against the New York Giants when they overcame a 21-3 halftime deficit to win 25-24 with the help of two defensive touchdowns in the second half.

It didn’t work against the Colts and Texans.

The Jaguars trailed the Colts only 6-3 at halftime two weeks ago and led the Texans 13-10 at half Sunday but wound up losing both games by big margins. The Jaguars gave up a 16-play, 84-yard touchdown drive in the third period that gave the Texans a 17-13 lead after the Jaguars led 13-10 lead at halftime. The Texans went on to win, 27-13.

Two weeks ago in Indianapolis, the Jaguars trailed only 6-3 at halftime, but the Colts scored 17 points in the second half to win 23-3.

The offense was blanked in the second half of both games but the defense couldn’t keep it close.

“It’s definitely frustrating,” said defensive Roy Miller said. “You see two different teams playing each week.”

Safety Jonathan Cyprien said, “Right now it looks like a tale of two halves.”

Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks said they simply missed two many tackles as Arian Foster ran 24 times for 127 yards.

“We played bad,” Marks said. “We didn’t play good at all. We missed two many tackles today. That’s what it boiled down to. We didn’t pressure like we usually do and we didn’t get any turnovers.”

Marks isn’t sure what the answers are.

“I’m not sure if it’s youth,” Mark said. “I’m not sure if it’s not learning from mistakes. We have to pinpoint it. We’re in games. We’re in a great situation and we let it go.”

Marks also saluted Foster, who had a back injury and didn’t play in either game last year when the Jaguars swept the Texans for two of their four victories.

“Foster is a great back,” Marks said. “It’s hard to bring him down and we didn’t.”

Defensive end Chris Clemons didn’t even want to discuss the game.

“Sen’Derrick gave you all the information you need,” Clemons said.

“I look at it and I think there’s something that I could have done,” coach Gus Bradley said. “I need to take responsibility for some of this. If we didn’t come out in the second half and play like we’re capable of playing I have to take responsibility for some of that as well.”

He also said they have to “remember that it is a full 60-minute game.”

The Jaguars are 2-11 and tied for the worst record in the league although they would draft third if the season ended now.

They go to Baltimore Sunday and then host Tennessee the following Thursday before closing out the season at Houston.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER NOTES

–DE Andre Branch missed Sunday’s game with a groin injury and his condition will be updated later in the week.

–WR Tommy Streeter missed Sunday’s game with an oblique strain and his condition will be updated later in the week.

–DT Sen’Derrick Marks has a neck strain and toe injury but is expected to practice.

–LB Khairi Fortt missed Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury and his condition will be updated later in the week.

–LB Jeremiah George returned to action Sunday after missing three games with a high ankle sprain and his condition will be evaluated later in the week.

REPORT CARD VS. TEXANS

–PASSING OFFENSE: D — Blake Bortles completed 20 of 39 for 205 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw an interception and had a quarterback rating of only 64.6. It didn’t help that his receivers dropped several passes, including one by Cecil Shorts when he was wide open for a big game on a slant route. Bortles also had trouble throwing downfield.

–RUSHING OFFENSE: D — Denard Robinson only had 30 yards in 10 carries. Toby Gerhart had a nine-yard run on a 3rd-and-8 play in the second period that kept a field goal drive alive. But the Jaguars had no consistency in their running game.

–PASS DEFENSE: C — Houston’s Ryan Fitzpatrick is a journeyman who threw for only 135 yards on 13 of 19 passes with no touchdowns and no interceptions. But the Texans didn’t need a passing game because they shredded the Jaguars on the ground.

–RUSH DEFENSE: F — The Texans rushed for 173 yards on 42 carries with Arian Foster getting 127 yards on 24 carries. He didn’t play in either game last year when the Texans lost twice to the Jaguars and he was the difference in the game. They also surprised the Jaguars with some trap plays they hadn’t run in the past.

–SPECIAL TEAMS: B — Josh Scobee had two field goals but they were virtually automatic from 33 and 37 yards. Ace Sanders had a 15-yard punt return and Jordan Todman returned four kickoffs for an average of 27.8 yards, including a 30-yarder. Bryan Anger, who sometimes outkicks the coverage, had a 54-yarder go out of bounds on the Texans 16 only to see the Texans answer with an 84-yard touchdown drive. He had a gross of 48.3 yards but only a net of 38.0. The coverage teams gave up a 21-yard punt return that set up Houston’s first touchdown.

–COACHING: D — Even coach Gus Bradley said he has to take responsibility for the fact the team plays well for only a half. He isn’t playing with a full deck because they have so many young players including a rookie quarterback, but they are not developing as fast as the Jaguars hoped.


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