EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars talked all week about consistency and stacking up good performances after an up-and-down start to the season. The New York Jets seemed to be the perfect matchup to allow them to finally put together back-to-back wins for the first time since October 2016.
They’re still searching after Sunday’s 23-20 overtime loss at MetLife Stadium -- and now it’s time to start wondering if that’s the kind of team the Jaguars are going to be in 2017.
Look good one week, flounder the next. Rout Houston, get routed by Tennessee, rout Baltimore, lose to a Jets team that -- on paper, anyway -- they’re better than. Instead of taking control of the AFC South, they’re sitting in a three-way tie with Houston and Tennessee.
That the game-deciding kick was set up by the Jaguars’ most reliable player, middle linebacker Paul Posluszny, made it all the more crushing. Posluszny was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after a punt and that gave the Jets the ball on the Jaguars’ 25-yard line. Four plays later, Chandler Catanzaro hit a 41-yard field goal.
Sunday’s loss to the Jets was the complete opposite of what happened the week before against Baltimore in London, when they smothered the Ravens 44-7. This week, the Jaguars gave up big plays on defense, turned the ball over deep in their own territory, had questionable play-calling (especially late in the game) and committed a late penalty that wiped out a touchdown, and quarterback Blake Bortles had a bad day after an encouraging start.
Tease, tease, tease. Show potential, but waste it with an avalanche of mistakes. That's what the Jaguars are right now.
"I think that’s tough to look at it as who we are and accept that," Bortles said. "Because I think the guys in the locker room are a lot better than that. I think we have an extremely good football team. I think we have an extremely good coaching staff that’s able to get us ready week in and week out. So it’s on us as a group of players to be able to go out and execute and kind of control that consistency that we’re talking about and that we’re looking for because we have the ability to do it."
What I liked: Linebacker Myles Jack had the presence of mind to pick up a ball that bounced off running back Bilal Powell and return it for a touchdown when most of the players on the field thought the play was dead. It came after the Jets completed a long pass deep into Jaguars territory and it was the spark the team needed to get back into the game.
What I didn’t like: The Jaguars’ run defense got hurt by cutbacks all afternoon, giving up touchdown runs of 75 and 69 yards. Posluszny was not on the field for either of those plays, which certainly was a factor. Granted, you could argue that Powell’s 75-yard TD run shouldn’t have happened because it appeared he was tripped by linebacker Telvin Smith before he got back up and continued to run, but there were several players in position to tap Powell down just to make sure and they didn’t. The Jets ran for 256 yards, including 163 by Powell.
Fantasy fallout: Running back Leonard Fournette scored again, giving him a touchdown in his first four games. This time it came on a 10-yard pass, the first receiving touchdown of his career. He finished with 145 yards from scrimmage. However, he didn’t touch the ball after the Jaguars had first-and-goal at the 6 late in regulation.
Painful penalty: The Jaguars appeared to take the lead with about a minute to play when Fournette scored on a screen pass, but an illegal block penalty on Arrelious Benn put the Jaguars back on the 16-yard line. They reached the 6, but three consecutive passes (very questionable playcalling by offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett) fell incomplete and the Jaguars kicked a field goal to tie the game.
What’s next: The Jaguars are again on the road, this time traveling to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers. The Jaguars are tied with Tennessee and Houston at 2-2 in the division.