Historically Bad Season Takes Another Negative Turn as Jaguars Lose 45-10 to Chargers at Home
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Well, that was ugly. After a week of optimism surrounded the Jacksonville Jaguars thanks to the implementation of rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II back into the starting lineup, things came crashing down in a big way in a 45-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers at TIAA Bank Field.
Jacksonville (4-9) dropped its fifth-straight game, each by at least 17 points, after laying a massive egg against the Los Angeles Chargers (5-8). In doing so, Jacksonville became the first team since the 1986 Buccaneers to lose 5 straight by 17 points or more. That Buccaneers team went 2-14.
The game started out strong thanks to a solid drive to kick off the game, where Jacksonville picked up four first downs during a 14-play, 67-yard drive before kicking a 26-yard field goal. Minshew looked precise and in a rhythm. Leonard Fournette was picking up huge chunks of yards.
But things fell apart in a big, big way after that.
It only took the Chargers three plays to drive 73 yards on the ensuing drive thanks to a 27-yard Austin Ekeler run and a 45-yard Keenan Allen catch before Melvin Gordon pounded it into the end zone from the one-yard line.
Ekeler and Allen each had their way with a Jaguars’ defense that had one of its worst home performances ever. In 58 plays, Jacksonville allowed 525 yards, a staggering 9.1 yards per play average.
"Like I told the players, obviously I’m responsible for wins and losses, so that’s on me and we made too many mistakes. There were mistakes all over the place. That goes on coaches and players and everyone, so we’ve got to take a good look," Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said after the game. "We’ve got three games left, and no one is coming to help us. Everyone is playing. So, we’ve got to keep playing and find a way to get this done. Obviously, it’s a poor performance all around, starting with me, the coaches and then, obviously, our on-field performance.”
Ekeler did the brunt of the damage, totaling 101 rushing yards on eight carries and 112 receiving yards on four catches, capped off with a by a 84-yard touchdown catch on a screen on the third player of the third quarter. Overall, Ekeler totaled 213 yards on only 12 touches, an astonishing figure.
Phillip Rivers has historically destroyed the Jaguars, but he especially poured it on tonight, ending the game with one of the best stat lines of his 16-year career. Nothing the Jaguars or defensive coordinator Todd Wash threw at Rivers worked and he made things look so easy that he didn’t even play the final quarter, instead being pulled for backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor (who also threw a touchdown pass). Rivers ended the game 16-of-22 passing for 314 yards and three touchdown passes, all without playing the fourth quarter.
“Yeah, there was a lot of busted coverages. There were busted things, and those are the guys that we have, and we’ve got to do a better job. It’s a little bit on both," Marrone said. "You can’t just say it’s just the players. It’s us as coaches, too. We try to put them in good positions. We work on things during the week, but if you don’t have that performance on the field, that is a reflection on everyone.”
While the crux of Jacksonville’s problems was on the defensive side of the ball, the offense wasn’t much better -- if better at all. Minshew didn’t find the end zone until halfway through the third quarter (a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Nick O’Leary) and looked stymied by the Chargers’ defense and former Jaguars’ head coach, and current Chargers defensive coordinator, Gus Bradley’s scheme.
Minshew was able to make a few plays with his legs but ultimately was below-average as a passer. He finished his day 24-of-37 passing for 162 yards and a touchdown, amounting to a meager 4.4 yards per attempt.
Overall, the Jaguars’ offense was off the mark in every way. In 63 plays, it totaled 252 yards in 63 plays, only 4.0 yards per play.
Jacksonville will travel to Oakland to play the Oakland Raiders next week, but this season appears to be already sent off the rails in a big way.