Coming into the game against the Ravens I was asked to appear on a few radio shows in Baltimore. While both teams were 2-6 through eight games, most of the talk in Baltimore was about injuries and under performance by their defense. They had all kinds of reasons that their 2-6 record was very different than the identical record of the Jaguars.
After watching the first half of the game between these two teams, it’s obvious that the old adage applied here: You are what you earn in the NFL. While the Jaguars have had trouble getting out of their own way in 5 of their 6 losses, the Ravens have made their share of mistakes all year, continuing against the Jaguars and have earned every one of their six defeats as well.
A collection of punts, penalties, missed coverages and catches made for a half that was fairly entertaining but not very well played. Without any pressure, Joe Flacco provided all of the offense for Baltimore throwing two TD passes and a 14-10 halftime lead. Pressure on the QB has been a problem for the Jaguars all season and with none against the Ravens, Flacco found receivers at will.
On offense, Blake Bortles didn’t look like he was that much different than last week, not feeling pressure, taking sacks and throwing into coverage all too often. Bortles missed a couple of wide open receivers, threw behind guys and early in the second half never looked at Marcedes Lewis who was running down the field uncovered. A field goal did bring the Jaguars within one, 14-13.
Although Gus Bradley said the Jaguars were emphasizing work on special teams since the bye week, it didn’t show against Baltimore, especially on kick and punt coverage. Good field position usually leads to points and that’s where the Ravens took advantage holding the lead through the middle of the third quarter.
Getting turnovers has been a problem for the Jaguars all year long but against the Ravens they grabbed two interceptions and forced a fumble in the third quarter. But they got only three points out of those three takeaways. Between Bortles looking off his game, a drop by Marqise Lee and Jason Myers missing a 26-yard FG attempt, the Jaguars still trailed 14-13 at the end of the third.
A muffed punt by the Ravens gave the Jaguars another chance, and add on the 4th personal foul of the game against Baltimore and the Jaguars had another chance. This time they took advantage with Allen Robinson making the catch in the end zone giving the Jaguars the lead 19-14. Going for two was the right call there but I hate the Jaguars two-point package. Give the QB a couple of options that close to the goal line but they keep trying the fade as the only option and it fails.
With Sen’Derrick Marks out of the game with an elbow injury, the Ravens went to the run, and capitalized on good balance with a TD. Ten plays, 80 yards, they went for two but failed and led 20-19.
A couple of punts by both teams had the clock winding down inside a minute and the Jaguars out of time outs. Two completions over the middle wound some clock and a run by Bortles did the same near midfield. One more catch by Julius Thomas inbounds kept the clock running and with maybe a half-second left on the clock Bortles took the shotgun snap and slipped to the ground. He got up with no whistle and started to run. But Elvis Dumervil grabbed him by the facemask giving the Jaguars 15 yards and an untimed down.
In trots Jason Myers, he of the 26-yard miss and after a Baltimore timeout, he hits a 53-yarder to give the Jaguars a 22-20 win.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, that happens. But this time, it happened FOR the Jaguars as the Ravens look like a team that hasn’t figured out how to win and the Jaguars took just enough advantage of the breaks that went therir way to win. Myers gets some redemption, the Jaguars get a win and they’re coming home on Thursday night against the Titans.
I wish they’d stop talking about being a game out of first place but it is true. Win a couple of games in a row and we can continue that talk.
No time to gloat. A couple of practices before Tennessee comes to town. And wait till those two uniforms are on the field.