Jacksonville Will Take An Ugly Win Over A Loss Coming Where They Came From. Is It Sustainable? The Takeaway
Cleveland, OH — The Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3) went to Cleveland (0-9) Sunday on a three-game win streak. The objective, win by any means necessary. Done. In the NFL a win is a win, and they’re all equal. Dealing with injuries just like every other team at this point of the season, the Jags took care of business vs. the Browns. Jacksonville sits atop the AFC South, one game back from the best record in the AFC.
On a gloomy, cold and snowy day in Cleveland, the Jaguars defense showed why this team cannot be just brushed off. Over the past four games, Jacksonville has given up only 7.8 points per game.
Running back Leonard Fournette, was back to his usual production with his availability in question before the game
Jacksonville will make the playoffs and probably win the AFC South. Due to their final six games; the Jags have an opportunity to earn a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the playoffs and make some noise as long as Fournette and the defense are firing on all cylinders.
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Jaguars’ starting offensive linemen Patrick Omameh (quad), and Jermey Parnell (knee), missed another game on Sunday. It’s tougher to evaluate the offensive production with back-ups in the lineup.
Jags’ Receiver, Allen Hurns, missed Sunday’s contest as well with an ankle injury. Also, fellow receiver Marquis Lee has battled injuries for most of the season. Lee and rookie receiver Kellan Cole were banged up in Sunday’s game, coming out of the game, but did come back in. Jacksonville is already down top receiver Allen Robinson due to an ACL tear in the week one.
Fournette looked good against the Browns’ stout run defense. Fournette has been battling an ankle injury for the better part of four weeks.
Jacksonville will need all hands on deck for a deep playoff run.
The Jags Need Passing Production
Only Jacksonville’s front office knows if quarterback Blake Bortles will be “their guy.” If Bortles continues to be inconsistent like this, he won’t be, he can’t be; can he?
Whatever the case may be, head coach Doug Marrone and the coaching staff needs to find a way to be more productive through the air. The Browns all but dared Bortles to throw the ball with all the stacked boxes and man coverage. Bortles finished the game 17-30 with 154 yards passing and 10-yard touchdown to tight end Marcedes Lewis.
To Marrone’s credit, the Jaguars didn’t take the bait and ran the ball successfully. But if Jacksonville wants to make an impact in the playoffs, they must find a consistent passing game. The defenses Jacksonville will face will be much more robust.
With three sacks of over the past three games including zero against the Chargers last week, the Jaguars found their groove in getting to the quarterback. Jacksonville registered five sacks as they harassed Browns’ rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer.
The NFL’s number one pass defense also recorded two interceptions, recovered three fumbles, while holding the Browns to 184 total yards. The Jaguars ended the game with a strip-sack fumble recovery by linebacker Telvin Smith for a touchdown.
Jacksonville’s elite defense has been carrying the team as the offense treads water. Hopefully, the defense won’t be spent and out of gas, as the playoffs approach in the next seven weeks.
Up Next: Jacksonville is on the road again, facing the Arizona Cardinals and potentially, former Jags quarterback Blaine Gabbert.