Having been in Shad Khan’s box during a game, I know what a fan he is. When they showed him in the box at Houston during the first half a couple of guys were chatting him up with Mark Lamping’s wife sitting in front of him smiling and watching the game. CBS never did go back to a picture of his box, which isn’t unusual, but it sure would have been interesting. I’m sure he was fuming.
After giving Gus Bradley another year as the Jaguars head coach, Khan was very direct that the expectations were higher next year and he expected the team and the coaching staff to respond “favorably” this week. That didn’t happen.
In the first half the Jaguars did anything but respond in a positive manner. Trying to get a fast start, they took the ball to open the game but couldn’t do anything with it. The Houston defensive line was reading quarterback Blake Bortles, timing his throws and consequently three passes were batted down in the first two series. The Jaguars offense didn’t convert a first down until the second quarter.
Defensively they started a bit better than last week against New Orleans. Good field position put the Texans in the red zone but the Jaguars held them to a field goal and a 3-0 score.
Without any help from the offense, the defense started to have problems on the edge, giving up a TD after a 79-yard drive, 10-0 Texans.
Some movement on offense gave the Jaguars a chance at some points and they got their first points of the game from Jason Myers to trail 10-3.
But turnovers started to change the game. Denard Robinson fumbled on a simple dive play into the line with Houston recovering. They converted that into a TD to take a 17-3 lead. Blake Bortles throw down the sideline to Allen Robinson was thrown too far inside and intercepted. With no timeouts, the Texans moved into position to kick a 51-yard field goal to take a 20-3 lead at halftime.
On 3rd down in the final drive of the half, the Texans had no timeouts and the only place they could stop the clock and move into field goal range was to throw it downfield to the sideline. And that’s exactly what they did. Sometimes you have to play smart, and that’s one of those situations you have to know what NOT to give up. Instead, Houston converted it into three points.
Shad’s box was probably not the place you wanted to be at halftime.
Watching the second half reminded me of the big guy putting his hand on the little guy’s forehead at arms length and letting him swing away. It wasn’t for lack of effort the Jaguars didn’t get anything done; they just didn’t have the horsepower to make anything happen. The defense was soft on the edge and didn’t get much pressure on the quarterback. The offense was at the mercy of JJ Watt and Whitney Merciless and when they weren’t in the backfield, Blake Bortles was holding on too long giving up the ball.
An interception for a TD on a pass Bortles stared down from the start make it 30-6 Houston in the 4th quarter. Fittingly the game ended with the Jaguars driving but Bortles was sacked for the 8th time as time expired.
Three losses to end the season isn’t what the Jaguars envisioned when they won a blowout against the Colts at home to go to 5-8. Their losses to New Orleans and Houston weren’t close and they’ll have a bad feeling going into the offseason.
Plenty of changes are in the offing for the Jaguars in 2016 and with $40 million in cap space to spend, they’ll be players for all of the big free-agents this year. No longer can they wait around for players to develop. They’ll need some players who can help NOW if they hope to compete in the division.
Lots of work to do.