Winners and Losers From Jaguars’ Deflating Loss to Titans
For the third consecutive week, the Jacksonville Jaguars dropped a pivotal game to an AFC South opponent in a disastrous way, this time losing 42-20 to the Tennessee Titans in Nashville. The loss cemented Jacksonville in the AFC South cellar and handed the team a 4-7 record, only a month after the team was sitting at .500 with postseason hopes.
When a team loses as soundly as Jacksonville did on Sunday, there is a lot of blame to go around and nobody is really innocent in the matter. After all, Jacksonville's defense once again faltered down the stretch and allowed two touchdowns of 65+ yards during a 28-point third quarter by the Titans.
The Jaguars' offense wasn't much better, entering halftime with only three points and starting the second half with multiple failed possessions. This comes a week after the offense only scored seven points before garbage time and a few weeks after Jacksonville scored only three points vs. the Houston Texans in London.
So when looking at yesterday's loss from a holistic point of view, who were the few Jaguars who performed well and who failed to produce in a bad loss?
Winner: Leonard Fournette
In an otherwise putrid day for Jacksonville's offense, Leonard Fournette shined and truly gave a complete effort from the first snap to the last one. Even with the game completely out of hand in the third quarter, Fournette was making tough catches and runs, doing his best to will the Jaguars back into what had become a lopsided game.
He totaled 159 yards from scrimmage as Jacksonville repeatedly fed him the ball as both a runner and receiver, and he made the most of his opportunities by scoring two rushing touchdowns. Fournette entered the game with only one touchdown, so scoring twice even in a big loss is a positive for the third-year running back who is on his way to his best season as a pro.
Loser: Nick Foles
Throwing the ball 48 times and only totaling 272 yards, even though you completed 32 of those passes, is nowhere close to producing enough to be a winning quarterback in today's NFL. But unfortunately for Jacksonville, that is what they got from Nick Foles vs. the Titans. Foles was the victim of a bad drop by Chris Conley early in the game but otherwise, he looked off target every time he tried to throw downfield and whenever he had to attempt a throw to the intermediate area of the field, his throws had a noticeable lack of velocity on them.
Foles was not the Jaguars' only problem on Sunday, but the offense punted on six of its first seven possessions and only managed a field goal on the lone scoring possession in the first half. The offense was simply dead this week, and Foles deserves his share of the blame.
Loser: Chris Conley
Chris Conley once again saw a lot of targets but failed to record a catch on over half of them, a trend that has followed him throughout most of this season. He recorded four catches for 49 yards on nine targets, with the majority of those targets coming on the first few drives of the game. Conley has simply not been productive enough to be a starting wide receiver and drops like the one he had on the second drive of the game, where the ball literally bounced off of his shoulder pad, is a big reason why.
Winner: Yannick Ngakoue
Yannick Ngakoue has played like his hair is on fire over the last several weeks and Sunday's loss was no different. Ngakoue is the sole reason the Titans failed to score a touchdown early in the second quarter, as he whipped left tackle Dennis Kelly with ease and forced a Ryan Tannehill fumble before recovering it himself. Ngakoue has been a dependable and steady pass rushing presence for a defense without many other positives, and Sunday was another case of this.
Loser: Todd Wash's defense:
Defensive coordinator Todd Wash has faced a ton of criticism during Jacksonville's losing streak, and for good reason seeing as how his defense has allowed over 200 yards rushing in all three losses. But his defense hit its lowest point of the season Sunday when they allowed the Titans to score 42 points and gain 9.1 yards per play despite entering the game as the 26th ranked scoring offense. The Titans offense isn't stocked with talent, but Jacksonville made them look like The Greatest Show on Turf.
Loser: Brandon Linder:
Brandon Linder entered this season with only three holding penalties in his entire career. He has five alone this season, and two yesterday were killer as the first one knocked Jacksonville out of field goal range on an otherwise positive first drive of the game, and the next holding call wiped out a 34-yard Leonard Fournette run. The second holding call was a bad call by the referees, but Linder seems to have gotten a case of the penalty bug at the worst time possible.